Community Media/MARAA/Community Radio/Production/Radio File Formats

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File Formats of Digital Audio

Working with tape is easy, because you never have to think about what format of audio you are recording in. The physical form of tape took care of most things. Today after the computer has started being used, digital audio is the new accepted convention. Basically digital audio means that digital signals are being used to reproduce sound. This includes analog to digital conversion, digital to analog conversion, storage of audio, and transmission.The digital audio signal can be stored on a Compact Disc (CD), flash drive, mp3 player, hard drive or any other digital data storage device. Audio data compression techniques like mp3, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Ogg, Vorbis,Windows Media Audio or Flac are commonly used.

When you start thinking of digital audio, you will most probably think of mp3. Now, mp3 stands for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 which encodes audio using a form of lossy data compression. This means that basically the data is compressed and then decompressed. It is not the same as the original file but its close enough for you not to notice the difference! Approved as a standard in 1991, mp3 continues to be a globally compatible standard. MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Expert Group, a group which commonly sets standards for audio and video.

Of course the biggest advantage of using mp3 is the fact that it takes up very little space on the computer.

The other common format is the Windows Media Audio (WMA), which is a audio compression technique developed by Microsoft Corporation. It was primarily developed as a competitor to the popular mp3 format, which is highly popular.

Both mp3 and WMA are played by default on Windows Operating System.

Bit rate is proportional to the quality of sound. The higher the bit rate, the better the quality of sound.