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What is the AMR Audio Format? Why is it Better than MP3?

AMR Audio Format

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

AMR is an audio format that hardly anyone hears about. If you’ve come across it recently and wondering what it’s all about, here’s a quick explanation.

AMR stands for Adaptive Multi-Rate. It is identified by the .amr extension.

Is it a new audio format? No. It has been around since 1999.

AMR File Background

Ericsson developed the AMR audio format. It was specially designed for voice audio. It works well with 3G phones when it comes to voice recordings, including MMS messages.

It was recommended as early as 1999 for voice audio by the 3GPP, bodies responsible for mobile telecoms standards.

Now you know that AMR isn’t that popular because it’s used for voice recording instead of for music or songs.

Other formats like AAC, WMA, and MP3 can be used for voice recording as well. However, AMR is preferred because it does the job more efficiently with small file sizes.

AMR Compression

Like MP3 and AAC, the AMR audio format employs lossy compression.

But AMR stands apart because it uses the Algebraic Code Excited Linear Prediction (ACELP) algorithm. The result is a good compression quality when it comes to human voice recordings.

AMR files are output in the AMR Narrowband (AMR-NB) or AMR Wideband (AMR-WB) format.

The Wideband format produces higher-quality sound recordings. This is because it supports a wider frequency range that stretches from 50 to 7000 Hz.

As such, it forms the backbone of the GSM or Global System for Mobile Communications (2G) and UMTS or Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (3G) systems.

AMR Narrowband, on the other hand, covers a frequency range of between 300 and 3400 Hz.

How to Open an AMR File

Media players that support the playback of AMR files include the VLC Media Player, Groove Music (Microsoft), and QuickTime Player (Apple).

To edit an AMR file you could use Audacity if you have it installed with the FFmpeg library. The library option allows you to import and export a wider range of audio and video formats.

On Android mobile devices, the AMR audio format is supported via the VLC Media Player, RealPlayer, or Winamp.

How to Convert an AMR File

Chances are you would want to save an occasional AMR file to a popular format like MP3, WAV, or AAC.

As most AMR files come in small sizes, you may want to use an online audio converter like Convertio.

AMR Player

If you don’t feel comfortable about the idea of converting your AMR file online, then you may use a free solution in the form of the AMR Player.

This useful free tool doesn’t just allow you to play AMR files. It also allows you to convert AMR files to MP3 and WAV.

The freeware claims to be the only dedicated tool that allows you to play AMR files on your computer. You can also convert popular audio formats like MP3 and WAV to AMR/AWB format.

AMR Player has been around for many years and has proven to work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to pay to use the AMR Codec?

The AMR codec is royalty-free. You can use it without paying licensing fees. Since it’s available for free, it has enjoyed widespread adoption.

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