WMA, short for Windows Media Audio, is an audio format developed by Microsoft’s senior researcher Henrique Malvar and his team. Generally speaking, WMA can refer to a format or a codec. And with the support from iTunes, this format is now very popular and poses a great threat to MP3 format.
- When releasing its first edition of WMA, Microsoft claimed that WMA could compress files at a higher rate than MP3 and produce an audio with only half the size of equivalent MP3. But the statement incurred strong doubts from many users especially music enthusiasts.
- Even though WMA was originally developed to compete with MP3, it is less popular than MP3.
- Based on the original WMA codec, Microsoft has developed WMA pro, WMA Lossless and WMA Voice. But they are designed with different codecs, and those codecs are not compatible with the former one.
- WMA improves the playback effects at low bitrate, which means it retains high quality with relatively smaller file size. However it doesn’t perform well at a high frequency. But this feature is perfect for compressing English listening audio files.
- MS has released 8 editions of WMA so far, and editions after WMA 7 support certificate encryption, aiming to protect the music copyrights, from which the musicians and music publishers may benefit most.
- WMA is able to compress audio at a higher rate, meaning that it can contain high-quality audio with less storage required.
- Usually, it will lose some quality to compress audio via WMA codec. As for the users who are very particular about sound quality, WMA is far from perfect, but they can try formats like FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) or APE (also known as monkey’s audio).
- Microsoft controls the WMA standard, but doesn’t share it with other operators.
WMA vs. MP3
Since WMA’s is vying with Mp3, we may wonder which one is better. Both WMA and MP3 are popular formats that compress audio to produce portable file size for easy delivery. Despite the certain loss of quality, they also have their own advantages. Because WMA can be easily streamed, it is widely adopted by many websites and therefore gains a lot of online users. Besides, due to the attributes of high sound quality and low storage, it’s particularly suitable for people who need to balance the quality and the file size. What’s more, WMA has wonderful performance at low bit rate (the number of bits that are conveyed or processed per unit of time, and low bit rate results in small file size). Theoretically, when the bit rate is lower than 128k, WMA meets no rivals in terms of sound quality. When the bit rate rises to 128k, Mp3 loses its high-frequency part, but this won’t happen to WMA. However, as for WMA, there will be no more improvement when the bit rate rises above 128k. On the other hand, at 192k bit rate, Mp3 has better sound effects than WMA.
Programs that can play WMA files
WMP – Windows Media Player, a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio (including WMA), video.
ttpod – ttpod is powerful and completely free music software and it supports many formats including WMA.
Spotify – Spotify is a platform offering commercial music streaming, podcast and video service,and it can play WMA music as well.
Foobar – Foobar, developed by Peter Pawlowski, also supports this format.
Online music websites which can play WMA files
jango – this online music website has a resourceful library of high-quality music.
tunein – created by Bill Moore, TuneIn has over 100,000 real radio stations and it offers WMA music as well.
songza – this website is famous for its unique style and music of all kinds, and you can enjoy the WMA music as well.
gaana – the website collects music of different styles from many countries, and the beautiful design of the pages will impress you a lot once you click in.
live365 – its user interface is concise and it features a vast variety of music in many formats available for users to stream.
Tips：if you enjoy some songs online but can’t figure out a way to save them, you can record them to your cellphones, tablet or MP3 player via Apowersoft Streaming Audio Recorder. The process is very simple. Before recording, choose the WMA as the output format and click the Start button to activate the conversion. After that, you can listen to those euphonic songs without limits.
Integrated Solutions for WMA Format
Audio to WMA
There are currently many approaches to convert other audio formats to WMA. One of the best solutions is using Apowersoft Video Converter Studio. After installation, start the software and add audio files to the interface; and choose the target format WMA then start the conversion. After reading the general solutions on converting audio to WMA, users who have concrete needs on a specific format can check below:
MP3 to WMA – since they are both common audio formats, it is pretty easy to convert MP3 to WMA.
Video to WMA
Many programs can extract audio files from video and convert it to WMA format. Apowersoft Video Converter Studio is also one of them. Via this program, you can make conversions below:
MP4 to WMA – MP4 is most used video format, and you can extract the audio and convert it to WMA.
WAV to WMA – Both WAV and WMA are developed by Microsoft. Even though WAV is a lossless audio format which restores the sound data faithfully, it uses lots of disc memory. Therefore, it is not a good choice for saving music in portable devices. Converting WAV to WMA is a nice solution to terminate the inconvenience.