Wav Vs Mp3: Choosing The Right Audio Formats For Podcasts: Which Is Better For Podcasters

If you want to have a successful podcast, ensure your listeners can find it. Whether your listeners download episodes or listen to your podcast online, you'll need to generate high-quality audio that they can easily access. That's when the difference between WAV and MPS audio files comes into play.
The way you distribute your podcast and the sort of content you produce will have a significant impact on whether WAV or MP3 files are appropriate for your podcast. We'll break down the differences between the two audio formats and guide you on which one is the best for your specific needs.

Let’s jump right into it!

Defining MP3 Files

Consider it the gold standard for audio file recordings.
Because of their reduced size, MP3 files are commonly employed in the podcasting field. In addition, several podcast hosting providers and applications support MP3 audio files. Their technology allows podcasters to record and share broadcasts with minimal storage space while maintaining high sound quality.

Encoding MP3 Files

The way WAV and MP3 files are encoded is one of the most significant differences. MP3 files are compressed to make them smaller and easier to manage. Consequently, they have a lower audio quality and are referred to as "lossy" audio files. To reduce the file, some sections of the MP3 audio are removed during the encoding process (to make it smaller). Perceptual coding, also known as psychoacoustic modeling, is a method of changing audio signals that results in the loss of some sound that is deemed beyond the hearing capabilities of most people.

Keep in mind that although the procedure has an impact on audio quality, you're unlikely to notice a difference between MP3 and WAV quality. If you utilize MP3 or WAV files, your listeners are unlikely to notice, especially if your podcast includes speech (and less music).

MP3's Advantages

So what audio format for podcasts is better, WAV or MP3? Let's take a closer look…

File Size of MP3s

When comparing the benefits and drawbacks of WAV vs MP3, keep in mind that some podcast hosting services have file size limitations for uploads and downloads. When it comes to MP3 files, you can cram a lot of information into a little, compressed format. Once it comes to hosting and distributing your program, this has major repercussions. (An MP3 file is around ten times the size of a waveform audio file!)
You can share your podcast on the internet without breaking these limits if you use MP3 files. You won't have to spend more money with your hosting provider for more storage, which means you'll be able to put more money into your show in other ways. Your listeners will be able to download your program fast without taking up too much of their system's memory if the file sizes are less.

Compatibility of Devices

MP3 files can be played on a variety of platforms, including Mac, iOS, iPad, Linux, and Windows. Without bothering to convert the file type, you may easily distribute your show on those devices. As a result, you'll spend less time working on post-production.  It also means that new and returning listeners will have no trouble finding your show and listening to it using their preferred interface, whether it's a PC or a smartphone. However, you should also consider the following disadvantages of MP3 format before you begin recording your podcast episode. Let’s have a look.

Loss of Sound Quality

It comes for a reason that MP3 files are classified as "lossy" digital audio formats. When MP3 files are reduced during encoding, some of the quality of the recorded version is compromised in order to reduce file size. This results in a quality disparity between MP3 and WAV. MP3 files can have bitrates ranging from 90 to 320 kbps, which is a significant difference from WAV files, which have a bitrate of 1,411 kbps at 16 bit. This variation in bitrate alone demonstrates how MP3s lose quality when compressed. Most people believe that the quality loss and the difference between WAV and MP3 files does not compensate for much of the difference. Podcasts that require extensive of music production, on the other hand, may wish to stay away from MP3 files.

Audio Distortion

When you use MP3 files, you run the danger of "compression artifacts," which can appear in your audio recording. When audio files are compressed, undesirable sounds can be picked up. In audio file formats, these sound effects include hissing, ringing, rattling, and warbling.

What Is a WAV File

To eliminate the beeping noises commonly associated with computers, Microsoft and IBM introduced WAV files with their computer software. Those obnoxious sounds could be replaced with WAV files. WAV files are high-quality audio files that are simple to alter. That's why professional music producers nowadays use WAV files with their audio editing software. .
Keep in mind how WAV files are encoded when comparing the advantages and disadvantages of WAV vs MP3 files. This has an impact on their size and quality, which has an effect on how your program sounds and is distributed during playback.

The Way WAV files Are Encoded

WAV files are referred to as "lossless" by audio editors since no part of the audio is lost. As a result, WAV files have a higher objective quality and give more accurate and authentic audio snippets. The higher WAV vs MP3 quality comes at a cost. Although you can achieve fantastic sound effects with uncompressed WAV files, they are much larger than MP3 ones.
Hence to make your final choice it’s time to have a closer look to the pros and cons of this format.

WAV's Advantages

Editing is simple

WAV is usually best for you if you conduct a lot of post-recording processing on your digital audio workstation. Because of its simplified format, WAV files can be simply edited with any podcast editing software. WAV files are supported by most podcast recording software, which also includes options for adjusting parts of the raw audio data in your DAW.

High Quality of Sound

WAV is the clear winner when it comes to high-quality audio. WAV files aren't compressed, so every intro and sound effect from your podcast episode will be preserved. Listeners will hear layers and outro differences in multitrack recording if you utilize WAV files for your podcast, something you won't receive with reduced MP3 files. Unlike MP3s, which suffer from lossy compression, WAV files do not lose any frequency on the sound spectrum. This is due to the fact that the audio signal is not tampered with in any manner.

Note from Podcastle: The human ear can perceive frequencies in the range of 20Hz to 20kHz. This entire spectrum will be captured if you record your podcast with WAV files. Because MP3 files cut off around 18KHz, you may miss some sound on the lower or upper ends of the frequency spectrum when compressed.

Recordings of High Quality Can Be Made At Home

Because of developments in recording technology, you may easily generate high-quality recordings with a home studio interface and WAV audio. Many popular home studio audio interfaces, in fact, support recording rates of up to 192 kHz! This is something to think about if you're recording your podcast at home.

WAV's disadvantages

Large File Sizes

WAV files' great quality comes at a cost: bigger file sizes. These huge files can cut into your podcast budget and limit how your audience can listen to your program. The size of a WAV file can be 10 to eleven times that of an MP3 file. To host and store larger WAV files, you may need to spend a lot more money on your show. That implies you'll have to set aside extra money for your podcast hosting software. The free version will have to be skipped. You'll also have to pay greater attention to the file upload and download size constraints your hosting business imposes.

Some Services and Devices Are Incompatible

Because WAV files are larger, they are incompatible with several streaming services and devices. This may restrict your audience's ability to listen to and download your program through iTunes, social media, and other subscription services.

WAV vs. MP3: Choosing the Right Format for Your Project Final Considerations

While there is no clear winner when it comes to WAV vs MP3, you may make an educated choice if you understand your show's specific requirements.

  • What type of content do you create? If your content primarily consists of individuals conversing with sound effects, MP3 will suffice. For music production, WAV formats make a lot more sense.
  • What is the maximum amount you are willing to spend for file hosting? If audio quality is a major priority for you and you have the funds, WAV may be the way to go. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on hosting, use MP3 files instead.
  • What are the objectives of your target audience? The size of WAV files can limit how your program is delivered, limiting the number of people who can hear it. So take it into consideration wisely.

Final Thoughts

Before determining whether MP3 or WAV is better for your podcast, think about the layout and audience. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether you're willing to compromise sound quality in exchange for smaller files.

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