WAV (WAVE Audio)

The WAV Audio file format

WAV (WAVE) files were created by IMB and Microsoft. They contain sounds such as effects, music, and voice recordings. Multimedia playback programs (Windows Media Player, QuickTime, etc) are capable of opening and playing WAV files. The files are larger than MP3 files, therefore they are not as popular as their smaller, more portable counterparts. What differntiates WAV from MP3 and MP4 files is the lossless compression. Those larger files are of a higher quality, and the reason for their less frequent usage is due to the file size. Sending and downloading of the files takes much more time and space.

Technical details of WAV files

WAV files are an application of the Resource Interchange File Format method for storing data. Data is stored in chunks which contain a four character tag and the number of bytes in the chunk. This allows the format to be extended with ease lateron. The Mac equivalent is the AIFF format. WAV files can take 8 to 16-bit samples at rates between 11,025 Hz to 44,100 HZ. 16-bit at 44,100 Hz is the highest quality possible, and this is also the sampling rate of CD’s, using 88 KB/second of storage. Bitstream encoding usually utilizes the linear pulse-code modulation (LPCM) format. The system sounds on Windows (startup, clicking, errors, shutdown, etc) are uncompressed WAV files.

More information about the WAV file format

File extension .wav
File category Audio
Example file Download example.wav file (6.1 MiB)
Download example_small.wav file (1.5 MiB)
Associated programs CyberLink PowerDirector
Microsoft Windows Media Player
Roxio Creator 2009
VideoLAN VLC Media Player
Useful links More information on WAV
File conversion Convert a file to WAV
Developer Microsoft & IBM