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Difference Between OGG and MP3

mp3_logoOGG vs MP3

There are many types of audio files. So if you want to reproduce or change the sound formats in order for them to be played in various audio players, you should familiarize yourself with different audio file types. These file types can be distinguished by checking the extension of the file name.

With that being said, there are compressed audio file types that are highly favorable for downloading, copying, and storing. The two of the more commonly used compressed audio file types are the OGG (.ogg) and the MP3 (.mp3). These two are known as lossy compression audio formats.

MP3 is actually short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. It is a ground-breaking digital audio file format that allows audio files to have smaller sizes, but still maintain the same sound quality of the significantly larger PCM WAV formats. MP3 was developed by Thompson Multimedia and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in the late 80’s. It was specially devised for easy storage and download over the internet, and became very popular because of that achievement.

One can normally load more than a hundred MP3 songs on a standard CD. The popularity of the format also paved the way for MP3 players, and many companies who manufacture these devices achieve significant profits. It was so practical and popular that it caused a lot of turmoil in the music industry, since copyrighted music become very easy to obtain and share electronically.

Because of its small file size, it can be sent via email and shared; it can be embedded into websites, which can also become downloadable. A 50MB WAV file can be compressed to about 3 to 5 MB of MP3 file without sacrificing the digital sound quality.

The OGG or OGG Vorbis is another compressed digital audio format. It is not as popular as the MP3, but smaller in file size, as it is even more compressed, so to say. Unlike the patented MP3, OGG is not constrained by any patents, since it is open source and free to all.

OGG compression of digital audio varies in bit rate. The bit rate varies depending on the need, thus, with OGG, a 5 minute sound of silence will have a very small file size, or no size at all. This is one of the main differences between OGG and MP3, because the latter compresses digital data at a constant bit rate. Even when a particular track is completely silent, the file will still have a significant size.


1. MP3 is still more popular and more commonly used than OGG.
2. A file in OGG format will have a smaller size compared to a file in MP3 format.
3. OGG is the open source equivalent of MP3. Therefore, it is free to all with no strings attached.
4. MP3 compresses at a constant bit rate, while OGG’s bit rate compression varies with the need.

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  1. Enjoyed the article. You made the OGG vs MP3 argument very understandable

  2. This is slightly misleading: OGG is a container format, like WAV and AVI. Vorbis, the audio format, can be used with other container formats (Matroska) and video, and still retains all advantages to MP3.

    The encoding itself in Vorbis is more efficient than MP3, due to it being 15 years younger. A 128k constant rate Vorbis file will always beat a 128k constant rate MP3 file.

  3. this comment thread is almost dead for sure but couldn’t resist replying.

    @Andrew is correct in pointing out that ‘ogg’ is the audio container just like mp3, flac, m4a &c. just as mp3 contains the audio compression algorithm mpeg-1 layer-3, ogg contains the vorbis compression algorithm.

    the vorbis algorithm, since its invention, has been using variable bit rate as per the audio compression level required. mp3 (misleading) used constant bit rate in the beginning, however, in the later years of its popularity, variable bit rate mp3 came into use redefining the audio quality that was not present in the original format. so, in the initial days of ogg, it was definitely far better than mp3.

    just for info, vbr mp3 is almost comparable in quality to ogg but after years of listening to both formats, i haven’t yet managed to find out which one of these (ogg or vbr mp3) is better.

    if anyone has any info on ogg vs vbr mp3 performance, i’d like to know it please.

  4. one more thing i missed out on:

    ogg still is ‘patent free’ and under gpl. mp3 is not technically free yet exists in the internet in many genuine websites for download.

    • Mp3’s patent has expired and thus is as free as Ogg/Vorbis.

      Ogg is the superior format/container as it uses less space on same quality files and is in fact free by design.

      Mp3 however has support for way more mp3 players than ogg which isn’t really a problem in 2018.

      If you are on a Computer with enough space i would recommend you to use flac or at least have an archive of your music in flac because it’s loseless and a free format

      If you are on a mobile device or a computer with less space then defiantly go with ogg vorbis

  5. “A 50MB WAV file can be compressed to about 3 to 5 MB of MP3 file without sacrificing the digital sound quality.”

    Nonsense, complete nonsense

  6. Rather you convert flac or wav to mp3 or ogg or even aac. You are losing sound quality. If you didn’t lose sound quality, than we would all be ditching our hires flac files for smaller mp3 or ogg or aac, or what your preference. So to say that no sound quality is lost is false.

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