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Thread: MP3 to WAV?

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    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    MP3 to WAV?

    I have been looking over some old posts and am wondering if MP3 is lossy and smaller, why would you want or need to convert to WAV??

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    To burn onto a CD that can be played on a CD player that won't read MP3's, perhaps?

    You may find the answer at the conveniently named convert-mp3-to-wav.com website!

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    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    Hi, Leif ~

    Thanks for the site link. Unfortunately, that site was unable to provide any information as to why one would want or need to convert a file from MP3 to WAV. You cannot recover lost data from the MP3 and the MP3 is compressed. The WAV is significantly bigger. I suppose it makes sense to convert from WAV to MP3, but not the other way around.

    I have burnt hundreds upon hundreds of MP3s and WAVs with various brands of software and they all seem to burn to the actual CD in CDA format and have never required any conversion either way, although WAVs seem to take up more room, and all have played fine in the car, boom box and CD console, some of which are over 12 years old.

    Any audiophiles or ripping/burning enthusiasts in the Lounge hold an understanding of why one would want or need to convert to WAV from a file that is already MP3??

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    I almost always convert MP3s to WAVs out of force of habit when I'm creating a new audio compilation. This stems from experiences with EZCD Creator 4, which used to create empty tracks (slience) and would also abruptly cut off in the middle of a song at times when it encountered an error in the MP3 datastream that might not even have been audible. I continue to employ this method so that I don't have to rely on a CD writing application to convert the file on-the-fly (even though modern machines have more than enough horsepower to do it) and to get consistent results.

    Lastly, there are some other reasons that having the WAV around temporarily is useful - it's an easier format to work with if you intend to edit to audio in any way (such as volume levelization, adding effects et al). I do home recording and can store a lossless MP3 encoded at a high bitrate much more easily than I can a full WAV of the same track. There are superior formats, of course, but MP3 is supremely compatible across a wide range of applications and platforms.
    -Mark

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    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    Hi, Mark ~

    So you personally convert from MP3 to WAV because if there is a possible error in the original MP3 datastream and you convert it to WAV before the burn, any such errors will not be recognized, is this correct?

    I agree with you that MP3 is supremely compatible across a wide range of applications and platforms.

    Lossless compression makes files smaller without losing data. Lossy compression actually loses data as part of the compression process. MP3s lose data that goes into sound that may not make a much of a difference in regard to how the average person would listen or hear it, but even at the highest bitrate, an MP3 still loses data forever, never to be recovered.

    Converting from WAV to MP3 is desirable and makes sense as it greatly reduces file size while maintaining most quality, if noticeably at all to the human ear depending on bitrate.

    Sound editing aside and in the context of burning CDs, I am attempting to determine what is occurring under the hood that can be gained by converting in the other direction from a compressed, lossy MP3 to a WAV since no data is possibly recoverable from the compressed MP3 and no file size reduction or quality is to be realized.

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    Leaving recording scenarios out of the picture, the answer is yes: I convert them to prevent errors in decoding. The WAV file is what you hear when playing back in an audio application, at least in Winamp 2 (my player of choice). MP3 is typically my format for an original that won't need alteration for the reasons you stated - there's always some loss. Encoded at 320KBps, though, it's extremely negligible and the resulting file sizes are rather large. The encoder used to create the MP3 also plays a large role in the resulting quality as well. This is the primary reason that I haven't moved over to the newer WMP 9 audio format - only XP based systems can make use of the lossless encoding that it can produce (and generate).

    The other benefit to converting to WAV is the ability to edit the file using the application of my choice before burning. For instance, older recordings can contain excessive hiss or other anomalies that can be cleaned up more easily in WAV format. Also, some MP3s contain audible artifacts that can be heard - for instance, one that is downloaded might get munged up and produce a strange artifact in listening. Netscape 4 used to be guilty of this and there was a small utility called "uncook" that would fix the broken file. This is a lot rarer these days and my choice to convert them first probably doesn't yield much benefit overall, but old habits die hard. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> I'm too much of a purist to take chances, even though Nero (my burning app of choice) has never caused these problems.
    -Mark

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    Hi, Mark ~

    Thank you very much for elucidating on this topic! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    OK, I was under the impression that regardless of what you start with, once you burn to a CD, that track is a CDA format, but a playable audio track can be a WAV, CDA or MP3, right?

    I have been using Nero exclusively for a while now and very, very happy with the results. I have, overall, been very fortunate in burning in general compared to most people it seems. Although I am an expert coaster maker <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> I have never finished a bad CD or encountered bad MP3 files. With what I was reading in regard to WAV conversions, I thought I was either skipping something or missing out on an opportunity to increase the quality of the recordings.

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    <hr>I was under the impression that regardless of what you start with, once you burn to a CD, that track is a CDA format, but a playable audio track can be a WAV, CDA or MP3, right?<hr>
    Right.
    <hr>I thought I was either skipping something or missing out on an opportunity to increase the quality of the recordings.<hr>
    That would be nice, but you're right on about that too - ideally, the WAV should be a (much larger) version of the same thing, just in a different format. You can increase the quality of a WAV easier than an MP3 using external tools, though - if you have a shoddy recording of something, it might be the answer, but for most things it's not necessary.
    -Mark

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    Right on, Mark...thank you!

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    As this article How To Convert MP3's to Audio CD's points out, if you don't have an MP3-CD Hybrid, it can be a challenge to listen to your MP3's when on the road. MP3 compatible Head Units or the decks that go in the dash are on the increase. Factory speakers in cars until you get up in bucks, don't capture extremes of trebel and base and this is further obscured by noise on the road. Many of the chips now are DSP (Digital Signal Processor) that use complex alogrighms to boost fidelity and add 3D spatial qualities comparable to a concert hall or open-air ampetheater. Be aware that many car units support CD-R but not CD-RW right now. Many PDA's can't play MP3's encoded in VBR so for them use CBR. And some players choke on MP3's with extremely high or low bit rates, so 128kbs is a sweet spot between quality and file size. This is a Handy MP3 Guide.

    Audio CD MP3 Studio To Take MP3 Collection With You.

    MP3 CD players will probably proliferate with the popularity of some of the portable ones, including the storage capacity and user friendly, easily indexed IPOD that can fast transfer from a PC. But cheap ones lack variable bit rate, limit their bit rates, and don't have features like anti-skip and fast forward.


    Editing mp3 files is slower than WAV in terms of opening and saving, because of encoding and decoding when you get to bigger files. Some recording programs will convert mp3 to wav to burn an audio CD on the fly--more soon. If you're going to burn to CD and not archive, except for file size difference on your HD, there isn't a lot of advantage to using mp3. Double blind studies have shown few people can distinguish an original CD from an mp3 at 256 kbs--CD quality--using high end equipment with headphones. At 128 to 160 kbit you can tell the difference. Get toward 190 and you can't. On a CD you can get about 74 minutes of std audio, 65 of Wav, and 10 hours of MP3. Burned CD's will deteriorate over time--probably depends on the quality.

    SMBP

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    The, um, oroginal question was whether there was any benefit to converting from MP3 to WAV prior to creating an audio CD - an entirely different beast - not whether or not car audio and other CD players have native capability to read the MP3 format. As previously noted, the capability of converting MP3 on-the-fly is a fairly standard feature of most any burning program, and so does not present an issue.

    There are a great many players that have difficulty reading CD-RW media and fewer that have problems with CD-R, due to the media itself and the amount of light reflected. But that's all fodder for a separate thread, should the question even be asked.
    -Mark

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    <img src=/S/hello.gif border=0 alt=hello width=25 height=29> Hi Mark, have I got this right? I have a stack of winamp saved songs, do I need to convert them from this format in order to save onto a CD that will play everywhere?

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    If you create an audio CD with your CD-making software of choice, it will do the conversion for you - I just have a particular skepticism about the ability of a computer to keep up with the converting and burning at the same time. Older hardware has more trouble with it, and Nero has never let me down....but as I noted in a previous post, old habits die hard. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> The simple answer to your question is that the CD creating software will perform the necessary conversions.
    -Mark

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    What a coincidence that you ask. I was gonna jump in here because I see that Bruce said in his 2nd post of this thread that he has done just that for eons. If the burning to CD disk automatically changes the file format to .CDA I hope Nero does that as well as EZCD. Bruce, when setting up the burn, you do choose "audio" rather than "data" right?

    Edited to add: Oops, sorry MarK! I didn't check whether you were on line or not. Thnx!

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    Re: MP3 to WAV?

    Okay - Im all over the place at present, Im setting up a triffik XP with Roxio (yeah I know most of you prefer Nero, but the machine came with Roxio) and needless to say being a 48 speed, its tons faster than mine at home (which is compliant because it's adeptec's final version). Therefore I am trying out the burner, but so far have only done a couple of cd to cd music stuff, which has been great. I did not try the music Ive downloaded from the web because when I did on mine at home, I made several coasters very well! My burner just would not do it, soooo, I thought I was doing something wrong. Thank you very much Mark - oh 1 more thing, Ive backed up all the "songs" but onto a cd-rw along with a ton of my folders. Can I copy my songs from that to a new music CD-R? (Hope that made sense) <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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