[Home]Audio file format

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A file format for storing audio data on a computer system. There are many file formats for storing audio files.

It's important to distinguish file format and codec, even though most audio file formats support only one [audio codec]?.

Today, one of the most popular audio format/codecs is MP3, which provides acceptable lossy compression for music files.

There are many newer audio formats and codecs, like OGG/Vorbis and WMA which claim to achieve improved compression and quality vs. MP3. While some improvements are unquestionable, format/codec advocates often exaggerate them.

Lossless compression of sound is not nearly as widely used outside of professional applications, as lossy compression can provide a much greater compression ratio, with nearly the same apparent quality.

There are many uncompressed data formats, most popular of them being WAV?, which is a flexible file format designed to store multiple types of audio data. A similar approach can be found in the AIFF? format.

See also: audio compression, audio codecs

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Last edited October 22, 2001 8:35 pm by Clasqm (diff)