Learning Resources

Audio File Formats

Various sound or audio formats are

Format File Description
MIDI .mid
The MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a format for electronic music devices like synthesizers and PC sound cards. MIDI files do not contain sound, but digital musical instructions (notes) that can be played by electronics (like your PC's sound card).Since MIDI format only contains instructions (notes), MIDI files are extremely small. The example above is only 23K in size but it plays for nearly 5 minutes. MIDI is supported by many software systems over a large range of platforms. MIDI is supported by all the most popular Internet browsers.
RealAudio .rm
The RealAudio format was developed for the Internet by Real Media. The format also supports video. The format allows streaming of audio (on-line music, Internet radio) with low bandwidths. Because of the low bandwidth priority, quality is often reduced.
Wave .wav The Wave (waveform) format is developed by IBM and Microsoft. It is supported by all computers running Windows, and by all the most popular web browsers (except Google Chrome).
WMA .wma The WMA format (Windows Media Audio), compares in quality to MP3, and is compatible with most players, except the iPod. WMA files can be delivered as a continuous flow of data, which makes it practical for use in Internet radio or on-line music.
MP3 .mp3
MP3 files are actually the sound part of MPEG files. The MPEG format was originally developed for video by the Moving Pictures Experts Group. MP3 is one of the most popular sound formats for music. The encoding system combines good compression (small files) with high quality. Expect future software systems to support it.