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Difference between WMA and WAV | WMA vs. WAV

Difference between WMA and WAV | WMA vs. WAV


Difference between WMA and WAV: – WMA and WAV are two types of formats used to store audio information in a digital format and although they have the same purpose, they are very different from each other, the main difference being the way in which the data is encoded. WAV is a lossless codec, while in WMA some information data is lost that humans can barely even perceive in order to save storage space. For this same reason of the degradation of the sound, the WMA format is not usually used for audio editions.

Difference between WMA and WAV


Along with the lossy decoding technique, WMA also compresses the final file. This technique that uses WMA in its decoding process allows you to create files that are approximately 10% of the size of the files created by WAV. This creates two effects on the performance of the device where the audio plays. The first is that storage space is saved and the other is that more processing power is required to be able to decompress and decode the actual data, although it is not very significant for the processing power of most modern devices.


This audio format was one of the most popular a decade ago as the default Microsoft Windows operating system. Nowadays it is no longer widely used, especially for the size of its files, since the storage space is always limited. For this reason most people prefer formats that are balanced between losses of sound and file size, such as FLAC, MP4 and even WMA.

Key differences between WMA and WAV:

  • WMA is a lost codec, while WAV is not.
  • WMA is compressed and WAV is not.
  • WMA needs more processing power and WAV needs more storage space.
  • WMA is widely used, but WAV is rarely used today.

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