file audio

You know about MP3, but what about AAC, FLAC, OGG, or WMA? Why are there so many audio file formats and are there any best audio formats?

Audio files are available in all types and sizes. And while we're all probably familiar with MP3, what about AAC, FLAC, OGG, or WMA? Why are there so many audio standards? Is there a best audio format? Which ones are important, and which ones can you ignore?

This is quite simple once you realize that all audio formats fall into three main categories. Once you know what a category means, you can choose the format within the category that best suits your needs.

Uncompressed Audio Format

Uncompressed audio consists of real sound waves that have been captured and converted to a digital format without further processing. As a result, uncompressed audio files tend to be the most accurate but take up A LOT of disk space—about 34MB per minute for 24-bit 96KHz stereo.

Format File Audio: PCM

PCM stands for Pulse-Code Modulation, a digital representation of a raw analog audio signal. Analog sound exists as a waveform. To convert a waveform into digital bits, sound must be sampled and recorded at specified intervals (or pulses).

This digital audio format has a “sampling rate” (how often samples are made) and a “bit depth” (how many bits are used to represent each sample). There is no compression involved. Digital recording is a nearly exact representation of analog sound.

PCM is the most common audio format used in CDs and DVDs. There is a subtype of PCM called Linear Pulse Code Modulation, where samples are taken at linear intervals. LPCM is the most common form of PCM, which is why the two terms are almost interchangeable at this point.

Format File Audio: WAV

WAV stands for Waveform Audio File Format (also called Audio for Windows at some point but not anymore). It is a standard developed by Microsoft and IBM in 1991.

Many people assume that all WAV files are uncompressed audio files, but that is not entirely true. WAV is a Windows container for different audio formats. This means that a WAV file can potentially contain compressed audio, but is rarely used for it.

Most WAV files contain uncompressed audio in the PCM format. WAV files are just wrappers for PCM encoding, so they are more suitable for use on Windows systems. However, Mac systems can usually open WAV files without any problems.

Format File Audio: AIFF

AIFF stands for Audio Interchange File Format. Similar to how Microsoft and IBM developed WAV for Windows, AIFF is an audio file format developed by Apple for Mac systems in 1988.

Also similar to WAV files, AIFF files can contain many different types of audio formats. For example, there is a compressed version called AIFF-C and another version called Apple Loops which is used by GarageBand and Logic Audio. Both use the same AIFF extension.

Most AIFF files contain uncompressed audio in the PCM format. AIFF files are just wrappers for PCM encoding, so they are more suitable for use on Mac systems. However, Windows systems can usually open AIFF files without any problems.

Format File Audio: MP3

MP3 stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. It was released back in 1993 and exploded in popularity, eventually becoming the world's most popular audio format for music files. There's a reason why we have “MP3 Player” but not “OGG Player”!

Now to get mp3 of the songs that we like no longer need to install software on the computer. All we need is a browser and the Fakaza website and the title of the song we want to download. Then just click and download it.

MP3's main purpose is threefold:

  • To drop all sound data that is beyond the hearing range of a normal person.
  • To reduce sound quality that is not easy to hear.
  • To compress all other audio data as efficiently as possible.

Almost every digital device in the world with audio playback can read and play MP3 files, be it PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, Smart TV, or whatever. When you need universal, MP3 will never let you down, which is why MP3 is one of the most popular audio file formats in the world.