Lesson 3 – Audio Formats Copy

Popular Audio Formats

Most times I would suggest saving as MP3 unless you have a specific reason for a different file format. Below are some of the most popular file formats.

Once you have edited your file, you have the option to save (Save Project) as an Audacity file .aup this file can only be opened in Audacity. This is useful should you want to edit the file again at a later date.

To play your file or send your file to someone you will need to export (Export As) NOT save – This is covered in the video on saving files.

AAC
(Advanced Audio Coding) Mostly used by Apple. A high-quality audio much smaller than MP3. Said to be 30% more efficient at encoding than MP3, so a 128kbps AAC file would have the same perceivable quality as a 192kbps MP3.

MP3
(MPEG-1 layer 3) Playable in portable MP3 players, or in programs like Winamp, RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. Most recent audio CD and DVD players. The most common version of audio file used on the Internet, can be downloaded directly from websites.  Most audio CD players will not play MP3s burned onto a CD – a separate program is needed to decompress the files into WAV before burning, e.g: Windows Media Player. Typically, files that are saved at 128kbps = about 1mb per 1min music.

RealAudio
*.ra, *.ram Playable through the free RealPlayer as well as other players and editors from RealNetworks that are available for purchase. Mostly used as streaming audio for online radio stations and podcasting.

Waveform
*.wav Now readable on Macs (Apple’s AIFF format is equivalent to WAV as it is also uncompressed). Most systems come with a basic music program that supports WAVs. A Microsoft audio file as standard. Files can be very large compared to the compressed MP3.

WMA
(Windows Media Audio) Windows Media Player files. These are becoming increasingly popular for online radio and audio streaming services. A 64kbps file sounds just as good as 128kbps MP3 file and are half the size. Not all audio software and portable devices recognize this format, or will be allowed to due to Microsoft restrictions 48kHz, stereo.