WAV to MP3 Converter
I have hundreds of WAV audio files that are taking up a lot of hard drive space. Can you recommend a good WAV to MP3 converter that will do the job, preferably free?
Convert WAV to MP3
Audio files can be created in many formats. One of the oldest and most common formats is WAV - a file extension which stands for Waveform Audio Format. WAV was developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM as a standard format for storing audio data on PCs. It is the main format used on Windows systems, and it has its pros and cons.
The WAV format stores audio data in its raw, uncompressed form. That means WAV files are of very high fidelity because none of the data's bits has been discarded during compression. A WAV file does not have to be decompressed during playback, so playback goes smoother and sound is nice and even. Very simple playback software is all that's required to play a WAV file. WAV is simple, and simple is generally good.
But a WAV file can be very large, up to 40-45 MB for a single song. WAV files eat up a lot of storage space and take a long time to transmit via email or download from the Web. From these shortcomings arose the need for a compressed audio file format.
MP3 - Compressed Audio Files
The MP3 file format can store a song in about one-tenth of the space required by WAV. MP3 achieves this compression ratio by discarding "unnecessary" or redundant bits of data from a recorded audio stream. Essentially, it makes the playback "good enough" for consumer use. After all, a tiny set of earbud speakers isn't capable of playing the highest fidelity sound, anyway. MP3 has become the universal standard for iPod and other portable audio devices. It's more common than WAV files now.
If you record a WAV file and later want to compress it to MP3 format, you need a conversion program. Fortunately, there are many WAV-to-MP3 converter programs on the Web, and some are even free.
Switch Mp3 Converter Software is typical of the breed. You can download a free version (for Windows or Mac) that converts WAV files to MP3 format. It will convert multiple files in one batch operation. The Plus version for $19.95 converts many more file formats and is said to be suitable for "serious audio professionals."
Another good choice for WAV to MP3 conversion is Audacity, a free, general-purpose sound editor. Audacity has an excellent reputation and is popular because it works on many platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Audacity can handle a wide variety of audio formats, and offers many editing tools as well.
WAV/MP3 Conversion - Tradeoffs and Caution
When converting WAV to MP3, you can decide what the trade-off between file size and audio quality is going to be. File compression works by "sampling" an audio stream - taking only some data and skipping the rest. Selecting a higher bitrate for conversion of WAV to MP3 yields higher fidelity to the original recording. Generally, a bitrate of 128 Kbit/s is good enough. But remember, the higher the bitrate, the larger the converted MP3 file will be.
A word of caution: because WAV to MP3 converters are so widely sought, malware writers have created programs that do WAV to MP3 conversion while snooping around your computer for personal information, or acting as a conduit for other viruses and spyware to enter. Research the reputation of any WAV to MP3 conversion program before installing it, and make sure your anti-malware protection software is running before you execute a converter.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Dec 2009
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Free Online College Courses
The Top Twenty
Setting Up A Website
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- WAV to MP3 Converter (Posted: 15 Dec 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved