Difference Between MP3 and WMA (With Table)

MP3 vs WMA

After the development of the MP3 format CD players became quite less popular. MP3 format compressed the data to less than 10% of the actual CD file without any loss of quality.

Now, there are numerous encoding algorithms for digital audio files. The two most popular ones are MP3 formats and WMA formats. Both mp3 and WMA are well suited with many devices and they help in the compression of audio files.

The difference between MP3 and WMA lies in the type of encoder they use for data compression. MP3 uses the Lame encoder for compressing the data and producing better sound quality, whereas WMA uses its own Microsoft encoder.


 

Comparison Table Between MP3 and WMA

Parameters of ComparisonMP3WMA
EncoderMP3 uses the Lame encoder for compressing the data and producing better quality sound.WMA uses its encoder developed by Microsoft for compressing the data and producing better sound.
SupportMost of the multimedia support MP3 format.Not many multimedia support WMA format.
SoundMP3 does not produce good sound as compared to WMA.WMA produces better sound as compared to MP3.
ProprietaryMP3 is not a proprietary format.WMA is a proprietary format.
Storage spaceMP3 uses more storage space as compared to WMA.WMA uses less storage space as compared to MP3.

 

What is MP3?

MP3 is a digital file format that is used for creating premium-quality sound files. It has modified the manner in which people buy and listen to music.

It is a digital music file that uses a lossy compression mechanism where the data that is considered not to be very useful is gotten rid of.

MP3 is considered as the most famous audio format in the world. It is considered so because of many reasons. The main advantage of the MP3 format is that it can compress files, making it an appropriate, flexible, and favorable method of storing music.

In order to get the best sound quality, one must convert the mp3 files with an encoder. The encoder helps to compress the data and get good quality sound. MP3 uses the Lame encoder to perform the task.

Advantages of MP3:

  1. MP3s are well supported by almost every type of music device.
  2. The sound standard of MP3 varies from 32 kbps to 320 kbps and it is linear to the bitrate.
  3. Mp3s roughly use 1/10 the space of a lossless music CD and still provide a good quality sound system.
  4. The file sizes are small and so you can easily email or download mp3s.
  5. There are many programs that support mp3s such as iTunes, Real Player, Windows media player.

Disadvantages of MP3:

  1. MP3 uses more storage space than WMA format.
  2. It has poor sound quality as compared to Wma format.
  3. There is a loss of sonic details with higher frequencies and low bitrates.
MP3
 

What is WMA?

WMA stands for Windows Media Audio. It is a digital file format developed by Microsoft in 1999 and it uses almost the same principle as MP3 in order to decrease the size of the file. It is in both audio file format and audio codec.

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It has 4 codecs:

  1. WMA- This was the original codec developed in 1999.
  2. WMA Pro- This was developed in the year 2003 and has better sound quality than WMA. It is an improved lossy codec.
  3. WMA Lossless- This is a lossless codec used to compress a file without loss of quality.
  4. WMA Voice- This is a lossy codec developed for voice playback applications.

As compared to MP3 very less programs support WMA as it is a proprietary format. If one wants to open WMA on Windows, he will either have to install a new application or convert the file into a different format. Windows has developed its own encoder.

Advantages:

  1. It has better sound quality than MP3 even in low bitrates like 64 KBS.
  2. It is better than non-lame mp3 and has high-frequency details.
  3. WMA is appropriate for Windows users.

Disadvantages:

  1. WMA has less support from other platforms as compared to MP3.
  2. It has compatibility issues as it is a proprietary format.
  3. When compressing audio, WMA loses some quality.
  4. It is not better than the Lame MP3.
WMA

Main Differences Between MP3 and WMA

  • MP3 was originally developed in 1993 by the Fraunhofer Institute in order to create an audio file that could compress data and not use up much space. WMA was developed in 1999 by Microsoft. It used the same principle to reduce the original size of the file.
  • The software which is responsible for compressing the data and producing high-quality sound is the Encoder. MP3 uses the Lame encoder for compressing the data and producing good quality sound whereas Microsoft uses its own developed encoder for the same purpose.
  • There are many programs that support mp3s such as iTunes, Real Player, Windows media player. Not many programs support WMA because it is a proprietary format.
  • As compared to WMA, MP3 does not produce much good sound. WMA produces better sound as compared to MP3.
  • MP3 uses more storage space as compared to WMA.
  • WMA is not as popular as MP3 as MP3 is supported by many multimedia programs.
  • MP3 is not a proprietary format whereas WMA is a proprietary format.

 

Conclusion

If you like sounds in the best quality you might prefer a lossless audio format that has the same sound quality as a CD. The problem with such formats is that they use up a lot of storage space.

For such reasons, there are numerous encoding algorithms for digital audio files. Popular examples include MP3 and WMA.

Both MP3 and WMA are digital file formats that remove a portion of data in order to decrease the original file size. MP3 is an industry-standard. On the other hand, WMA is developed by Microsoft for their products.