WAV (WAVE) files are audio files playable via multimedia playback software such as Windows Media Player and other software available for your operating system. These files contain any sounds such as sound effects, music or spoken words. WAV files are large in size and with the advent of MP3 and MP4 WAV files are becoming less popular and less common. They were created and developed by IBM and Microsoft but unlike MP3 and MP4 the WAV file format does not use a form of lossy compression so file sizes are therefore much bigger and now less popular.
Wav files are the standard digital audio format in Windows. Using the .WAV file extension, 8- or 16-bit samples can be taken at rates of 11,025 Hz, 22,050 Hz and 44,100 Hz. The highest quality being th 16-bit at 44,100 HZ, this highest level is the sampling rate of an audio CD and uses 88KB of storage per second. All general sounds in Windows, such as when you log in, are in the .WAV format. The default content of a WAV file is uncompressed (although they can be used to store compressed formats such as MP3), pulse code modulated (PCM) digital samples derived from the analog source.
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AC3 is an audio file specifically developed by Dolby Digital to provide surround sound audio. The format is used for audio on many DVD and Blu-Ray media. In order for the file to be correctly decoded and output, a DVD player with a Dolby Digital compatible home cinema system is required. It became the de facto standard for surround sound, and has held that position since its inception in 1992, with it coming to home cinema in 1995.
AC3 allows for separate audio to be defined for each of the 6 speakers in the standard cinema and home cinema setup. This produces the effect of surround sound to the person listening to the audio file. The six channels consist of right front, center, left front, rear right, rear left and a sub woofer.
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