The Use of WAV Files as Sound Effects

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  2. January 6, 2013 1:03 am

The Use of WAV Files as Sound Effects

The WAV Sound Effects Format

Sound effects, most movies, videos, music recordings and audio files of different sounds may have the same format. The .WAV (Waveform Audio File Format) is a digital format that stores and replays audio sounds. In light of sound effects, the .WAV format is very popular because of its digitally-clean sound. Therefore, it has a good reputation for excellent quality, which is preferred among sound librarians and engineers. Sounds such as background effects may be stored as .WAV. However, there are listeners who prefer the analog format because it is said to be warm, compared to digital sound.

The .WAV is a Microsoft and IBM (International Business Machines) format, which was introduced in 1991. Microsoft used this format as the start-up sound for the Windows 3.1 operating system. It has grown in popularity because of its versatile nature and ability to easily manipulate sound.

The .WAV format is from the RIFF (Resource Interchange File Format), an offspring of the IFF (Interchange File Format). The IFF format was introduced in 1985 as a digital gaming sound source. The only drawback has been that .WAV files can be large. In earlier times, it took a lot of space to save the sound effects tracks. .WAV is called a lossless audio format because it doesn’t give up any quality, which accounts for the large file size.

Because of the smaller size, another sound format, .MP3, otherwise known as MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) became popular. However, .MP3 is a lossy format in that it does compromise sound quality for its size. Today, the motion picture industry, music recording studios and sound effects studios still use the .WAV format for clean digital reproductions. It is used to produce masters of recordings because of its quality and ability to ignore degradation.

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