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Is WAV a lossy audio format?

I am curious now because I was having a discussion with a friend. I know for a fact that FLAC and APE definately sound better than mp3s, but seems to me that wav is a lossy audio format.

As far as I can tell from Googling, Wav isn't lossless, so i'm curious as to how accurate a lossless audio file is in relation to the original source.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #1
.wav is the file extension given to PCM data.  if you rip a cd without using any compressor, this is the file format you get.  Hence, for all intents and purposes, .wav's are lossless.  Monkey's and Flac and all other compressors use them as their input.
"You can fight without ever winning, but never win without a fight."  Neil Peart  'Resist'

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #2
Wave files contain exactly the same data as that found on a CD (Raw PCM) plus of course some metadata (so that it can be saved as a file). They are therefore lossless with respect to the original CD.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #3
All wrong!

WAV is a container. You can throw almost anything inside it: MP3, ADPCM, Vorbis, GSM, AAC, Speex, Acelp.net... and PCM, of course.

Just because the most usual content of a WAV file is PCM audio, which is uncompressed, doesn't mean it's always that content. And it makes no sense labeling a container lossy, lossless or whatever.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #4
Just to confuse things, you can use a .wav extension to play a lossy file if it has an ACM wrapper around it.  So for example, if you encode a file using the FhG/Radium ACM codec, you can actually play the file using either the .mp3 or .wav extension.

In general, though, when people refer to the wav file, they are talking about the uncompressed PCM data resulting from something like a CD rip.

ff123

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #5
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All wrong!

WAV is a container. You can throw almost anything inside it: MP3, ADPCM, Vorbis, GSM, AAC, Speex, Acelp.net... and PCM, of course.

Just because the most usual content of a WAV file is PCM audio, which is uncompressed, doesn't mean it's always that content. And it makes no sense labeling a container lossy, lossless or whatever.

way to confuse the guy! I don't think he wanted/needed the complete answer 

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #6
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way to confuse the guy! I don't think he wanted/needed the complete answer  

I don't think he wanted the wrong answer either 

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #7
Hi.

If you ask me, I'd say that normally .wav files are just raw PCM files.

To make an analogy, think of .bmp files. They are 'bitmap' files, which describe pictures by painstakingly writing down the colors of every single pixel in an image. The quality of the image depends on how acurate the colors are, and how much width/height is being used to represent the image.

Consequently, .bmp files are uncompressed raw images.

I'd say .wav files are similar, because .wav files are normally 'PCM' files, which describe sound by painstakingly writing down the amplitudes of the sound at each moment in time. The quality of the sound will depend on how acurate the amplitudes are, and how often the amplitudes are sampled.

In both cases, if you do the "sampling" right, then it's really difficult to tell between the original source and the digital "copy."

So are they lossless? I can't really say. I would say they are just 'raw.'

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #8
Comparing bmp to wav is plain wrong. BMP is simply a bitmap image format, WAV is an audio container.

The only graphical format you could use to compare to WAV is TIFF.


BTW, I wouldn't say they are "RAW" either. I would say they are uncompressed.




Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #12
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WAV is a container. You can throw almost anything inside it: MP3, ADPCM, Vorbis, GSM, AAC, Speex, Acelp.net... and PCM, of course.

How is that possible? If you put a vorbis stream inside a wav container, will it need the vorbis codec to play? And what will the filesize be? Same size the file inside it? Bigger?

Also, i heard the .mp4 container will support video as well... and objects (whatever that is...). How will you know what will popup when you double click a .mp4 file?

Maybe audio... maybe video... You'll have to click it to find out?

edit: typo

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #13
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How is that possible? If you put a vorbis stream inside a wav container, will it need the vorbis codec to play? And what will the filesize be? Same size the file inside it? Bigger?

It will be equal to the size of the raw data contained within the WAV container (be it PCM, MP3, Ogg Vorbis or anything else), plus the size of the WAV header. A canonical WAV header is 44 bytes, although it may be extended to include other descriptive information.

    - M.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #14
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How is that possible? If you put a vorbis stream inside a wav container, will it need the vorbis codec to play?

Exactly. There is a vorbis ACM codec in some japanese page.

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And what will the filesize be? Same size the file inside it? Bigger?


A little bigger, due to the wav header. Very little, really.

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Also, i heard the .mp4 container will support video as well... and objects (whatever that is...).


Yes, it will support video, and objects like VRML. It will also support scriptable actions (buttons, checkboxes, links...), still images (that you can do crazy things with as well)...  Ever played with those MOV trailers that have all sorts of wacky features? MP4 has similar features, specially because MP4 was based on Apple's MOV technology.

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How will you know what will popup when you double click a .mp4 file?


You don't know, but blame Windows on that, since it doesn't check files by their contents (like Unix), it checks by their extensions.

For that reason, there's a trend going on of renaming audio-only MP4 files to M4A. This trend was started by Apple.

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Maybe audio... maybe video... You'll have to click it to find out?


On Windows, yes. Unless someone comes with an Explorer shell that allows you to see the contents on the file properties page, or when passing the mouse over the file, or something like that.

Regards;

Roberto.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #15
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I know for a fact that FLAC and APE definately sound better than mp3s

And how exactly do you know this? 

The HA predilection for finely splitting hairs is interesting sometimes.  Here's another approach:

Most people refer to shn, flac and ape as lossless because the original wav file can be completely reconstructed from any of those formats.  So you're rather confused if you think flac or ape is better than wav (in the way 99.99999% of people refer to wav).

If you are a live music collector/trader, you want wav, shn, flac or ape because
- lossy formats (such as mp3) aren't tradeable
- lossy formats become obsolete (as the sweet spot for bit rates change and the encoder technology changes)

It's not especially useful to refer to wav files as lossless or not, as they are the baseline against which the others are measured - cd audio.

However, if you wanted to really split hairs - and this would be a more interesting set of hairs to split, I'd say - cd audio is obviously a somewhat lossy encode of the original studio masters.  It's just we have all accepted that.  But that's not really a view that comes up in practice.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #16
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Unless someone comes with an Explorer shell that allows you to see the contents on the file properties page, or when passing the mouse over the file, or something like that.

i think this could be another possibility for new buffer overflow exploits on windows

-andy-

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #17
Thank-you for the insightful comment. >_<

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #18
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On Windows, yes. Unless someone comes with an Explorer shell that allows you to see the contents on the file properties page, or when passing the mouse over the file, or something like that.


I used to have one that if you passed the curosr over a mp3 file it gave all the info, such as bitrate, filesize, filename, tag info. have to think of what it was. it DID become a pain since the box was rather large when looking through a collection, and if renaming it hid the area. so i deleted it.
here it is
http://www.mutschler.de/mp3ext/

"MP3Ext is an extension for the Windows Explorer.
It enhances it, so you can get information in many ways:

A PropertyPage is installed, where you can fully edit the ID3-Tag
An icon-handler for individual icons is included too
Tooltips, when you simply leave the mouse over the MP3-file (only with IE4.0 Active Desktop)"


the icons were intersting since it would display different icons according to the bitrate per mp3. so by glancing through the folder one could tell the 160Kbps from the 192kbps, just by the icon it was assinged.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #19
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Quote
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On Windows, yes. Unless someone comes with an Explorer shell that allows you to see the contents on the file properties page, or when passing the mouse over the file, or something like that.


I used to have one that if you passed the curosr over a mp3 file it gave all the info, such as bitrate, filesize, filename, tag info. have to think of what it was. it DID become a pain since the box was rather large when looking through a collection, and if renaming it hid the area. so i deleted it.
here it is
http://www.mutschler.de/mp3ext/

"MP3Ext is an extension for the Windows Explorer.
It enhances it, so you can get information in many ways:

A PropertyPage is installed, where you can fully edit the ID3-Tag
An icon-handler for individual icons is included too
Tooltips, when you simply leave the mouse over the MP3-file (only with IE4.0 Active Desktop)"


the icons were intersting since it would display different icons according to the bitrate per mp3. so by glancing through the folder one could tell the 160Kbps from the 192kbps, just by the icon it was assinged.

Yeah, I use this as well.  I just don't install the mouseover info box part.  All I use is the icons that display the different bitrates which is grand for organizing my mp3s.
WARNING:  Changing of advanced parameters might degrade sound quality.  Modify them only if you are expirienced in audio compression!

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #20
It's a good job Roberto isn't a huge fan of Vorbis, if this is anything to go by, I expect he would hunt down and kill anybody who referred to it as ogg..
< w o g o n e . c o m / l o l >

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #21
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I used to have one that if you passed the curosr over a mp3 file it gave all the info, such as bitrate, filesize, filename, tag info. have to think of what it was.

dBpowerAMP will do that too, for any audio file type it's registered with.  I've done it with Ogg, MPC, MP3, WAV and FLAC so far.  In addition to all the file and tag info, it also tells you the tag type(s) as well, which is kind of handy.

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #22
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dBpowerAMP will do that too, for any audio file type it's registered with.  I've done it with Ogg, MPC, MP3, WAV and FLAC so far.  In addition to all the file and tag info, it also tells you the tag type(s) as well, which is kind of handy.

I had used dBpowerAmp in the past.  but i stopped when it was not as up to date with oggenc as i would have liked it to have been. (3 years or so ago).

but it doesnt offer the sorted icons that mp3 ext does. which is a nice visual. or has that changed?

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #23
>but it doesnt offer the sorted icons that mp3 ext does. which is a nice visual. or has that changed?

It does not do icons for bitrates, but there is nothing to stop you using both programs together (obviously only one would supply the popup, which ever was installed last).

Is WAV a lossy audio format?

Reply #24
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It's a good job Roberto isn't a huge fan of Vorbis, if this is anything to go by, I expect he would hunt down and kill anybody who referred to it as ogg..

Actually, Monty himself wants people to say only Ogg instead of vorbis. If you search, you can find a very funny post where he explains why he wants people to only call his codecs "Ogg".

I personally don't use Ogg for everything that comes from Xiph, for the obvious reason that Ogg is not an audio codec, so it might end up leading to confusion. To each it's own name...

 
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