Should You Convert to an MP3 or MP4?

Unless you are a true “techie”, advances in the world of technology come at a cost. Of course, it’s always nice to have new tools and functionality that allow you to do things you couldn’t in the past. However, the downside is that sometimes technology changes so fast, it’s difficult to keep up. That is definitely the case when deciding whether to convert to an MP3 or MP4 file.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that “bigger is always better”. For example, when a new iPhone comes out, you assume that the iPhone 5 is a better version of the iPhone 4. However, that same logic could get you in trouble when you are deciding whether to convert to an MP3 or MP4 file. The problem is that an MP4 file is NOT just a bigger, better version of an MP3 file.

The Differences Between MP3 and MP4convert to an MP3 or MP4

In order to decide between converting to an MP3 or MP4 file, you must have a better understanding of each type of file.


The MP3 file format has been the standard for music files for quite some time. The actual name of an MP3 file is MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. Audio files are typically very large, and an MP3 file compresses the size. It does this through a process called “loss”. It uses a psychoacoustic model to remove some of the data from the original audio file that people don’t actually hear. A typical MP3 file is usually about 1/11th the size of the original audio file.


An MP4 file (MPEG-4 Part 14) is a “container” format. That means that instead of storing the code for the file, it stores the data. One big benefit of this difference is that an MP4 file can be streamed online.

However, because of the container format, there is not a standard way to handle the coding of the file. This means the specific codec will determine how the file will be coded and even compressed.

Why Are You Converting Your Audio File

There are clear differences between the two types of files. An MP3 file can only store audio files. An MP4 file can also store video files and even has the ability to include subtitles. An MP4 also has the ability to store files that have been compressed via different methods.

A device made to play MP4 files can sometimes, but not always, play an MP3, but a device that only plays an MP3 can never play an MP4.

Should You Convert to an MP3 or MP4?

You will need to carefully consider the reason for your file conversion to answer this question. If you are converting your file in order to submit it to a website online, the answer is determined by what type of file they accept.

If you are converting your audio files for your own reasons, it will likely be determined by your own personal needs (device, storage, etc).

Regardless of which option you choose, the changes to technology, devices, etc will likely change at some point. What you need “today” won’t be the same thing you need “tomorrow”. Because of that, you should have a free and easy online file converter LINK ready and waiting. That way, when you’re needs change, you will be ready to change with them!