Difference between CD and MP3.

Many music lovers are familiar with CD and MP3 audio formats. What are their features?

Facts o CD

CD is a standard for digital audio recording on compact discs (also called CD for Compact Disk). In this case, the media stream is not recorded as a file, but as a sequence of encoded pulses, which are read by the laser head of the drive and reproduced through speakers or headphones.

The sound recorded on the CD is presented in stereo 16-bit format, has a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, and its bit rate (audio stream density) corresponds to approximately 1400 Kbps. The maximum length of a continuous audio track on a standard CD is about 79.8 minutes, the minimum is 4 seconds. The total number of tracks that can be recorded on a disc is 99.

The CD format is considered an audio classic. Many modern music lovers prefer to use it, rather than more progressive standards such as MP3 and its analogues. But playing CDs requires a device that can read CDs.

Facts about MP3

MP3 is, in turn, a file format for recording audio. It has its own.mp3 extension. Almost any file carrier can be used to store sound recordings in the appropriate format - the same CDs, "hard drives", flash drives, cloud storage.

The main advantage of the MP3 format is the ability to record sound in files of a relatively small size with sound quality comparable to that provided by the CD format. For example, the total length of tracks recorded in MP3 format on a CD with CD sound quality can exceed several hours. However, this capability is achieved by lowering the bit rate. The maximum value that the MP3 format can provide is 320 Kbps.

The MP3 standard is convenient in that files created when using it are easy to copy from one device to another. Their small size makes it possible to use rather compact devices - flash drives, SD-cards - as media carriers.


The main difference between CD and MP3 is that the first format is not a file format. Audio tracks are recorded on CDs in much the same way as on audio discs: the difference is that the CD contains digital data that can be recognized by the laser head, while the “vintage” plastic contains grooves that can be read mechanically. In turn, an audio recording in MP3 format is the same file as, for example, a Word text document or a web page.

CD and MP3 sound recordings also differ in the bit rate level. The first standard provides about four times the audio density of the second (at a maximum MP3 bitrate of 320 Kbps), and can also significantly exceed it at average MP3 densities (for example, 128 or 192 Kbps). But by ear, the difference between the sound quality of CD and MP3 (especially at 320 Kbps) can be determined only by a very experienced music lover.

By the way, if you want sound recording in CD format, it is easy (if you have a computer with a CD-reader and the simplest programs) to convert it into a file format - WAV. Its quality will be almost in no way inferior to the original - primarily due to the preservation of the bitrate at 1400 Kbps. In turn, WAV can also be converted to MP3 without any problems. Some programs allow you to convert CD to MP3 right away - without first creating WAV files.

The reverse operation is also possible - converting MP3 to CD. However, in this case, the sound quality will remain at the same level as provided by the original MP3-bitrate, despite the fact that it will nominally increase when the record is converted to CD.

Having determined what is the difference between CD and MP3, we will reflect the corresponding criteria in the table.


What do they have in common?
Both formats are intended for recording sound, conversion from one to another is possible
V is the difference between them?
Sound is recorded on a CD as a laser trackSound is recorded as a file that can be located on any digital media
Bit rate - about 1400 KbpsBit rate - within 320 Kbps