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What is the .WAV File Extension?

.WAV File Extension Description:

The file extension WAV was developed by Microsoft and IBM to provide an audio file format standard for bit stream audio storage on personal computers. Files with the .wav file extension are modifications of the RIFF bit stream format, which uses the method of amassing data in "chunks". Additionally, the WAV file extension is also closely related to the IFF and AIFF format used on Amiga and Macintosh machines, respectively. In Windows, files with the .wav file extension are the main format for raw and typically uncompressed audio.

Although files with the .wav file extension can hold compressed audio, the most common WAV file extension contains audio that is uncompressed in the PCM or pulse-code modulation format, which is also the default bit stream encoder. The PCM audio is the basic audio file format for CDs, which contains two channels of 44,100 samples per second and 16 bits per sample. The audio contained within the files with the .wav file extension can be manipulated and edited with relative ease through the use of specialized software. In addition, the file extension WAV also provides support for audio compressed using the ACM or Audio Compression Manager codec.

The cleanness and plain structure of the file extension WAV makes it suitable for widespread use with a variety of software applications. In this instance, files with the .wav file extension functions as the lowest common denominator when it comes to sound file exchange between different programs.

Files with the .wav file extension are commonly used as lossless file types suitable for the retention of first generation recorded files of high quality. They can also be utilized on a system wherein high fidelity sound is necessary and there is no restriction in disk space. Despite their large sizes, radio broadcasters, particularly those that have implemented the "tapeless" system, every so often use uncompressed files with the .wav file extension.

Author: Microsoft and IBM
Author URL:,
Related Applications: Radio broadcasting, Multimedia players
Common Path: N/A


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Do you have errors with .WAV files?

The Standard Cause of .WAV files Errors:

A common and likely cause for .WAV files errors is failure in the Windows program registry - repairs are needed to protect against more corruption in other software and/or devices. Experiencing these errors places your computer in danger for fatal crashes, blue screen errors and even device failure.

What are the Symptoms of .WAV files Errors?

.WAV files errors produce a range of symptoms, such as: computer freezes on shut down or start up, programs freeze up, decreased pc speed, built-in speaker beeps, trouble accessing documents, slow system behaviour and software installation trouble.

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