Written by : Satyam Maitrai

May 25, 2020

Different Types of Audio Formats in Details

Do you feel the difference in the audio that you enjoyed in the 90s and what you enjoy today? Of course, you do! Audio has walked a long way in the rapid growth of technologies that have embarked on a new era, called the ‘Digital Era’. With an increase in the portability of audio files and its compatibility with different devices, a range of audio formats has evolved.


You must have heard people saying how they love MP3 audio or how helpless they feel without the FLAC format. If you feel lost in these terms, it’s time for you to get in a short tour through the different file formats you can come across.


Let us start taking you down the lanes of the amazing formats of the audio formats.


M4A audio file format:

If you are expecting the audio files to be very precise, M4A if the format you would set your hand on. M4A stands for MPEG-4 and gives you extremely high-quality audio. If you are not ready to miss out on anything in the audio- M4A is your choice.


But you cannot call this format to be memory-friendly at all. This high-quality format stores every bit of sound and hence have a higher file size. But memory constrain is not a problem nowadays if you can have a high cloud storage facility? So, give this a thought before you compromise with audio quality

FLAC audio format:

You may not have seen much of these format audios round it, but this format can come very handy to you when it comes to memory efficiency. FLAC stands for ‘Free Lossless Audio Codec’ which compresses audio files to shorter file size without noticeably hampering the quality of audio.


Though FLAC is a sophisticated file format, you may encounter compatibility issues. Very few devices can play FLAC audio. So if you are thinking of sharing audio in FLAC format, you need to rethink your decision.

MP3 audio format:

MP3 is the format you have surely heard a hundred times. MP3 stands for ‘MPEG audio layer 3’ and has emerged as the most popular audio file format across the globe. One of the reasons can be the widespread compatibility of MP3 files. You can hardly find an audio device that does not support MP3 audio files. Other features that appeal to the user is the ‘memory- friendly’ file size.

You may not think of storing audios in clouds when you are using MP3 audio, and once you are thinking of compressing an MP3 audio file, you may take a few steps back. Compressing MP3 audio files does not always go well. If you are not into the technicalities of MP3 compression you may end up losing the audio file quality permanently.

MP4 file format:

MP4 file format, though the name suggests, is no way the improved version of MP3. The MP4 format can not only hold audio but can also store video or any other media. Unlike MP3, MP4 stores data instead of codes. This digital multimedia container finds most use in storing videos, and there is no reason why you should not think of using the impressive MP4 format for all your videos.

WAV file format:

WAV file format stores more of raw data. It does not compress any of the audio it has and hence you can easily call it uncompressed lossless audio. The format stores the audio neither as code nor as data- it stores the audio data in the form of waveform data. This can be an impressive format to go for only if you are using a Windows system, as it is only the Windows that support the WAV file format.

So, if you are sharing audio in WAV format or expecting to run the audio file in multiple devices, make sure that the devices run on Windows operating system too.

WMA file format:

If you are a Windows operating system user, an alternative for WAV file format can be WMA. ‘Windows Media Audio’ can get amazing when you go for reconstructing. WMA is also an alternative to one of the most popular audio formats, MP3.


As you know that MP3 undergoes lossy compression. So, when you are thinking of reconstructing an audio file, the WMA format can be one of your best choices. WMA undergoes lossless compression and can hold on to the quality of your audio, whatever restructure you perform on it. However, in case your system does not run on Windows, you can always go for file format conversions.

AAC file format:

You may not have heard of AAC audio file format at all. Though AAC file format has not gained much popularity for music files, it does give quite impressible audio quality. If you are an iTunes user, then you may be quite familiar with AAC. iTunes does use AAC file format for almost every type of audio file.


Understanding the pros and cons along with the functionality of file formats for audio helps you to boost the efficiency of the formats. You can utilize this to get the best out of every format and enjoy nothing but the best. Though handling compatibility issues are not a major problem nowadays with hundreds of online and offline audio file converters, but getting the best quality is still an issue.


Not every file format is good for every type of audio file. For example - you can go for AAC file format when your audio file contains a plain speech, but if you are going for AAC format for storing music files, you may not have the best experience. Instead, you can go for the flawless as well as affordable memory MP3 format.


So, we hope that with the knowledge of all the audio file formats, you will now be able to sort out which one is best for you. Therefore, go delve into the best parts of every format and get the best user experience with it!

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