Often I have to import/export audio files to/from Audacity/Adobe-Premiere and back-and-forth.

I know that mp3 is lossy format, but when I try to choose another alternative .wav, then it takes up to 30x more space (i.e. 4-5MB mp3 file results in about 100 MB wav, while exporting from AudaCity).

Which formats can be a good alternative to mp3 (also, mp3 is good because it is playable on many devices).

  • 1
    Why is it bad that the wav is large? Is this hurting the project? In terms of quality, you should keep it wav until the final mixdown
    – user22688
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 15:13

4 Answers 4


Do not use lossy formats until exporting the final mixdown. wav is ok, FLAC is ok. For production purposes and mastering, having the necessary amount of disk space available is really mandatory. Lossy compression works by throwing away content it considers psychoacoustically masked by other content. For anything but the final mix, the assumptions made are invalid. Your format might waste the bulk of its bandwidth on high frequency content you might tone down using filtering for a better mix, and then what resurfaces is crappy. Then you mix with other stuff and recompress, and the compression wastes its bandwidth on preserving the crappiness.

So you need high bandwidth in order not to mess up other components while the result still sounds as bad as low bandwidth compression.


During the editing & collaboration phase, it's good to avoid lossy formats if you can.

You might want to try FLAC, a lossless format that compresses audio files to about half the size of WAV. FLAC seems to have wide support in desktop audio editors, and is a supported playback format on Android devices. The default Samsung Music app should playback FLAC files, for example.

For iPhones, you might consider the Apple Lossless format instead.


While lossless compression like FLAC would solve your storage space issue, it is a heavy load on your CPU, so you may run into problems if your machine is at at all old.

The usual recommended approach here is to use wav as it requires very low processor load, and just buy big/fast discs. These days storage is so cheap you can pick up terabyte drives for next to nothing.


You can try OGG Opus, which seems to be getting more popular recently. I haven't used it myself, but from what I've heard, it's a little bit better than MP3. Here it is compared with other formats in various ways.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.