WAV (Waveform Audio File Format) is a open source audio encoding format designed by IBM and Microsoft as part of the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) family. I was release in August, 1991 and first introduced into Windows with the Multimedia Extensions add-on for Windows 3. The format was originally designed to encode uncompressed linear pulse-code modulation (LPCM) audio, but it now supports a variety of different encodings compression algorithms, any in Microsoft's Audio Compression Manager.
My first computer ran Windows 3 with Multimedia Extensions, so WAV audio was one of the first audio formats I used. For many years, even into the 2000s when MP3 began to become popular, I viewed it as the best audio format because it stored audio uncompressed. Sure the files were massive, but, you were sure to have the proper sound. My cousin and I would play with his cheap microphone and record audio that we thought was hilarious. We even once filled up his hard drive with a particularly long recording. The only other format I was aware of was VOC used by Creative Labs because of my Sound Blaster.
In my late-teens, I remember downloading a collection of audio clips from movies and being surprised that they were several seconds long, but had a relatively small file size. Upon checking the properties of the files, I learned that they were using lower bit rates, which accounted for the lower quality audio. This helped me learn about the quality/size trade-off found in audio and video formats. I continued to use WAV for some time, even for ripping audio CDs which took up tons of disk space, until I learned about FLAC, which offers perfect audio quality, but at a tenth of the file size. Since then, I haven't given much though to WAV.
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