Difference Between WMA and WAV

WMA and WAV are two types of formats that are 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 that humans can barely perceive is lost in order to save storage space. For this very reason of sound degradation, the WMA format is rarely used for audio edits. Difference Between WMA and WAV

WMA Difference Between WMA and WAV

Along with lossy decoding, WMA also compresses the final file. These techniques that it uses in its decoding process allow you to create files that are approximately 10% the size of files created by WAV. This creates two effects on the performance of the device where the audio is played. 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 this 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 of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Nowadays it is no longer widely used, especially due to the size of its files, since storage space is always limited. For this reason most people prefer formats that are balanced between loss of sound and file size, such as FLAC, MP4, and even WMA.

Key differences between WMA and WAV:

  1. WMA is a lossy codec, while WAV is not.
  2. First one is compressed and second one is not.
  3. First one needs more processing power and second one needs more storage space.
  4. First one is widely used, but second one is rarely used today.

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