back Audio file formats

There are two different types of audio file formats – uncompressed formats which are larger file sizes and better sound quality, and compressed formats which are smaller files and less sound quality.

Uncompressed formats

Typically used by video and audio editing software to produce the best CD and DVD quality sound.

WAV (.wav) Waveform Audio Format is the standard uncompressed file format for Windows PC computers used for storing CD-quality sound files, which means that they can be large in size — around 10 MB per minute.

 AIFF (.aif) Audio Interchange File Format is the standard uncompressed file format for Apple computers.  It is the equivalent to the wav file format for Macs.

Compressed formats
For smaller files for use on the internet,  iPods, mp3 players etc

MP3 (.mp3) MPEG Layer-3 format is the most popular format for downloading and storing music. Mp3 files are compressed to roughly one-tenth the size of an equivalent WAV file while maintaining good audio quality.

AAC (.aac) Advanced Audio Coding format is based on the MPEG2 and MPEG4 standards. AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at many bit rates.

WMA (.wma) Windows Media Audio is the standard file format developed by Microsoft for use by Windows Media applications.

Comparing file size

Comparing the file size of a 3 minute stereo song:

3 minute WAV file at 44.1 kHz, 16 bit (CD quality) = 30.3.MB
3 minute MP3 file at 128 kbps (“good” quality) = 2.8 MB

As you can see the uncompressed format WAV file is approximately 10 times LARGER than the compressed format MP3 file.

Converting file formats

There is free software available to convert audio file formats. If you have an internet connection google 'free audio converter'.

links Audio file converter