What is WAV File Format?

WAV or Waveform Audio Format is one the oldest contender among the uncompressed audio formats. Microsoft and IBM jointly developed and released WAV in 1991. WAV files are encoded in LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) format where there is no compression and audio data is digitally stored in blocks.

The typical file size is huge, and it can be played in Windows, Apple and Linux systems without any issues.  Over the period, .WAV files have lost its share of effectiveness in the digital music industry. However, still, professionals use this audio format in the video and audio applications.

WAV lossless version

WAV does support the compressed audio format. But even the lossless compression method could not help in noticeable reduction in file size. People go for other alternatives in the lossless category such as FLAC, ALAC, etc. due to efficient compression methods. It is unlikely that you get an option to directly download .WAV audio files from the internet as it would require a blazing fast internet connection and a lot of patience.

WAV vs MP3 audio format

MP3 audio files are the lossy version of any uncompressed or lossless WAV audio file. MP3 works in typically 32 kbps to 320 kbps whereas WAV works around 44.1 kHz. If you are looking to edit audio files then WAV file would be the ideal fit. MP3 is good for music distribution at 160 kbps bit rate, which is also a near CD quality output.

A MP3 audio file occupies 90% lesser space than WAV audio file. However, there is shaving of sound data in an MP3 file. On the other hand, WAV audio file is the pure digital representation of any Analog sound recording file where there is absolutely no data loss.

It is also true that you may not be able to spot the difference between WAV and MP3 audio file if you are using a crappy sound system or even headphones.


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