What is the WAV Format?

The WAV format is one of the oldest audio formats. IBM and Microsoft created it jointly in 1991 to use it in Windows 3.1. Some people can remember their PC making 'chimes' and not just beeps, and that was the courtesy of the WAV files.

Apple also has its version of WAV format known as AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format), released in 1988 for Macs.

The WAV format's main advantages are the high-quality provided by WAV/PCM codecs and its simplicity.

Read More: what does WAV stand for? >>

High-Quality of WAV/PCM Audio

The WAV format supports several lossless PCM codecs, allowing the encoded audio to be a close replica of the source audio. PCM codecs reproduce the source audio accurately, without losing audio quality due to the codec itself.

The WAV format allows storing the audio with the Sample Rates up to 4GHz. However, most applications support the Sample Rates up to 192 kHz only, which is more than enough for the real audio, anyway.

The number of channels supported by the WAV format is limited by 32768, which is also quite enough, keeping in mind that most WAV applications use Mono, Stereo, or 5:1 audio.

WAV files with PCM audio provide unbeatable audio quality. That is one of the reasons why many sound engineers choose the WAV format.

For the same reason, most distribution agencies, such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, all require WAV files. Then they convert these WAV files to other formats more suitable for the streaming, such as MP4/AAC or MP3.

That is also why WAV files are ideal for keeping the master recordings in archives, where the storage space is not an issue.

Read More: how to set up the WAV Sample Rate. >>
Read More: how to set up the WAV Channels. >>

The simplicity of WAV/PCM audio

The processing of WAV/PCM audio does not require any complicated encoding or decoding. That means that use WAV/PCM audio does not cause delays while encoding or decoding the audio.

That is the reason why Sound Engineers use the WAV/PCM audio while processing it, i.e., editing, applying effects, and mixing.

The WAV/PCM's simplicity is why Software Engineers often choose it when embedding the audio into their applications.

Support of Lossy Codecs

WAV files usually contain uncompressed PCM audio data. However, the WAV format still supports lossy audio codecs.

Read More: what does WAV stand for? >>
Read More: How to setup output WAV codec. >>
Read More: Input Formats - list of supported WAV Codecs. >>