There are two basic methods for compressing audio – lossless and lossy, and for each of these methods there are many formats.
Lossless compression means that none of the audio data is removed during compression. Lossy compression means that audio data is permanently deleted from the audio files. MP3 is an example of lossy compression.
Lossy compression formats
There are many alternatives to MP3 when it comes to encoding audio files. Microsoft reportedly developed the WMA format to MP3 licensing costs to avoid. WMA files can be played with Windows Media Player that comes with the Windows operating system as well as many audio players.
AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) is the format preferred by Apple and is used for the popular iTunes and iPod products. AAC files smaller than MP3 files because it uses more efficient encoding technology. A 96 kbps AAC file is similar to the sound of an MP3 file of 128 kbps. You can convert this files format into mp3 with using aac to mp3 converter.
Ogg Vorbis is another type of lossy compression and uses. OGG as the file extension.
For audio purists, indicating the quality of sound possible, lossless compression offers quality sound from CD. The disadvantage is larger file sizes – while MP3 can compress audio in the range of 80% – 90%, lossless compression typically compresses the file by half.
Popular lossless formats include FLAC, Monkey Audio, and SHN (shorten). These formats are compatible with many audio players and are popular for storing collections of CDs and commercial music.