WAV Files: The Basics
Just what is a WAV file? First, the full name is Waveform Audio File Format, but most people just use WAV or WAVE for short. Very simply, WAV files are used to store audio recordings of any type. They are uncompressed, and thus tend to be larger in size than other types of audio file. They are based on the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) which shares roots with Audio Interchange Format (AIFF) commonly used with Macintosh computers.
The WAV format is very common, and used across almost all computer types, including Microsoft, IBM, Linux, and other operation systems. Since WAV files do not use compression, they store audio beautifully, and thus have industry applications for high-quality sound effects, music editing, video games, and others. In fact, if you’re using a Microsoft operation system like Windows, most of the sounds you hear that come from your computer are WAV files!
WAV was introduced in 1993 by Microsoft for their Windows operation system. Since then, WAV files have grown in popularity due to their ease of editing with freely available software and common format. Since WAV is so ubiquitous, and shares common roots with other audio formats used by Macintosh and other computers, it’s a popular format for users to work with. Since someone can work on a WAV file on their computer at home, say a PC, and then send it to a friend who uses a Macintosh, both are able to work on the same file despite having different types of computers.
Now you know more about WAV files! From professional Hollywood sound effects to your favorite and familiar start up sounds for your home computer, WAV files have been with us for over a decade now. Due to their excellent quality and ease of use, they’re here to stay for a long time.