Ogg vs MP3: Can You Hear the Difference?

By Dave Henry Updated on June 21, 2023

ogg vs mp3

Have you ever noticed that there’re differences when you listen to the same song on different platforms, media players, or devices? Actually there’re lots of potential variables that make a difference in the quality of every song. If you have ever got around to do some research on how a song is made and how it is brought to you, you’ll know that the song has gone through many processes that can possibly change how it sounds. And one of the major processes is encoding.

The audio world used to be the reign of MP3, which is a coding format defined as the third audio format of the MPEG-1. But with the rise of online music streaming platform Spotify, Ogg becomes the hotspot of the audio industry.

In this passage, I’ll talk about the differences between Ogg and MP3, as well as how to choose the one that caters to your needs.

Part 1. Ogg & MP3: Basic Reviews

How Did MP3 Become So Popular?


Before MP3 was created, music distributors earned a profit by storing music in a CD and selling those CDs to music lovers. Music stored in CD is uncompressed and with high resolution. But there’s a problem with it. CD takes up a huge space to retain the music in high quality, a 3-minute long song consumes about 32 megabytes of space. Downloading a song could take up to 2 hours.

Later MP3 was invented, it uses lossy data compression to encode data using inexact approximation and the partial discarding of data, which means it largely reduces the file size compared to uncompressed audio. With MP3, a 32-megabyte song on CD can be compressed down to 3 MB. This is why people usually MP3 changed the music industry. It allows people to download songs more quickly and store more songs on the computer and phone.

What is Ogg Format?


Ogg is a bitstream container format for efficient streaming and file compression. It’s an open-source lossy format that created in the process of developing a set of components for the coding and decoding of multimedia content which could be both freely available and freely re-implementable in software.

When encoding in MP3 format, there’re actually will be a very small amount of silence at the beginning and end of the song. So when people loop the tracks, there’s be a pause when a track ends and the other track starts. And Ogg format can make the audio completely gapless. And so it becomes more widely accepted among video and audio editing software platforms.

But with the fact that Ogg is not supported natively on most devices, so it’s not widely used among ordinary listeners. However, Spotify has adopted the Ogg Vorbis format for its streaming services. And so if you’re a musician and want to know how your songs will sound on Spotify, it’d be better to encode your song in Ogg format.

Part 2. Ogg & MP3: Comparison

MP3 and Ogg are two different audio formats that have their own strengths and weakness. Let's dive into an overall comparison between the two formats, considering, compatibility, compression, sound quality, file size, and more.

1. Compatibility

MP3 is the most widely supported audio formats across various devices, operating systems, and software players, meaning you can almost play MP3 everywhere. It's compatible with a vast range of portable music players, car stereos, smartphones, and streaming platforms. For example, you can transfer your MP3s to a storage device and play them in your car's infotainment system. And you can upload your MP3s to music services that have local files support, such as Spotify, then you can enjoy your listening together with your online music library.

While Ogg Vorbis is supported by many software players, its compatibility with hardware devices can be more limited compared to MP3. You can play your Ogg files on some powerful media players including VLC Media Player, Foobar 200, and Winamp. However, with the rise of streaming services like Spotify Ogg Vorbis has gained wider recognition and support. But still, Ogg Vorbis is not as universally compatible as MP3.

2. Compression and Sound Quality

MP3 uses a perceptual audio coding technique to compress audio data. It achieves high compression ratios by discarding audio data that is less perceptually important. This results in smaller file sizes but may lead to some loss of audio quality.

Ogg Vorbis, like MP3, is also a lossy audio compression format. It utilizes perceptual audio coding techniques to discard audio data that is considered less perceptually important. This compression allows for significant reduction in file size while maintaining an acceptable level of audio quality. Ogg Vorbis employs more advanced compression techniques compared to MP3, resulting in potentially better sound quality at the same bit rate. This makes Ogg a preferred choice for high-fidelity streaming platforms like Spotify.

3. File Size

MP3 offers good compression while maintaining acceptable audio quality. It produces smaller file sizes compared to uncompressed formats like WAV, making it popular for digital distribution, storage, and portable music players.

Ogg Vorbis generally achieves similar or better audio quality than MP3 at the same bite rate, resulting in slighty larger file sizes for a give audio duration. However, the difference in file size between MP3 and Ogg Vorbis is usually negligible and easily manageable in today's storage capacities.

4. Licensing Issues

MP3 was patented, and licensing was required for commercial use. However, many patents associated with MP3 have expired, making it more accessible for developers and users. MP3 has widespread support across various devices and software players.

Ogg Vorbis is an open and free format that does not require any licensing fees. Unrestricted use and distribution of audio files in Ogg format is allowed.

5. Listening Experiences

Both Ogg and MP3 use lossy compression, but when it comes to the hearing difference between then is subjective and can vary from person to person, and objective depending on the type of music being listening to. You can take some key factors into consideration, including the quality of the audio source, the equipment used for playback, and individual sensitivity to audio nuances.

However, considering the technical advantages of Ogg Vorbis, it generally has a batter reputation for delivering higher audio fidelity and a more enjoyable listening experience, especially at lower bit rates. Spotify use Ogg instead of MP3 as the audio format for its music streaming, and it gains popularity among listeners.

Part 3. Ogg vs MP3: Which to Choose?

If you want to choose a format between Ogg and MP3, it depends on how you're going to use the audio file.

If you want to keep the file size small, then both Ogg and MP3 can meet your need.

There're some areas that Ogg is better at like the sound quality, open-source characteristics and changeable bit rate.

While for MP3, it's almost like a universal format in the audio industry, it is far more popular and compatible than Ogg. MP3 will be the best choice for scenarios like sharing music to your friends or upload your music to social platforms.

So in conclusion, there's no certain answer to which format to choose. The choice still should be based on your personal preference. But always keep in mind that the file should be compatible with your operating system and it's better to prepare enough space for your files.

Part 4. How to Download Ogg or MP3 from Spotify?

Spotify, one of the word's largest music streaming platforms, indeed uses the Ogg Vorbis format for its streaming music files, as Ogg Vorbis offers good audio quality while keeping file sizes relatively small, making it suitable for streaming over the internet. Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis for both its free and premium streaming tiers.

While MP3 is a widely-used audio format and can be purchased from some digital music stores, such as Amazon Music Digital Store and Bandcamp, Spotify doesn't offer the selling option. Instead, both the streaming music files and downloaded music files are encrypted in Spotify's digital rights management, just like other music services. If you need to download music from Spotify in Ogg Vorbis or MP3 format, you'll need a third-party tool.

Downloading Spotify to Ogg Vorbis: Soggfy (for Windows Only)

Soggfy is a music downloader mod for the Windows Spotify client and allows Windows users only to download Ogg Vorbis files directly from Spotify. While you are playing what you want to download into Ogg Vorbis, Soggfy will download and embed metadata, lyrics, and canvas. The downloaded .ogg files will be saved on the Music folder by default. You can try it and go to the following location to get your files: This PC\Music\Soggfy.

soggfy downloaded ogg file

download music file from spotify
How to Download Ogg Vorbis from Spotify [Free]

Here we introduce the best solutions for both Premium and free users to download music files from Spotify in popular formats, such as MP3.

Download Spotify to MP3: ViWizard Music Converter (for Windows & Mac)

Downloading Spotify to MP3 can be easy with another conversion tool called ViWizard Music Converter. It is available for both Windows and Mac users to download MP3 from either premium or free tier. Even you don't have Premium subscription, you can still download songs, playlists, albums, podcasts, and even audiobooks to your device in bulk. What you need to do is making sure you select MP3 as the output format for your music selections. If you are interested in other popular options, you can also choose WAV, AAC, M4A, M4B, or FLAC.

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