View Full Version : Mp3 or WMA

15-04-2004, 11:39 PM
I have noticed on kazza that wma files are becoming very common and are smaller.
My question is which is better?
Can you burn to a disk and play, or do you than need to convert to Mp3?
Why is WMA becoming popular?

16-04-2004, 12:09 AM
> My question is which is better?

MP3, by far and away. More players support them, they tend to be better in quality, they aren't slathered with DRM junk.

> Can you burn to a disk and play, or do you than need
> to convert to Mp3?

Depends on the burning program, some can convert them to CD-DA, some can't, more players support MP3 CD's than WMA.

> Why is WMA becoming popular?

Because more n00bs have good computers and Windows Media Player and they can 'rip' CD's with Windows Media Player to their hard drive. Most of them probably don't have the necessary know how to rip to MP3 which can be a little more complicated.

16-04-2004, 09:54 AM

In my humble opinion, there is very little difference in quality between
wma and mp3, especially around 128kps.

There is no need to convert wma to mp3 to burn a cd, most burning software will reconise both formats, although mp3 is more accepted
than wma, which is generally more accepted, by microsoft burning software.



Greg S
16-04-2004, 10:01 AM
Generally wma is slightly better than mp3 given the same bitrate. The exception is if you really know what you're doing when ripping to mp3, using variable bitrate recording etc. Most mp3 players now also support wma, so it's probably a better format for most use.

18-04-2004, 02:08 AM
WMA is by far a better format for lower bitrates. You can get quite good sound quality at only 48KBits using WMA, but if you try this with MP3 the quality is shocking. However, there isn't that much difference at higher bitrates, and MP3 is more widely supported by playes. NOTE!!! Linux support for WMA is useless - I have yet to find a good player for linux (although I have found two I hate).

18-04-2004, 02:21 AM
Yeah by all means use wma, you'll only be able to play it on one computer (the one you created the wma file on).

The advantages of that are astounding.

18-04-2004, 02:33 AM
You can play WMA on any computer you like, unless you stuffed up and used "packaged" wma. These can only be played back on the PC that created them, but as long as you leave this option well alone you should be fine. Normal WMA can be played back on any pc.


18-04-2004, 10:58 AM
it depends.. do you want to use a format that guarantees microsoft will hold you firmly at the crotch level?

There are a few things that need to be taken into account:
3)placebo effect

1) If you have a crappy DSP/APU (sound processing chip) then relevant comparisons wont be possible
2) If you have crappy DACs, then relevant comparisons wont be possible
3) The placebo effect runs rampant through audiophile circles. What it basically is is when someone believes that a subtle change is greater than it really is (or long story short "it's all in your mind") I remember reading in what-hifi! about some guy in the UK who was convinced that polishing his sony speakers with a particular brand of woodpolish made them sound identical to some tannoy's worth 3x more. That's one extreme of the placebo effect, and I find a lot of computer users suffer it too when it comes to audio, so just be aware of that.

(nb. The placebo effect is not necessarily a bad thing, it has what some would refer to as "spiritual" advantages as far as medicine goes. Doctors will adminster a placebo which is usually just an injection of nothing harmful or important (maybe some plasma, eg it wont technically do anything) and that'll convince the patient that they're on the road to recovery. The success rate of placebo receivers vs non placebo receivers is something to the tune of 30% higher IIRC. Spiritualists and the like will point at this as an example of the power of mind over body.)

Anyway, what I'm really saying is, if you are using onboard sound or an old soundblaster then chances are that any "differences" you perceive will be in your head.

If however you are using a decent soundplatform such as an m-audio revolution or audiophile, or something with at the least sigmatel DAC's, such as a Philips Acoustic Edge, then chances are any perceived "differences" are partially actual and partially in your head.

There are superior formats to these two however.. I'd like to point out that fraunhoffer and co have recently added DRM to the MP3 specification, so there should possibly be a trend towards the OGG/vorbis codec, which is generally considered as the next step, and at present the consensus is that ogg/vorbis does indeed mop the floor with mp3 and wma. I personally dont have an opinion on it.

No matter which you pick the same rules apply to all codecs: higher bitrates and/or variable bitrates improve quality.

I guess it all comes down to what hardware you've got and how anal retentive about it you want to be? As far as I'm concerned I dont really care.. so long as music comes out of my speakers loud and clear then I'm happy.

18-04-2004, 02:30 PM
I haven't bothered ever comparing MP3, WMA, and OGG Vorbis, but after some experimenting, I would say that OGG Vorbis is leading the way.

Of course, I am susceptible to the placebo effect, but if OGG Vorbis at quality 6 (of 10) gives roughly the same quality (perhaps better) and file size as an MP3 encoded at average bitrate 192KBps (minimum of 64, peak of 256), it suits me to encode using OGG Vorbis, even if it isn't remotely supported by hardware players (I'll be happy the day you can burn OGG Vorbis CDs and play them in stereos like you can do so now with MP3 CDs).

The underlying fact is that Microsoft's WMA is another step torwads locking you into everything Microsoft (especially with DRM). Microsoft does not give a toss about providing a better audio codec, so long as they get as many people as possibly to use their codec.

In the mean time, if you're not going to try OGG Vorbis, stick with MP3.

18-04-2004, 03:19 PM
Can't go wrong with the LAME MP3 encoder.

I don't bother with any lossy codecs, I keep them in wav format until I burn a compilation to cd.

Only time I do use lossy codecs is when I'm making a playlist for a game (BF-Vietnam which lets you play your tunes while flying a chopper) and that requires you to put all the music files into a special folder, so I rip the music and put it in the folder. Keeps the hdd space for later use.