Android audio: extensions, codecs, apps and everything you need to know

Android has a huge variety of audio settings and options, which can cause some confusion for those unfamiliar.

Let's agree that, at a minimum, the audio settings are a bit embarrassing.

That's why we've decided to put together the main commands, tips and information for those who want to get acquainted with the Android sound system.

Basic notions of audio on Android

When Android was released, only one audio API existed, which means there was only one audio and volume control, which was not intuitive.

Today, however, we can adjust numerous volumes individually, such as system and application notifications, ringtones, and sounds.

Moreover, it is possible to do all this through the system shortcut bar.

Manufacturers may add support for other codecs and audio formats, although this practice is less common today.

Thus, new phones tend to offer the same support as that offered by more basic models.

There are numerous apps that support different codecs and extensions in the Play Store / AndroidPIT

Acronyms and Audio Terms

There is nothing worse than getting lost amidst the acronyms or specific terms that are needed to understand a particular subject, such as audio.

I do not need to understand exactly the meaning of each file or acronym (Lossless, FLAC, etc.), but it is good to have an idea of ​​the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

That's exactly what we'll talk about next.

Lossless / compression without data loss

The term Lossless refers to the type of file that does not fully compress the original audio, thus allowing sound to retain its essence and quality.

The "cost" of this increase is larger files compared to other audio formats.

Smaller files generate higher data compression with lower quality.

Some examples of files in this scheme are .wav and .flac, while .aac and .mp3 are formats that lose some quality.

FLACt has gained special popularity, as this format allows audio to be of a quality similar to the standard of a CD but slightly smaller compared to Lossless.


Bitrate (or Bitrate) refers to the amount of information that is exchanged (or that contains each file) every second for an audio file.

Therefore, larger numbers are better as this means the file has more quality and information to transmit to the device.

You will notice a quality in the audio as if you had taken the songs off a CD, but within a similar pattern to Spotify's extreme quality if the file in question is not a Lossless.

Moreover, many users use Spotify, which works with the Vorbis standard (extension .ogg), delivering the following frequencies: 96 kbps for normal quality, 160 kbps for high quality and 320 kbps for high quality in the premium (paid) plan.


If you are an audiophile, you will surely prefer lossless formats and higher bit rates, even though some will argue to you that this alone will not make much difference.


A codec is software that allows the phone or computer to play a specific audio file.

The term is the combination of the words "compression" and "decompression".

In short, codecs allow compressed files to be unzipped and played back.

Audio file types, codecs, and how they are used

Typical use
Android version
AAC LC Support for mono / narrow / 5.0 / 5.1 channels.

There are basic and Lossless versions.

.3gpMPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4a), .m4b, .aac

Android 2.3+

HE-AACv1 (AAC +)
HE-AACv2 (enhanced AAC +)
AAC ELD (enhanced low delay AAC)
AMR-NB conventional standard for audio recordings (AAC) 3GPP (.3gp) Android 2.3+
FLAC High quality audio / Lossless .Flac Android 3.1+
MIDI Ringtones and notifications .mid, .xmf, .mxmf, .rtttl, .rtx, .ota, .imy Android 6.0+
MP3 Music and other standard audio at variable bitrates. .MP3 Android 1.6+
Opus More efficient format for audio recordings.

Opus is an evolution of Vorbis.

.opus Android 5.0+


high quality audio without compression .WAV Android 2.2+


Open code format with low audio loss.

Used by many companies due to lack of licensing cost.

.ogg / .oga Android 2.3+

Music Apps

Of course apps are there to help us play formats and everything else we need to do.

If you are looking for a good audio player, check out our referral list below for the best both paid and free options available on the Google Play Store.



What are your favorite audio apps?

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