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Audio file formats


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Audio file formats

Finally, let's take a look at some of the different audio file formats that you'll be dealing with when you start to work with digital audio. Now there are a lot of different formats out there, but it's good to think of them in two main categories. There is the Uncompressed Formats, and there is the Compressed Formats. Compressed Formats use data compression to make file sizes actually smaller. We'll actually about file compression in another chapter. The Uncompressed Formats are the ones you'll most likely be using when you're working with digital audio, in terms of having editing software, recording to a format.

You'll be working with the WAV file format, the AIFF for Audio Interchange File Format, and the Sound Designer 2 format. Now compressed formats are those that actually use data compression in order to make smaller files. These formats are usually used more for delivery than for the actual audio production process. When you're doing your edits, you'll be working with uncompressed formats. When you're sending your sound file over the Internet, or putting it on an iPod, you'll be dealing with a compressed format. So they're really something that comes into play after the fact for the most part.

Down at the bottom here, I just have a quick comparison for file sizes for a three minute stereo song. You can see a WAV file with a sample rate of 44.1, and the bit depth of 16 Bit, which is CD quality sound. That song is approximately 30 Megabytes. Now an MP3 version of that same song at 128 kilobits, which is considered good quality, comes in a just under 3 Megabytes. So there is a significant difference in the file size between the uncompressed and the compressed formats. Now of course, you have lots of options in terms of kind of changing the factors that go into determining how compressed the file is.

But the point is there is the ability to have a significantly smaller file. So hopefully, this will give you an idea of some of the different files, you'll be encountering when you're working with digital audio. In the next chapter, we'll look at the digital audio workstation.

Audio file formats
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Audio file formats provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Dave Schroeder as part of the Digital Audio Principles

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Audio + Music
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