What is audio file format or how a music file is stored in audio format? The audio file format provides container to store audio data on device, the device can be computer, music player etc. The audio data can be stored in device in compressed or uncompressed format. The decompressed format is used to reduce the file size on device. One would like to have more and more music files on music players by compressing their file size.
Types of Audio Formats
The current format for music audio files includes wide variety of formats with advantages and disadvantages. The current list of audio file formats are categorized into three major groups
list of "Uncompressed audio formats"
1. WAV 2. AIFF 3. AU
List of "lossless compression format"
2. FLAC 2. APE 3. WV 4. TAK 5. TTA 6. WMA
List of "lossy compression format"
3. MP3 2. Vorbis 3. Musepack 4. WMA 5. AAC
1. Uncompressed Audio Formats
The well known uncompressed audio format (PCM) is stored as WAV on Windows system and AIFF format on MAC operating system. The PCM stands for "Pulse-code modulation", which is a digital representation of an analog signal. The PCM has been used in digital phone systems and in computer as digital audio format. Because of its digital sampling WAV format is very flexible and can store recording in original format.
2. Lossless Audio Formats
Many Music audio formats compress the audio data so that more and more songs can fit on device. The audio compression comes in two forms, one is "lossless compression" and other is "lossy compression".
The lossless audio format retains every bit of information of original recording and nothing is lost. Since no data is lost during conversion that is why "lossless audio format" can not make converted or compressed file as small as file compressed during "lossy compression" method.
3. Lossy Audio Format
Under lossy compression method some of the audio information is lost as compared to the original, this makes converted file much smaller. The information which is lost during "lossy compression" is not very important and is least important to the file. One of the format which uses this method of compressions MP3 file format.
Audio File Formats
* MP3: The most popular music format is MPEG Layer-3 format. This is popular for downloading and storing music. Because of Lossy compression the download file is much smaller then the original.
* WMA: - The Windows Media audio format is popular with windows system, it was designed by Microsoft.
* WAV: To open files with these formats you need ATRAC3 drivers.
* RA: This format is "Real Audio format" and is used to stream audio over the internet.
* RAM: This is used to store a link to the internet address where actual audio file is stored.
* DSS: Digital Speech Standard files.
* MSV: - Memory Stick compressed voice files.
* DVF: This file is commonly used by Sony dictation recorders.
* MP4: Apple uses this format for downloading music from their iTunes store with digital right management.
* iKlax - Multi-track digital audio format, allows mixing and volumes arrangements.
* GSM: This file format was designed for telephone use.
* DCT: This audio format is used for dictation, it's header portion can be encrypted.
* VOX: This audio format uses the "Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation".
* AAC: This audio format is based on MPEG2 and MPEG4 standards.