Audio File Formats

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The most used file formats are

MP3: MP3 is a popular format for music due to good compression and good audio quality. Files have an .mp3 file extension and usually play in most browsers. The MIME type is audio/mpeg.

WAVE: It was developed by IBM and Microsoft, and is supported by most web browsers. Files have the .wav file extension. It does not use compression, so its quality is better than MP3 but for which good-quality speakers are needed. Due to uncompressed format its file sizes is very large. Its MIME type is audio/x-wav.

MID It stores a score in music which tells about how to play a piece of music, and not the audio. It specifies different parts to be played on different instruments. It is used to play music but now mp3 is more widely used.

Other audio formats popular on internet but needing their own plug-ins are

  • Windows Media Audio – It requires the Windows Media plug-in
  • QuickTime – It requires the QuickTime plug-in
  • Real Audio – It requires the Real Media plug-in

MP3 format is preferred as it compresses to relatively small file sizes while retaining a good sound quality thus widely supported.

But for high quality audio WAVE format is used and for Digital Rights Management (DRM) Windows Media Audio or Real Audio format is used

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