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A .wav file is an audio file saved in the Waveform Audio format, commonly abbreviated as "WAVE." The WAVE format supports some compression, but most WAV files are saved in an uncompressed format that are typically around 10x the file size of a comparable MP3 file.

The WAVE format has been around since the early days of computing, dating back to the early 1990s. For many years, Windows computers used WAVE as the standard audio format for system sounds and recording. Eventually, compressed formats that store data more efficiently replaced WAVE as the standard audio format on Windows and other platforms.

Still, many WAV files still exist, and the format is still used to save uncompressed audio tracks, such as audio recorded with DAW software. WAVE audio is often saved as 16-bit stereo (left and right channels) with a 44.1 kHz sampling rate.

Converting WAVE Files

If you don't need the full resolution of an uncompressed WAVE file, you can convert it to a compressed format, such as .mp3 or .m4a. Converting a WAVE file to a compressed format may reduce the file size to less than 10% of the original. For example, a 40 MB WAVE file may only take up 3.8 MB as an MP3.

About File Helper

File Helper is a free web-based file utility that can open WAVE Audio files and over 150 other file formats directly in your web browser. It displays file properties, including metadata, and image EXIF data, along with information about the corresponding file type. File Helper can also view and convert images to several common formats. Have an unknown file or a file without an extension? No problem — File Helper can identify over 15,000 file types.

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