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WAV File

WAVE or WAV, short for Waveform Audio File Format, is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing an audio bitstream on PCs.

A waveform audio file, also known as a wave file, or simply .wav after its extension, is a common type of sound file. Microsoft and IBM introduced the wav file in 1991 for use on the Microsoft Windows 3.1 operation system (OS). Long before digital audio became a staple, computer users were exposed to the wav file as an embedded sound file that played a chime-like sound at boot up of the Windows operating system.

The wav file had two very big things going for it when introduced. Firstly, it could digitize sounds 100% faithful to the original source because it is a lossless format. “Lossless” means that the wav file format does not compromise audio quality even when it holds compressed data. Secondly, the wav file is very easy to edit and manipulate with software. Luckily for audiophiles, free wav file editing software has been available nearly as long as wav files themselves.

While the wav file format was ideal for sound effects, it had a drawback when it came to music files. One four-minute song could easily consume over 35 megabytes (MB) of space when saved as a wav file. Though the cost of hard drives dropped over the years, the wav file format was still too large for portable players with limited flash memory, which would become ubiquitous by the new millennium. Additionally, wav files were not the most practical format to transfer online, especially over slow dial-up connections.

Today the wav file format is still widely used to archive music files in a lossless format where space is not an issue. Some CD and DVD players can also read wav files copied directly to a compact disk. More often, software that burns the files to CD will convert them in the process to the Compact Disk Audio (.cda) format, making the audio CD compatible with all players.

If you want to convert your WAV files to MP3, Windows Media Player is a good program to help you finish it. The following instructions will guide you through all these steps.

Step 1

To import your CD as a WAV, launch Windows Media Player (WMP), click Tools, then select Options. Click the Rip toolbar and select WAV as your rip format setting. Once you insert your CD, simply rip your files to WMP.

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Step 2

Now, with that album ripped, start up the Switch program and get, well, a blank window:

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Click on Add Folder and you can select the newly ripped CD by looking in My Documents\My Music:

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Step 3

The last step, one that's not obvious when you first start working with Switch, is to pick the output format of your choice, as shown here:

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You can see the program supports a wide range of options. Choose .mp3.

With the audio input files selected, the output format selected, and the destination disk specified, all that's left to do is select all the files to convert and click on the " Convert button on the top right. You'll get a progress window like this:

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When it indicates that the conversion is complete, and you now have MP3 audio files from your WMA format files.

WAV files are typically uncompressed files and are considered to be one of the purest sound formats, giving listeners a higher sound quality than the popular MP3 and WMV formats. Follow a few steps to learn how to capture, convert and record WAV files.

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Instructions

Setting Up and Audio Capture

Step 1

Download and install a free or trial copy of GoldWave from the company's official site. Once installed, click on the volume control icon located in task bar at the bottom right of your screen.

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Step 2

Fill in the bubble labeled Recording under the Adjust Volume for heading. In the menu that appears, fill the bubble labeled Select under the heading Stereo Mix.

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Step 3

Capture audio in WAV form by creating a blank template in GoldWave. Click on the icon labeled New in the upper left of the screen. From this menu set the channel, song length and the sampling.

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Step 4

Press play on the audio that you wish to record and press record in GoldWave. Click the File menu located in the upper left of GoldWave and choose the option labeled Save As. Name your file and click the Save button. WAV format is the default format GoldWave saves files as.

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Convert Files

Step 1

Open GoldWave. Click on the icon labeled Open in the upper left of the program. Use the explorer to find the file that you wish to convert, then click Open.

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Step 2

Choose Wave (.wav)* and click on the Save button.

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Step 3

Allow a few seconds for the conversion to take. This process should not take more than a minute. After it is done processing you will have a WAV copy of the original file located in that file's folder.

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Record Files

Step 1

Click on the Volume Control icon located in your task bar. Click on File, then open the Recording Controls menu.

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Step 2

Click on the the box labeled "Select." Choose the box located under the "Recording" heading.

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Step 3

Click the icon labeled New in the upper left of GoldWave. In the menu that appears, set your parameters for the recording and click OK.

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Step 4

Click the red recording button in GoldWave. When you are done recording, go back to the File menu and select the option Save As. In the menu that appears, name your recording and click OK. Your file will be saved as a WAV by default.

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Short for Waveform Audio File Format, WAV is a widely used audio file type originally developed for use on PCs. Now compatible with Macintosh and Linux operating systems as well, WAV most commonly stores audio data in an uncompressed manner that ensures maximum quality. All modern audio players support the WAV format, including the popular Winamp, Windows Media Player and Apple QuickTime applications. All three are available for the PC and can be downloaded and installed at no cost.

Instructions

Play WAV files using Winamp

Step 1

Open a Web browser window and navigate to the Winamp download page.

Step 2

Click the Download button and save the installer file to your computer when prompted.

Step 3

Launch the installer program by double-clicking the icon of the file you downloaded in the previous step. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Winamp on your computer.

Step 4

Open Winamp.

Step 5

Click File in the top menu bar and select Open. Locate your WAV file and then double-click its icon to open and play the file in Winamp.

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Play WAV files using Windows Media Player

Step 1

Open a Web browser window and navigate to the Windows Media Player download page.

Step 2

Click Download and save the installer file to your computer when prompted.

Step 3

Launch the installer program by double-clicking the icon of the file you downloaded in the previous step. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Windows Media Player on your computer.

Step 4

Open Windows Media Player.

Step 5

Press the Ctrl and O keys simultaneously. You can also press the Alt key, select File, and then click Open to achieve the same result. Either way, locate your WAV file and then double-click its icon to open and play the file in Windows Media Player.

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Play WAV files using QuickTime

Step 1

Open a Web browser window and navigate to the QuickTime download page.

Step 2

Click Download and save the installer file to your computer when prompted.

Step 3

Launch the installer program by double-clicking the icon of the file you downloaded in the previous step. Follow the on-screen prompts to install QuickTime on your computer.

Step 4

Open QuickTime.

Step 5

Click File in the top menu bar and select Open File. Locate your WAV file and then double-click its icon to open and play the file in QuickTime.

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