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An audio codec is a digital electronic device or computer-based software application that aids in the compression and decompression of a digital audio data stream. A software-based audio codec essentially consists of an implemented algorithm that codes and decodes an audio stream. A hardware-based audio codec is primarily for analog audio data to be encoded or decoded.
An audio codec is also known as a sound codec.
An audio codec is used for the compression or decompression of digital audio data from a live stream media (such as radio) or an already stored data file. The purpose of using an audio codec is to effectively reduce the size of an audio file without affecting the quality of the sound. This helps in storing the high-quality audio signal using the minimum amount of space. The quality is restored by decoding the compressed file with the same codec before playback. The process not only reduces storage space but also decreases the bandwidth requirement for transmission of an audio signal.