Monday, May 31, 2010

Audio Sound Formats to Consider For Your Video

There are all kinds of computer audio files. This is a quick look at audio formats that are available and can be potentially used in your video editing program.

Yep, I said potentially because you have to look at your specific software to determine if it will accept a certain audio file.

Audacity File Menu Export Screen

Great Sound but Big Honking Huge Files

.wav and .aff audio files if prepared properly have great sound. .wav sound files is almost universally accepted in most video editing programs and computer operating systems. .aff is the MacOS version.

If you have a Mac or use Linux there shouldn't be a problem on importing .wav files into your video editing program.

Uncompressed files have great sound. That is the upside, the downside is to get that sound quality it keeps all of the data associated with the original music source.

This can result in a very large file on your computer. Record a bunch of .wav files and you will tap out even a 1GB drive quickly.

Good Sound but Smaller Files

.mp3 audio files are a compressed audio file format. This means that some of the duplicate data of the original music source was omitted. Think of it like freeze dried coffee; only the essential information necessary to maintain the source sound is retained.

.mp3 audio files are are smaller file size than .wav files. You can have thousands of them before your drive hits tilt. Doesn't mean that you should have thousands of songs or audio files.

The sound quality? If you are an audiophile you would find .mp3 audio unacceptable. Most of us are not that attuned to music or sound sources. Unless it is a really bad recording we are not going to notice.

For voice recordings it is not a big deal. Music added as an accent or theme music, still not a big deal. For music based videos it is a consideration because you will not get the full richness of the original source. You have to decided which audio format will best meet your needs.

Why Do I Need to Know This?

If you are converting audio from an analog source such as an LP album or CD the software program you are using may give you a choice of digital formats. Transferring the audio into a .wav format for video editing purposes would give you a better sound quality.

If you are using a digital recorder or an mp3 player that is capable of recording audio then you might be locked into the sound format of that device. Make sure that the sound format is compatible with your video editing program or that you have a means to covert the audio file.


  • Audacity is a free/open source sound editing program for Window, Mac and Linux OS.
  • Myna is an online sound editing program; you upload the audio file and then perform edits in an browser window.
  • If you would like to dive deeper into the wonderful world of computer audio formats then you might like to visit WikiRecording

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love actual comments. Please understand that comments will be held until I get a chance to look them over or wake up, whichever comes first.

Spam and other forms of hate speech are not welcome here. And due to the actions of spam bots and the people that love them moderation is in full effect.