Basic information about audio files and how to convert audio files

About audio files

An audio file format is a container format for storing audio data on a computer system. There are many formats of audio and codecs, but they can be divided in three basic groups: uncompressed audio file formats, lossless compression audio formats and lossy compression audio file formats.

The most used and known uncompressed audio file format is PCM, which is usually stored as a WAV on Windows or as AIFF on Mac.  WAV and AIFF are a flexible file formats designed to store more or less any combination of sampling rates or bitrates. This makes them suitable file formats for storing and archiving the original recording. CD-quality sound files in uncompressed PCM format are large in size - around 10 MB per minute.

A lossless compressed format would require more processing for the same time recorded, but would be more efficient in terms of disk space used. Representative of lossless compressed format is FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec). FLAC is an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that the audio information is compressed in FLAC file without any loss in its audio quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except that with FLAC, you will get much better compression rate, because it is designed specifically for audio files.

Lossy compression audio file formats are the most used audio formats in today's computers and other multimedia equipment. The best known of compressed audio formats is MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3). MP3 file format, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression. It is a common audio format for consumer audio storage, as well as a de facto standard of digital audio compression for the transfer and playback of music on digital audio players.

You can check all Audio file formats sorted by name in our Audio file type category, that you can access from the main page on the left category bar.

How to convert audio files

Audio files are commonly converted between various formats with the use of special applications designed to perform this task called audio converters.
Simply check our database for the audio file extension you are looking for and in the table below its description you will see a table with software, sorted by platform and actions, that is able to perform a specific action with the audio files, such as open, edit, play etc..

Under the convert tab you can check for any convertors in our database that can convert audio files to another audio format.

Example of audio software table of recommended applications, sorted by platforms and by actions they are able to perform.

You can also click on each software to open its own web entry on our website, that often contains additional useful information about it, such as developer, website, reviews or other useful articles.

Online convertors

Alternatively you can also always try to use some specialized converting web service, such as ZAMZAR, to convert your audio files.

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