WAV vs MP3: Which File Format is Better?

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WAV vs MP3: Which File Format is Better?

Both MP3 and WAV files are used in all areas of audio, but you might be asking yourself which one is better?

The WAV file

The WAV file one of the simplest digital audio file formats. Microsoft and IBM originally developed WAV in 1991 for the use within Windows 3.1. Remember the first time you heard your PC making ‘chime’ noises, and not just beeps? Well, that’s courtesy of the WAV file.

MP3 Files

It is fair to say that the MP3 has revolutionised (and some may say terrorised) the music world. MP3 is a shortened name for MPEG-2 audio layer III. The format was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group, hence the (slightly conceited-sounding…!) name.

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Why is Wav Better?
Fact 1. A 44,100 KHz 16 bit WAV has a full frequency response up to 22KHz where as a MP3 cuts off around the 18KHz mark. Some humans can hear up to 22Khz.

Fact 2. Storage is so affordable these days, there is no longer an argument for saving a lower quality file.

Fact 3. An MP3 320 is lossy and compressed. A WAV is lossless and uncompressed.

Fact 4. MP3 and other lossy formats exploit general human hearing to reduce file size. That was the only reason for it to be used, thus causing quality loss. Perceptable hearing depends on the user and the amount of compression used.

Fact 5. A WAV file can contain LPCM encoded data, ADPCM encoded data and even MP3 encoded data.

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