Most WAV files contain uncompressed audio in PCM format. The WAV file is just a wrapper for PCM encoding, which makes it more suitable for use on Windows systems. However, Mac systems can usually open WAV files easily. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. A bit on the nose, perhaps, but it has quickly become one of the most popular lossless formats since its introduction in 2001. PCM stands for Pulse-Code Modulation, a digital representation of analog audio signals. Analog sounds exist as waveforms. To convert a waveform into digital bits, the sound must be sampled and recorded at certain intervals (or pulses). WMA stands for Windows Media Audio. We`ve covered this in the lossy compression section above, but we mention it here as there is a lossless alternative called WMA Lossless that uses the same extension.
Confusing, I know. For those who want the highest quality music playback, keep in mind that high-quality audio files don`t matter if your playback device can`t faithfully recreate those sounds. The biggest problem with WMA Lossless is the limited hardware support. If you want to play lossless compressed audio on multiple devices and platforms, you should stick to FLAC. It`s pretty simple when you find that all audio formats fall into three main categories. Once you know what categories mean, you can simply choose a format in the category that best suits your needs. 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 in 1988 for Mac systems. AAC stands for Advanced Audio Coding. It was developed in 1997 as the successor to MP3, and although it established itself as a popular audio format, it never really surpassed MP3 as the most popular.
PCM is the most commonly used audio format 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. Many people assume that all WAV files are uncompressed audio files, but this is not entirely correct. WAV is a Windows container for different audio formats. This means that a WAV file can potentially contain compressed audio, but it is rarely used for this. Similar to WAV files, AIFF files can contain several types of audio formats. For example, there is a compressed version called AIFF-C and another version called Apple Loops used by GarageBand and Logic Audio. Both use the same AIFF extension. Uncompressed audio consists of actual sound waves captured without further processing and converted to digital format.
As a result, uncompressed audio files are usually the most accurate, but take up a lot of storage space – about 34 MB per minute for a 24-bit stereo at 96 kHz. Are you looking for a music player that supports high-resolution audio? Here are the best high-resolution music player apps for Windows. In other words, lossy compression means that sound quality and audio fidelity are sacrificed for smaller files. If it`s done wrong, you`ll hear artifacts and other quirks in the audio. But if it`s done right, you won`t be able to hear the difference. The good thing is that FLAC can compress an original source file up to 60% without losing a single bit of data. Even nicer is that FLAC is an open source and royalty-free audio file format, so it doesn`t impose any restrictions on intellectual property. First released in 2000, Vorbis has enjoyed growing popularity for two reasons: it follows the principles of open source software and is significantly better than most other lossy compression formats (meaning it produces a smaller file size for equivalent audio quality). The downside is that lossless compressed audio files are larger than lossy compressed audio files – up to 2x to 5x larger for the same source file. Although MP3 is more of a home format, AAC is still widely used today. In fact, it is the default audio compression method used by YouTube, Android, iOS, iTunes, later Nintendo Portables and later PlayStations. OGG means nothing.
In fact, it`s not even a compression format. Instead, OGG is a multimedia container that can hold all kinds of compression formats, but is most commonly used for Vorbis files – hence these audio files are called Ogg Vorbis files. Compared to lossy compression, there is lossless compression, a method that reduces the size of an audio file without data loss between the source audio file and the compressed audio file. Compared to FLAC and ALAC, WMA Lossless is the worst in terms of compression efficiency – but not much. It`s a proprietary format, so it`s not good for fans of open source software, but it`s natively supported on both Windows and Mac systems. .