What is a wav file and What’s inside a wav file

What is a wav file

It is an Audio file format designed for audio storage in computer files and uses a filename extension as .wav there are different sound file format available such as AIFF(Audio Interchange FILE Format) which is mostly used in macOS platform it is similar to RIFF(Resource Interchange FileFormat)

The one key difference between RIFF WAV and AIFF is RIFF is little-endian and AIFF is big-endian

Wave format is introduced by Microsoft while AIFF is introduced by Apple

To view the structure of a Wave file format

Click here —>

The basic concept of sound storage in computer files

A sound file provides a platform for the computer’s to manipulate audio

It also provides a device-independent way to store audio and input/output a sound generating program without worrying about complex issues like ADC/DAC

There are different type encoding is there, some sound file use compressed data while others use uncompressed data but PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) is the most common one

What’s inside a wav file

A wave file format is based on the RIFF file format and the RIFF wave sound files are chunked file format which is mostly used in window’s operating system

It is built for intel processor’s and the data is stored in little-endian byte order

Chunks are a cluster of data and each chunk have a different type of information

Each chunk have mini header contain an ID

The wav file contains three main chunk’s

  • RIFF chunk
  • Format sub-chunk
  • Data sub-chunk

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RIFF Chunk: contain’s information related to Chunk ID, Chunk data size and RIFF TYPE ID

Format sub-Chunk: contain’s information related to Chunk 1 ID, Chunk1 data size, format tag, number of channels, sample rate, Block Align and Bits per Sample

Data sub-Chunk: contain information related to Chunk2 ID, Chunk2 data size, and Sample data

Sample rate: number of samples per second

A sound file will have sample rate according to the audio data is sampled

standard sample rates are 22,050, 44100,48,000,96,000, 192,000 hertz

The use of higher sampling usually above 44,100HZ require more storage space

Audio channels

The sound file also have data related to how many channels present in an audio file

Suppose if we have an audio file, which has two channels,  channel  1 (left)  and  channel  2 (right) then Multiple channels can exist  in an audio file in an interleaved fashion

For a two-channel audio file, the data contain continuous sample frames 1 2 3 4 ……… n  where Each sample frame contain  samples  for channel 1(left) and channel 2(right)


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Mohammed Anees

Hey there, welcome to aneescraftsmanship I am Mohammed Anees an independent developer/blogger. I like to share and discuss the craft with others plus the things which I have learned because I believe that through discussion and sharing a new world opens up

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