Understanding AMR Audio Files

Have you ever downloaded audio recordings that wouldn’t play on your media player? It happens due to AMR audio, designed for audio compression, but converting it to compatible audio formats is essential. 

AMR files are designed to compress human speech efficiently and are significant for quality voice recordings. So, this guide develops a clear understanding of what AMR audio files are, how to play them, and how to convert them to other audio formats. 

What are AMR audio files, and what is their purpose?

AMR, Adaptive Multi-Rate Audio Codec, is a compression for encoding speech audio files. It requires less bandwidth and adapts its bitrates to suit different network conditions. 

  • Telecommunication

Initially, AMR was designed for speech encoding in GSM and UMTS because it can handle multiple voice calls within a single frequency range. Therefore, it optimizes the recordings for seamless transmission over diverse networks.

  • VoIP applications

AMR was created for use on 3G mobile phones, and it is now essential in mobile devices and VoIP apps for voice recordings due to its small file size and efficient compression. So, when a user creates a voice memo with cellular phones, it’s recorded with the .amr file extension. 

File Extensions of AMR Audio Files

File extension typically consists of three or four letters at the end of the filename, such as “.amr.” It tells you about the file type and programs needed to open it. So, the AMR encoded file typically goes with the “.amr” extension. 

The file format compresses the audio using a narrowband codec to make it smaller and compatible with VoIP apps. AMR-NB and AMR-WB are two enhanced versions of the AMR audio files.

  • AMR-NB (AMR- Narrowband): AMR-NB has a lower bitrate and bandwidth of 200–3400 Hz and is a prominent audio codec for 2G and 3G cell phones.
  • AMR-WB (AMR- Wideband): AMR-Wideband supports a higher bit rate and broad frequency range. Therefore, it is used in wideband applications such as mobile voice recordings or VoIP apps. The higher bandwidth also ensures sound quality and clarity of audio recordings. Usually, these files also have a “.awb” file extension.

Technical Specifications of AMR Audio Files

AMR audio files are used to encode spoken audio at various bit rates. So, technical specifications clearly understand how AMR compresses the files and efficiently transmits voice recordings. Here’s the technical details of AMR audio files:

  1. Bit Rates

The AMR audio is a multi-mode codec that supports eight narrowband encoding modes with bit rates ranging from 4.75 to 12.2 kbps. It ensures toll quality speech at 4.75kbps and improved reproduction of non-speech sounds at higher bit rates.

Furthermore, the AMR wideband bit rates provide excellent speech quality during noisy environments. The codec efficiently optimizes the speech quality and adapts the perfect bit rate in fluctuating environmental conditions.

  1. Sampling Rate

The sampling frequency for AMR is 8 kHz, corresponding to 160 encoded speech samples for 20ms. So, the standard narrowband frequency of 8000 Hz is sufficient for precisely capturing human speech. 

The wideband extends the sampling frequency to 16 kHz, corresponding to 320 frames per frame from each channel. Furthermore, it also improves the sound quality for higher-frequency sounds and ensures crystal-clear voice reproduction. 

  1. Efficiency

AMR is primarily optimized for speech encoding without losing the audio quality. It minimizes bandwidth usage by actively utilizing voice activity detection (VAD), Comfort Noise Generation, and Discontinued Transmission during periods of silence. 

Additionally, the hybrid approach toward speech compression has made AMR the primary audio format for voice recordings and VoIP apps. Also, the AMR is highly efficient toward spoken words and is not optimal for music or soundscape recordings. 

How to play AMR Audio Files?

Paying AMR files on your device seems more difficult than playing MP3 or WAV audio files due to compatibility issues. However, hereunder are diverse ways to smoothly playback AMR files across different devices. 

  1. On Windows

The “Windows Media Player” can play AMR audio files if the necessary codec is installed. The codecs can be downloaded and installed from Microsoft or a third-party website. Search for codecs compatible with your operating system and media player.

Another primary source is the VLC media player, which accepts other audio formats. Drag and drop the AMR audio file to VLC or Windows Media Player, and it will start playing seamlessly.

  1. On Mac

For Mac users, the QuickTime media player can play AMR audio files if the compatible codec is installed. Furthermore, download and install the VLC media player from the manufacturer’s website on your Mac. Then, double-click or drag and drop the AMR file to the desired media player. 

Note: If the VLC media player cannot open the file, right-click on the audio file and navigate to the “Properties.” Click “Change” and select “QuickTime” or “Windows Media Player” from the next window. 

  1. Mobile Devices

First, open the audio file on your smartphone’s built-in media player. Alternatively, you can use third-party apps from the diversity of available mobile apps for Android and iOS users.

If you are on an Android device, go to “Play Store” and download MX Player, BS Player, or VLC for Android. If you are on an Apple device, go to the “App Store” and download “OPlayer, nPlayer, or VLC media player.”

  1. Dedicated AMR Players or Online Converters

Several “AMR Players” are free or paid online or available for download on various platforms. Look for the AMR Player that is compatible and efficiently handles playback functionalities. 

In addition to the above media players, there are versatile “online converters” that allow you to convert AMR audio files into other audio formats, such as MP3 or WAV files. Upload the audio file, select the desired format, and then download the audio. However, it has potential limitations, such as size or long uploading time. 

How to Convert AMR Files to other audio formats?

If you have AMR audio files, converting them to compatible audio formats is necessary due to their specialized nature. Converting is a straightforward process and can be done using various online converters or software applications. Here are several methods to convert the AMR audio file:

  1. Online Conversion Tools

Online conversion tools provide the best solution because these tools are quick, free, and abundant. Some popular online AMR conversion tools include ZamZar, Convertio, and Online Convert. Also, some tools allow you to select multiple audio files to save time. Hereunder is the process and follows the same:

image 456
  • Upload the AMR audio file and select the desired output format, such as MP3 or WAV.
  • Start the conversion and click to download the file to the desired location on your device. 

Free tools have limitations, like file size limits or longer processing times. Consider these when selecting a tool to ensure a smooth workflow. 

  1. Software Programs
  • Audio Converter Software

There are versatile dedicated AMR audio conversion software available for download for Windows and Mac. 

  • Media Player Conversion

Some media players with built-in AMR support, such as VLC and QuickTime, can convert audio files to other formats. Here’s the process to convert AMR files via the VLC media player:

image 457
  1. Open the VLC media player, go to “media” from the menu bar, then select “Open Capture Device.”
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  1. Go to “File” and click “Add.” Then, navigate to the desired location on your device and select the audio file you want to convert.
  2. Click “Convert/Save” and select “Convert.” Select the audio file format and location, then tap the “Save” button.
  3. Audio Editing Software
image 459

Accessing audio editing software such as Audacity or Adobe Audition is essential to converting AMR audio files smoothly. Just import the audio file, select a batch, and export them to the desired format without losing the audio quality. 

These software programs are usually free or offer a limited trial version to analyze functionality before purchasing. After the download, drag and drop the audio file and select the desired output format, such as WAV, AAC, or MP3. 

Furthermore, these programs offer more control during the conversion, allowing you to batch-convert multiple AMR files and adjust settings. This method ensures more flexibility with customization tools to edit the audio and control conversion. 

Use Cases of AMR Audio File

AMR uses digital compression for efficient speech encoding while maintaining audio clarity with a smaller file size. Therefore, numerous fields utilize AMR files for lossless audio transmission. Here are the use cases of AMR audio files due to their efficient compression:

  • AMR is primarily used in digital telephony, where file size and bandwidth are the prime concern. 
  • AMR is a popular format for voice message recordings because of its small size and faster audio transmission.
  • It’s ideal for call recordings with limited storage availability because AMR requires minimum storage for proper functioning. 
  • AMR is also used in Network Analysis and Simulation Tools to enhance signal processing.
  • With efficient compression, VoIP apps such as WhatsApp and Skype maintain good audio quality with lower bit rates. 
  • Multiple media players and media gateways use AMR audio files.
  • Many devices and apps utilize voicemail and voice memos with limited storage requirements for speech encoding. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of AMR 

  1. Advantages
  • Compatibility: AMR is widely compatible with various operating systems, software applications, and media players. This compatibility ensures that the file is seamlessly opened and played across diverse platforms.
  • Changing Bitrate: It can change the bit rate of the encoded audio file and adjust it to the available bandwidth. Therefore, it retains the quality and delivers lossless audio with precision.
  • Small File Size: The efficient compression technology intelligently reduces the file size of recordings with limited storage. The reduced size enables efficient transmission of the file over weak signals.
  • AMR files are actively adaptable to all kinds of changing environmental conditions. 
  • Speech Quality: It maintains good speech quality for voice communication, such as voice calls, memos, and VoIP apps. 
  • Due to higher frequency response and perfect speech quality, the AMR-Wideband is essential for GSM and UMTS technologies. 
  • AMR consists of eight-bit rates and requires minimal processing power for smooth functioning. 
  1. Disadvantages
  • Sometimes, AMR introduces a delay in the voice path.
  • AMR is not widely recognizable like MP3 or WAV files and requires additional codec or software.
  • It is necessary to convert AMR audio files to compatible audio formats like mp3 files to ensure smooth working.
  • ARM does not support Music Reproduction or have Digital Right Management. 


What is an AMR file used for?

An ARM is an Adaptive Multi-Rate audio codec file primarily for encoding and storing voice recordings. ARM uses a narrowband codec to compress audio files precisely and make them suitable for VoIP apps. Therefore, it efficiently optimizes speech data while maintaining quality. 

How can I play an AMR file on my computer?

Playing AMR files on your computer is a straightforward process, and hereunder are the methods:

  • VLC Media Player: VLC is an open-source media player seamlessly compatible with Windows and Mac.
  • Windows Media Player: It can play AMR audio files if a proper codec is installed.
  • QuickTime: Drag and drop the AMR audio files to the media player, which will play AMR if a proper codec is installed. 

Can I convert an AMR file to MP3, and how?

Yes, it’s possible to convert AMR files to MP3 by following the hereunder methods:

  1. Online Converter Tools
  • Many online conversion tools, such as ZamZar, Convertio, Online Convert, etc., can convert AMR files. Upload the file, start the process, and download the converted file.
  1. Software Programs
  • Programs such as Audacity and several AMR-dedicated media players convert AMR to MP3 files without losing quality. You can import the file into the software, adjust settings, and export the audio as an MP3.
  1. Media Player
  • Several media players, such as VLC and QuickTime, enable you to open and convert AMR files to MP3.

Are AMR files compatible with all smartphones?

Yes, AMR uses the ACELP speech compression algorithm to encode audio files, primarily for smartphones. Therefore, it’s compatible with phones, but here are the factors that must be considered:

  • The newer Android version has built-in support to play AMR files, and older versions require converters.
  • iOS lets you open and listen to AMR files via messaging apps. However, Apple doesn’t allow you to record in AMR format. 

What is the difference between AMR and AMR-WB?

AMR, which stands for Adaptive Multi-Rate, operates within a narrowband frequency range and uses eight-bit rates. Therefore, it adjusts the rates dynamically with changing environmental conditions to deliver lossless audio.

AMR-WB (AMR-Wideband):  This format supports a broad frequency range of 50 Hz to 7 kHz to provide a more natural sound. The nine-bit rates adapt and adjust the audio quality in different natural conditions. It’s essential where audio quality is significant. 

How does the quality of AMR compare to other audio formats?

  • AMR vs. MP3

AMR is preferred over MP3 because of its speech optimization and better quality at lower bit rates. However, MP3 provides detailed and natural sound of complex content with a broader frequency range.


AMR uses compression technology and loses the audio quality compared to uncompressed WAV audio files.

  • AMR vs. AAC

AMR prefers small file sizes for voice recordings and, during the process, loses the quality. At the same time, AAC with a similar file size provides higher quality for music and voice recordings. 

Can I edit AMR audio files?

Editing AMR audio files is possible, depending on your installed software program and specific editing needs. Software editing programs such as Audacity and Adobe Audition are used for this. 

  • Import the AMR audio files to Audacity and edit the AMR file, such as applying effects or adjusting the audio segments.
  • Use online editing software or media players like VLC to edit specific audio fragments.

Is it possible to recover lost or deleted AMR files?

Yes, recovering lost or accidentally deleted AMR files is possible only if you have added new files to the respective storage device. Here are the possible methods to recover the lost files:

  • Various software programs for Windows and Mac will scan the storage device. Preview the recovered files, select any ARM file, and click “Recover” to recover the file.
  • Download the data recovery app on your smartphone to scan the storage for lost audio files. 

Why are AMR files not playing on my media player?

Here are the possible reasons why AMR audio files are not playing on your media player:

  • Codecs: Codecs are important for compressing or decompressing AMR files. Install codecs from trusted sources to ensure smooth functioning. 
  • Media Players: The newer versions can handle AMR audio files natively, while older versions are incompatible.

What are the legal implications of using AMR files?

AMR is an open audio codec without restrictions to create your recordings with perfection without losing the quality. However, legal implications are depending on the type of content:

  • If you have a copyrighted file, sharing it is subject to copyright infringement.
  • Therefore, AMR-compressed audio files are essential to authenticate the source of recordings. 
  • Due to extensive usage and high availability, it is necessary to analyze the authenticity of forensics. 


John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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