Short Of Space: Which Lossy Format Is Best For Digital Music Conversion?

If you are interested in converting your CD collection into a digital library, you will be spoilt for choices when it comes to the different audio file formats.

The best ones used by dedicated audiophiles are lossless compression formats. That is, the conversion process does not sacrifice the quality of the music as an aid to compression. For example, the FLAC file format is most commonly used by top professional CD ripping outfits as the ideal format for converting music CDs to a digital library.

It can shrink a CD WAV file to half its size while retaining the original quality of the music.  However, if you have a particularly large collection, even this might be too large to convert to a simple memory stick or card. Yes, you can always opt for a portable hard drive to carry your music around with you, but it is not a very convenient option.  

This is the part where lossy formats come into the picture. There will be a drop in quality, but it will be possible to stuff a very large number of files on even a memory card. One that you can insert in your smartphone for listening to music on the go. Let us check out a few of the more popular lossy formats in use today.

1.    MP3
MP3 or MPEG Audio Layer III is hands down, the single most popular lossy music format around. It is not very efficient and CD WAV files converted to MP 3 won’t sound as nice to the discerning ear. This holds particularly true if you are used to only listening to CD-quality music. However, this format’s lack of efficiency is made up by its massive compression ability and its very high level of support.  

2.    AAC

Advanced Audio Coding(ACC) lossy file format is also a popular option amongst users of Apple devices. iTunes from Apple has been very effective in boosting the popularity of the ACC format and now it is almost as popular as MP3.
AAC actually offers even greater compression than its MP3 counterpart. The sound quality is the same as MP3, but there is plenty of room for more files. Even though it is primarily an Apple format, most audio music devices can play it easily enough.

3.    WMA

Windows Media Audio file format is Microsoft’s contribution to the lossy file genre. In terms of sound quality and compression, it is at par with both MP3 and AAC. However, it falls behind in terms of support because very few audio media players can run it.
If you are looking for convenience only, it would be a good idea to stick to AAC and MP 3. This is because there are hardly any audio players that don’t support either one or both of these formats. With WMA, you might have to switch to MP 3 later on in the future if you purchase a player that does not support this format.

If you want any more information on lossy and lossless files and the CD ripping process,  you can get in touch with us here.