Enhance your music experience - Part 1 : Audio Formats

Most of us love to listen to music on our phones. It has become a routine, and a habit for some. Whatever may be your level of love for music, the experience of listening to music on your phone can certainly be enhanced. This series of "Enhance your music experience" aims to do exactly what it says. The first part of this series deals with the different audio formats available, and which one is the best to use.

Lossless and Lossy. What's the difference?

You may or may not have heard of the term Lossless and/or Lossy. We categorize various audio formats into these 2 categories, depending upon the quality of audio they have to offer.
Lossless, as the name suggests, offers lossless quality of music, that is, you hear it the same way the music producer wants you to hear it. It keeps all the music quality of the original source, at the cost of large file size. 

Lossy, is a compressed version of the same audio file into a different format. To squeeze the same thing into a small space, you will have to sacrifice a bit of it. That's why the quality of lossy audio files is less than lossless audio files. This comes with the benefit of a small file size, hence taking only a little space on your drive.

What are you currently using? 

Most of the users reading this would currently be listening to songs on their phones in MP3 formats. MP3, is a lossy format. A 4 minute song would take approximately 4 MB in the highest (320k) bitrate available 

Enhancing your experience

Lossless files provide the best music experience around. The highs, lows, and all the dynamics would be clear and well defined. Distortions won't be heard unless you've got a one-dollar pair of headphones, the bass and treble would be crystal clear. 

Some of the different kinds of lossless audio formats available are : 
  1. WAV
  2. FLAC
  3. AIFF
  4. ALAC
  5. APE
All of these formats provide equivalent audio quality. So which one should you use? 

For most users, FLAC should be the one to go with. The reason is that you get the same audio quality as with other lossless formats, but audio files will be smaller in size than they'd be with WAV or AIFF. FLAC is also highly supported across majority of platforms, and music player apps.

For Apple users, ALAC should be the one to go with. The reason is that ALAC is supported by Apple and you will have no hiccups in using it with iTunes or playing it in your apple device, while the other formats aren't supported that well in the Apple ecosystem.

The Conclusion

If you have the space, go with FLAC. The audio quality would be way better than MP3, and all your favorite songs in FLAC format are easily available on the internet. 
If you're running short of space, then MP3 would be the best Lossy format to go with.
More tips in the series coming up in the next part!

About The Author

Mansehej Singh is a 17 year old from New Delhi, India. He is interested in Technology, Android Development, Aviation and Photography. He is the founder of Techemania and started the site on the 13th of September, 2012.


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