What is the difference between a downloadable wav, flac or mp3 file?
These three types of files have different characteristics, and each is suitable to different situation.
A wav file is a 44.1hz, 16-bit file. It is the same format that plays on all compact disc (cd) players. It sounds great, but is rather large (a 3-minute song takes up about 30mb of space and therefore may take some time to download, depending on the speed of your internet connection.
A flac file is a relatively new format, and although it compresses a wav file by about 50% (which is nice for storage and downloading)it is considered "lossless," meaning that it suffers no audio degradation of fidelity (sound quality.) Therefore, we suggest flac files for most download situations.
An mp3 file is the smallest size-wise of these three formats (about 20% of a wav file) but suffers a little audio fidelity loss. Many people are used to listening to mp3 files, but to serious audiophiles (and normal people too) they sound a bit "flat." Nevertheless they take up quite a bit smaller space and download really fast.