Real Audio is an audio format. It was first introduced by RealNetworks in 1995, the current version being Real Audio 10. Files of this format usually have the extensions of RA, RAX, RM or RAM. Real Audio is often used as a streaming audio format (can be played at the same time as it's downloaded) due to its ability to conform to low bandwidths. This makes Real Audio a common format for many internet radio stations.
RealAudio was developed as a streaming media format, meaning that it can be played while it is downloaded. It is possible to stream RealAudio using HTTP. In this case, the RealAudio file is retrieved similarly to a normal web page, but playback begins as soon as the first part is received and continues while the rest of the file is downloaded. Using http streaming works best with pre-recorded files. Some alternative protocols have been developed which work better for live broadcasts. In many cases, web pages do not link directly to a RealAudio file. Instead, they link to a .ram (Real Audio Metadata) or SMIL file. This is a small text file containing a link to the audio stream. When a user clicks on such a link, the user's web browser downloads the .ram or .smil file and launches the user's media player. The media player reads the pnm or rtsp URL from the file and then plays the stream.
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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