What is the Difference Between MP3 vs WAV?

Waveform Audio File FormatWaveform Audio File FormatMP3 and WAV are two sound file formats you often see on your PC, laptops, and even smartphones for storing digital audio. You may be familiar with the MP3 sound file format, but WAV can be unheard of for you or most people. Both are digital audio formats but have differences which we will discuss in this article. If you want to know what WAV and the difference between MP3 vs WAV formats is, then you are at the right place. But first, let’s know about WAV.

What is the Difference Between MP3 vs WAV?

What is the Difference Between MP3 vs WAV?

You will get to know what is the difference between MP3 vs WAV and their file size further in this article. It will come down to you if you must choose one, depending upon what purpose you need them for. After going through this article, you will know which format will be best for you. Keep reading to learn more about it in detail.

What is WAV?

WAV or Waveform Audio File Format is a sound file format.

  • It is also one of the oldest audio formats developed by IBM and Microsoft.
  • Waveform Audio File Format is more easily compatible with Microsoft Windows systems than other operating systems.
  • The WAV file format is used to store digital audio in an uncompressed and raw form, making this format flexible in editing.
  • It supports and runs on Windows operating systems fluidly, and popular media players like VLC, KMPlayer, GOM Player, and more can also run WAV audio files without difficulties.
  • Waveform Audio File Format can be huge in size compared to other audio formats as it stores the audio file in uncompressed form.

While MP3 is another audio file format that is compressed, in the next section, let’s know the difference between MP3 and WAV.

VLC website

Also Read: What is the Difference Between Data and Information Examples?

What is the Difference Between MP3 vs WAV?

Both MP3 and WAV are audio file formats, and they are formats used to store digital audio files. You already learned about Waveform Audio File Format in the previous section. Another audio format is MP3, and MP3 stands for MPEG Audio Layer-3, a compressed audio file format. When you download a song from any website or application, it usually gets downloaded in an MP3 format as it is compressed and is one of the most common audio formats. Downloading an MP3 audio format song will take much less time than downloading a song in Waveform Audio File Format. Let’s look at the main differences between MP3 vs WAV.

MP3 (MPEG Audio Layer-3) WAV (Waveform Audio File Format)
Compressed audio file format Uncompressed and raw audio file
Low bitrate (ranges from 90kbps to 320 kbps) High bitrate (1,141kbps at 16-bit)
Low-quality audio or compromised quality of the audio Uncompromised and has no loss in quality of audio
Smaller file size File size is large

What is the Difference Between MP3 vs WAV File Size?

MP3 audio files are compressed formats, therefore, are smaller in size. You can store millions of MP3 audio files in a single storage drive. An MP3 file is 10 times smaller than a Waveform Audio File Format. A 5 min song can be of size 5 MB in MP3 format, which can be easily downloaded and transferred in no time and also takes up less storage space. But the major disadvantage is the loss of quality, as the MP3 format is a lossy digital audio format, and the original quality of the audio gets compromised when the file is compressed.

However, WAV or waveform audio file format is uncompressed and raw. But, as there is no audio file compression, the file size is large. The high quality of Waveform Audio File Format files can be a disadvantage, as WAV audio files are larger in size. Downloading and storing WAV files can be troublesome. Only a few WAV audio format files can occupy huge storage space compared to MP3 audio file format, as WAV files are 10 times larger in size.

Also Read: How to Convert WAV to MP3

Is WAV Better Than MP3?

It depends. Both audio file formats MP3 and WAV have their pros and cons like an MP3 file is smaller in size and takes less storage space, whereas Waveform Audio File Format is bigger in file size and takes up a lot of storage space, But when it comes to a better quality of an audio file, then WAV audio file format is of the highest quality, an uncompressed and raw audio file format that makes it an ideal format for editors as the audio quality is uncompromised in this format.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What sounds better MP3 vs WAV?

Ans. MP3 audio format is a compressed audio format. Therefore, there is a degradation in the quality of the original audio. On the other hand, Waveform Audio File Format audio file formats are uncompressed and raw audio files, so the audio quality is not compromised. Therefore, WAV sounds better than MP3.

Q2. When should I use WAV?

Ans. Waveform Audio File Format audio files are uncompressed and more prominent in size, therefore taking up a lot of storage space. So, you should use WAV audio file formats only when you need the highest quality audio, whether for editing, listening, or other tasks.

Q3. Can iPhone play WAV files?

Ans. Yes, iPhone supports and can run Waveform Audio File Format.


When it comes to the comparison between MP3 vs WAV and their file size, both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, you have learned about what Waveform Audio File Format is and the differences between MP3 vs WAV. We also discussed their file sizes, audio quality, and more differences. Feel free to reach out to us with your queries and suggestions via the comments section below. Also, let us know what you want to learn about next.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *