Wherever there is one great product, a better one isn’t far behind. You just bought the iPhone 4s? Oh, the iPhone 5 is coming out in a few months. Did you just buy the Cannon Rebel T3i? The Cannon Rebel T4i just came out and is even better than the T3i. Why should this change when it comes to Audio formats?
We all know of the MP3 file, WMA, or even WAV files; but which one is the best?
Solely, it depends on the use of the audio file. If you are using it for music on your iPod or are looking for a quick download, go with MP3. If you are using the file for broadcasting, creating a CD or DVD, WAV is the way to go.
According to an online source:
- “MIDI: Short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, MIDI files are extremely small and are supported by many different softwares and Internet browsers. This flexibility of access allows it to be used in amateur as well as professional music making. File extension .midiHowever many people do not enjoy listening to the limited amplitude of midi music files.
- RealAudio: This file format was developed to play streaming audio with low bandwidth Internet. Common application includes Internet radio. It is also popular with websites that allow users to listen to on-line music. However, because of low bandwidth, you might experience reduction in audio quality. File extension .rm or .ram
- AIFF: Developed by Apple, AIFF is short for Audio Interchange File Format. These files are not supported by all web browsers or all platforms. File extension .aif or .aiff
- WAV: Developed by IBM and Microsoft, WAV stands for ‘waveform’. This file format does not compress audio. Understandably, WAV files take up a sizeable chunk of the storage space on your disk! However, this lossless format assures you of CD quality audio that can be used for broadcasting, or distributed through DVDs and CDs. An added advantage is that the WAV format is easy to transform and compress into MP3 or other formats if the need arises. And importantly, it runs on any Windows or Mac systems as well as most web browsers. So, if space crunch is not a problem, consider the WAV format to store and distribute music. File extension .wav.
- MP3: Perhaps the most popular sound format for music recording, MP3 files are the sound part of MPEG files. They can compress audio files to about one tenth of their original size while delivering close to CD quality audio. Because of their small file size, MP3 files are quick to download. In fact, they have become the standard when people want music for their multimedia presentations, or are looking for background music in their web pages. However, a major drawback of the MP3 format is that it is not a good format to use for looping. This is because MP3 files contain an unspecified amount of silence at the start and end of the file. To avoid the burp or hiccup this causes, and achieve a usable loop, opt for WAV format. MP3 files are supported by most software systems, and come with the file extension .mp3
- WMA: Short for Windows Media Audio, this format compares in quality to MP3, and is compatible with most players, except the iPod. Another plus is that it can be delivered as a continuous flow of data, which makes it practical for use in Internet radio or on-line music. File extension .wma “ (Arbour , 2010)
Simply deciding what the use for the files are, can determine which type of audio format you use. Most of them are simple to use and simple to convert from one to the other; so the only difficult part would be choosing the format you find best suits your situation.
Arbour , G. (2010, May 20). Which audio format is best?. Retrieved from http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/which-audio-format-is-best/