It’s important to know various audio formats and their basic characteristics especially if you a music producer or sound engineer.
Some of the two most common audio formats today are the MP3 and Wav formats. Both formats have their own unique characteristics and in this post I’m going to discuss which of the formats is loud.
It’s a question that most of clients ask me and I thought I should turn it into a full article so I could share insight not only with my clients but with anybody in the world.
With that said, let’s get into it.
Which is louder MP3 or WAV?
Mp3 is not louder than WAV. If anything, WAV is simply a better audio format than MP3 because it is a lossless format. Granted, you won’t hear the differences in loudness among the two but when you assess waveforms of an MP3 and a WAV file you can tell that WAV format audio is cleaner compare to MP3.
MP3s have a higher distortion, with a flat 2 dimensional sound because it is a compressed format, WAVs on the other hand have a higher quality coding.
This is the reason why wave files are the format choice for audio engineers because it doesn’t restrict them.
An MP3 is digitally compressed to make the file size much smaller than a WAV file. But the overall intent is to sound the same as the original uncompressed file, which may have been in WAV or any other format.
Great formats for audio quality
A lossless audio file format is the best format for sound quality. Some good formats include FLAC, WAV, or AIFF. These types of files are considered “hi-res” because they are better or equal to CD-quality.
CD quality has always been superior when it comes to audio quality. In as much as CDs are not as popular as they once were, there’s no denying that quality on CD is pretty damn good.
Difference in 320 Mp3 and WAV?
Many people usually come up with this question because 320 MP3 is perceived as the best audio quality that an Mp3 can be exported as.
so let’s get into this.
MP3 highest quality is 320kbps which is a constant bit rate, whereas lossless AIFF or WAV is minimum 1411kbps.
The numbers in this case easily tell you that there’s a substantial amount of information that is removed with MP3.
However, its worth mentioning that MP3 is a great compression algorithm and the information removed generally isn’t anything you’d be able to easily identify with your ears.
But in terms of audio processing processes like those involved in music production, that loss in information in MP3 is a big deal, that’s the reason why WAV format is the standard when it comes to complex audio production work.
When should I use WAV and Mp3 ?
So exactly when would you use WAV or Mp3?
Like I’ve already pointed out, WAV files are lossless, uncompressed, broadcast CD quality music files.
WAV files are also the right choice for loops to be processed with Flash for web animations. They are also the best files for any audio production work like music production for instance. Mix and master engineers all work with wave files because of their quality.
You can use mp3 files for web pages, web videos, in fact for anything on the Internet. An MP3 file is a compressed music file.
What kind of sound does MP3 strip out?
The perceived frequency range that is audible to the human ear is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Anything that is unlikely to be detected is filtered out or converted to mono signals to take up less space. While the WAV format represents the full frequency spectrum, MP3 cuts off at around 18KHz, which gets rid of anything above that.
Of course this can not easily be heard because 18KHz is close to the human hearing ceiling which is 20Khz.
Should I upload MP3 or WAV to YouTube?
For those of you looking to upload your content to YouTube, It’s better to use WAV… YouTube will compress the video after you upload, so it’s best to use the highest quality possible going in.
MP3 is compressed, that entails that after Youtube, there will be a second compression which lead to a loss in quality. This makes Wav the way to go.
Which audio format is better M4A or MP3?
MP3 and M4A are two audio file formats that both can offer exceptional sound quality.
M4A offers better compression and sound quality, MP3 however, has the advantage of being the most compatible format with a wide range of devices out there.