For example: I'm listening to an artist's album on my PC. The tracks are mp3 audio. I then listen to the YouTube official video clip, and what I find is that audio in the video of the same track sounds a bit different. Audio in the video sounds more spacious.

So my question: is it the same audio in the mp3 and in the video clip, or is it the same but mixed differently, etc. (same but balance changed a bit)?

In the mp3, the drums are highlighted in the center. I can hear them clearly.

  • 1
    Note that MP3 being a lossy compression scheme, even two audio MP3 might not sound the same…
    – Tom
    Oct 26, 2020 at 14:42
  • Knowing which artist and album it is would help a lot. Now all we can do is guess.
    – ojs
    Oct 27, 2020 at 6:02

4 Answers 4


Two things.

(1) You don't necessarily get the same bits back that were uploaded to a streaming service. Audio or video. Streaming media services can and often do encode the audio and video with several different codecs and quality levels for different purposes, devices, connection speeds and requested quality settings. Depending on the content, encoder and bitrate/quality settings, (lossy) audio and video can be vastly different from the original. What you get from Youtube depends on you and your devices, as well as Youtube and the publisher.

(2) There is no rule that demands a publisher to upload the same source material to all streaming services. If they want, they can, for example, add sound effects and dialogue to their official video version. Or they can process the sound more heavily for video, if they want.

Putting these together, 1+2 = maybe, maybe not.


There are two main issues here - the mix that you're listening to, and the fact that the quality of the audio stream might have an audible effect on what you hear.

Firstly, considering the mix you're hearing,

So my question is it the same audio in mp3 and in video clip or it the same but mixied differently, etc.

Sometimes it might be the same, sometimes it might be different, depending on the choice of the artists and producers.

Audio in video sounds more more spacious.

Videos often come with 5.1 surround sound audio mixes - and some computers have various tricks to try to simulate surround sound even with only stereo speakers. Might this be the spaciousness you hear?

Secondly, considering the quality of the audio stream - when you watch a video with a soundtrack, you're listening to an audio stream that is conceptually similar to listening to an mp3 or other audio file on its own. There are various things that affect the audio quality - the type of compression (and amount of compression), the bit rate, bit depth, and so on.

There's no hard and fast rule as to whether a standalone audio file, or the soundtrack to a video, would have better quality. But it is possible that the extra spaciousness you hear in this example might just be due to a better audio stream with more high frequencies present, or less distortion.

  • 1
    > Videos often come with 5.1 - No. Stereo sound. I would also like to hear about this topic. Oct 26, 2020 at 15:17
  1. Both mp3 and formats used by streaming services use lossy compression. It may result in audible differences, especially at low bitrates.

  2. Even more importantly, last years many streaming services normalize audio loudness. This may involve dynamic processing like compression, which may result in audible difference.

  3. Mastering is the process of preparing a recording for presentation on given medium. I don't think it is a very common practice, but perhaps some artists release slightly different master on an official album and for streaming services. For older recordings, they often become remastered over and over for new releases.


They both are different instances of digital audio

They are not the same though, both are compressed with a codec.

No two audios are the same because each sound has a unique fingerprint.

Lastly one can take audio from an mp3 then add it to a video. And edit the sound putting reverb or tach machine or sound effects to change the sound. In the end it's different because it was edited changing the fingerprint. (even instances where you start with an mp3 then add it to video and change the sound then compare the mp3 you started with to the edited audio embedded in the video.)

However, say you take an mp3 put it into a video without changing the sound in any way, then, yes, that should be the same.

  • 5
    This is all just a bit confused.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 27, 2020 at 10:57

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