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What is the AWB Audio File Format? How Do You Open and Convert It to MP3 and WAV?

AWB Audio File Format - Convert to MP3

Last updated on February 8th, 2024 at 10:14 am

This post will explain the AWB audio format and how to open and convert it to MP3 and WAV.

AWB stands for Adaptive Multi-Rate – Wideband.

It is not much different from an AMR file. The only difference is that it supports a wider frequency bandwidth.

The bandwidth supported ranges from 50Hz to 7KHz. AWB can also support at least 9 unique bitrates, ranging from 6.6kbps to 23.85kbps.

AWB files come with the .awb extension.

Why was the AWB Audio File Format Created?

The AWB audio format was created to address two main needs:

1. High-quality speech at low bitrates: To provide a wider frequency range (50 Hz to 7 kHz) and higher sampling rate (16 kHz) compared to AMR’s 200 Hz to 3400 Hz and 8 kHz.

This wider range captures more detail in human speech, resulting in higher fidelity and clarity. However, AWB accomplishes this without significantly increasing file size thanks to its adaptive bitrate technology.

This made it perfect for applications where file size was a limitation, such as:

  • Mobile phone networks: AWB was widely used for voice calls and recordings on early mobile phones due to its efficient compression and good audio quality.
  • VoIP (Voice over IP) calls: Similar to mobile networks, AWB’s low bandwidth requirements made it suitable for internet-based voice calls.
  • Teleconferencing: AWB provided sufficient audio quality for small group conversations while keeping file sizes manageable.

2. Standardized format for wideband speech: While AMR was already established, it lacked wider industry support for wideband audio.

Based on the ITU-T G.722.2 standard, AWB aimed to become a more universal format for high-quality speech coding. This standardization ensured:

  • Interoperability: Different devices and software could decode and play AWB files, regardless of the manufacturer.
  • Consistent audio quality: The standard defined bitrates and encoding parameters, guaranteeing a certain level of audio quality across different implementations.

Although AWB was a significant improvement for its time, newer codecs like Opus have taken over in recent years, offering even better audio quality and compression efficiency. However, AWB remains relevant in legacy applications and archives.

AWB History

Here are the highlights of the historical background of the AWB audio format to help you better understand its evolution.

Precursors and Influences (1980s – mid-1990s)

Looking at the timeline below, one can see that the foundation for the AWB format had been laid since the 1980s.

  • 1980s: Development of various speech coding algorithms aiming for better quality and smaller file sizes.
  • 1993: ITU-T G.728 standard for low-delay CELP (Code Excited Linear Prediction) codec released, laying the groundwork for AMR and AWB.
  • 1999: AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) codec standardized, providing good audio quality at low bitrates but limited to narrowband audio (3.4 kHz).

AWB’s Genesis and Rise (late 1990s – early 2000s)

This was an era when the AWB format saw a rise in popularity.

  • 1996: ITU-T forms G.722.2 working group to create a wideband (7 kHz) speech codec based on AMR, addressing the need for higher-fidelity voice communication.
  • 1998: G.722.2 standard for AWB was finalized, offering higher audio quality than AMR while maintaining low bitrates and complexity.
  • 1999-2000: Qualcomm and Ericsson, among others, integrate AWB into mobile phone chipsets, enabling high-quality voice calls and recordings.

Widespread Adoption and Challenges (2001-2010)

During the 2000s, the format saw recognition and acceptance in the industry,

  • 2001-2005: AWB becomes a dominant format in mobile networks, VoIP applications, and teleconferencing due to its:
    • High audio quality: Wider frequency range capturing more speech details.
    • Low bitrates: Efficient compression saving bandwidth and storage space.
    • Standardization: Ensuring interoperability between devices and software.
  • 2006-2010: New codecs like Speex and Opus emerge, offering further improvements in compression and quality, potentially surpassing AWB. However, AWB remains popular due to its:
    • Installed base: Already integrated into many devices and systems.
    • Familiarity and reliability: Proven track record and robust performance.

Gradual Decline and Continued Relevance (2011-present)

During this period, AWB faced challenges from other modern versatile.codecs

  • 2011-present: Widespread adoption of newer codecs and evolving communication technologies contribute to AWB’s decline in use.
  • AWB isn’t entirely obsolete. It is still used in the following areas:
  • Legacy applications: Still employed in specific devices and software not updated to newer standards.
  • Archives: Used to preserve historical audio recordings made with AWB.
  • Variations: AMR-WB+ builds upon AWB principles and finds use in congested mobile networks for efficient voice transmission.

Additional Notes

  • CRI Middleware, a software development company, played a significant role in popularizing AWB, especially in video games.
  • The development of AWB wasn’t solely driven by technical advancements but also by market demands for better voice communication experiences in mobile phones and other emerging technologies.

AWB Codec

The compression technology used for AWB is based on Algebraic Code Excitation Linear Prediction. This is the same compression used for the AMR and EFR formats.

Essentially, the technology can be broken into two parts for better understanding.

  • Algebraic Code Excitation (ACE): This refers to the specific type of “codebook” used in AWB’s compression process. Unlike traditional codebooks with random pulses, ACE codebooks leverage mathematical properties to ensure efficient storage and access to excitation signal patterns relevant to human speech.
  • Linear Prediction (LP): This core technique estimates future speech samples based on past samples, helping remove redundancy and achieve compression.

AWB Compression Process

Below is an overview of the AWB compression process, divided into 3 parts:

  1. Speech Analysis: Incoming speech is analyzed using an LP filter, predicting future samples and leaving a “residual” error signal containing the key details.
  2. Finding the Best Match: The ACE codebook, with its structured collection of pulses, serves as a dictionary. A search algorithm finds the combination of pulses from the codebook that best matches the residual error signal, minimizing the difference.
  3. Scaling and Synthesis: The chosen pulse combination is scaled based on the speech energy and fed into the LP filter again. This “excites” the filter, recreating the original speech signal with high fidelity.

AWB File Opener Programs

There are a number of media players that can open AWB files.

If you have the VLC Media Player installed on your computer, you should use it to open AWB files.

You can also use the AMR Player to open AWB files.

Other AWB file openers you can use are

  1. FairStars Audio Converter
  2. Nokia Multimedia Converter

Convert AWB to MP3

Since AWB isn’t a popular audio format, your default media player may not support it.

In this case, you may want to convert it to MP3.

There are two types of AWB to MP3 converters. The first type is a software program that needs to be installed on your computer.

The second type is an online AWB to MP3 converter.

AWB to MP3 Converter

Two popular AWB to MP3 converters are the FairStars Audio Converter and the Nokia Multimedia Converter.

Another option is the AWB to MP3 Converter.

You may use any of these programs if you have many AWB files to convert.

If you don’t want to install programs on your computer, you may use an AWB to MP3 online converter.

This option is recommended.

AWB File to MP3 Converter Online

Here are some AWB to MP3 Converters Online you may use.

CoolUtils AWB to MP3 Converter

This is an easy-to-use AWB to MP3 converter. Just upload your AWB file from your computer. Alternatively, drag and drop your file into the converter box below.

Convertio AWB to MP3 Converter

Convertio is a free platform offering various file conversion tools, including AWB to MP3 conversion online.

Using Convertio for AWB to MP3 Conversion

  1. Upload your AWB file: You can select the file from your computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Convertio accepts several other audio formats as well.
  1. Choose settings (optional): You can adjust the output MP3 quality by selecting a bitrate level (higher bitrate means better quality but larger file size).
  2. Convert: Click the “Convert” button to initiate the process.
  3. Download the MP3: Once finished, you can download the converted MP3 file to your device.

Pros and Cons of Convertio


  • Free and easy to use: No complex interface or registration required.
  • Supports various file formats: Handles several audio formats, including AWB.
  • Bitrate options: You can control the audio quality of the converted MP3.
  • Secure: Claims to delete uploaded files within 24 hours.


  • File size limit: The free version has a 100MB limit.
  • Limited conversion options: No advanced settings for the conversion process.
  • Privacy concerns: Uploading files requires trusting the platform’s security practices.
  • Reliance on internet connection: Needs a stable internet connection for uploading and downloading.

AWB to WAV Converter

The above converters will also convert AWB files to WAV and other popular audio formats.

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