Waveform Audio

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What Does Waveform Audio Mean?

The Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) is an audio file format. It is considered a "first-generation" format with no compression except with some manipulations in order to store the sound digitally, resulting in larger sizes compared to formats like MP3 and WMA. This standard was developed by IBM and Microsoft for storing an audio bitstream on PCs.

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The Waveform Audio File Format is also known as WAVE.

Techopedia Explains Waveform Audio

Waveform audio is an uncompressed audio format that requires no processing; it stores raw audio that does not need special encoders/decoders to use, making it a very good standard for exchange with different platforms or operating systems such as Windows, Mac and Unix. Although a waveform audio file can contain compressed audio, uncompressed audio using the linear pulse code modulation (LPCM) format is most common. Standard CD audio coding also uses the LPCM format since it is uncompressed and retains all of the samples recorded from the original audio. Because of this, many audio experts and professionals use the WAV format with LPCM to retain the audio quality. The format is an application of the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) and is also widely used in broadcasting.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.