|Developer||Microsoft & IBM|
3.8 | 452 Votes
What is a WAV file?
A WAV file is an audio file saved in the Waveform Audio (WAVE) format. It contains a song, interview, voice memo, or other piece of digital audio. Because WAV files are quite common, you can play them with most media players, including those bundled with Windows, macOS, and other operating systems.
Microsoft and IBM developed the WAVE format in the early 1990s. It is based on the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF), which is a container format that can be used to store both video and audio. WAV files, however, contain only audio.
The audio a WAV file contains may be compressed or uncompressed, depending on how the file was created. Audio professionals, such as music and radio producers, often save and share high-quality recordings as uncompressed WAV files. Because these files are uncompressed, their file sizes can be quite large. For this reason, most WAV files shared via the internet are compressed, reducing both their file size and audio quality.
The WAVE format supports several types of compression, and it also supports a variety of sampling rates and bitrates. However, WAVE audio is most often saved in a 44.1 kHz, 16-bit stereo format, which is the standard format used for CD audio.
How to open a WAV file
You can open a WAV file with any of the following media players, to play the audio it contains:
How to convert a WAV file
For example, Audacity can convert WAV files to the following audio formats:
Programs that open WAV files
2.6 | 49 Votes
A WAV file may also be an audio file saved in the Digital Theater Systems (DTS) format, which is commonly used to author stereo music and surround sound music CDs. It contains lossy audio data for multiple channels and can only be played by programs that support DTS-WAV encoding. Audio data in the DTS format may also be saved as a .DTS file.
DTS was formed in 1990 as a company specializing in multichannel audio technologies for film and video delivered in surround sound settings, such as movie theaters and home theaters. The DTS format is most prominently utilized to store audio on CDs, DVDs, and laser discs.
NOTE: Most audio files with the .wav file extension are saved in the WAVE format, a standard digital audio file format utilized for storing waveform data.