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What are the differences between audio file formats?


Different multimedia and video applications often require different audio formats and have special audio requirements when it comes to working with music files.

Productiontrax.com delivers all of our royalty free music and sound effects files in a convenient, instantly delivered MP3 download upon purchase. To ensure quality and compatibility with our systems, composers are encouraged to upload MP3 files to their accounts encoded at the highest possible rate. While the MP3 files you download from our site are full quality original audio files, we also offer several other audio formats. You should always check with your audio engineer to see which file format is best for you.

Bit Rates and Frequencies

Sure you've seen the numbers, but what do they mean? Bit rate depths refer to the number of audio samples per unit of memory. Generally, higher bit rate numbers mean greater sonic quality and a wider dynamic range. The sample rate frequency refers to the number of sound wave cycles over time. As with the bit rates, higher numbers generally mean better quality. However, it is important to note that when converting between two audio sample rates, lower sample rates play slower, meaning that if you are not careful with sample rate conversions, you can easily alter the pitch and length of a track. Audio CDs generally play tracks that have been encoded at 16-bit 44.1kHz. TV broadcasts usually use a sample rate of 44.8kHz, and digital formats show off their advantages in the 24-bit range.

AIF Files

AIF files are probably the most standard audio format for Apple computers. AIF or AIFF stands for Audio Interchange File Format. AIF files are generally large in size and contain a great deal of audio data. For compatibility reasons, it is not recommended that you use AIF files on PCs, and you should convert AIFF files to WAVE files if you are using a PC to edit audio.

WAV Files

WAV or Wave files are the standard of choice for PC users. WAV files can be directly played on Apple computers without problems in most audio editing programs. It is generally recommended, when transferring audio from Mac to PC, that you convert the files to WAV format (while still on the Mac), as the Resource from many file formats is lost when imported to a PC. The resource contains detailed information about the format, Sample rate, and Bit definition). On a more practical level, PC sound effects are typically stored as small .wav files that can be linked to Windows events.

Productiontrax.com offers delivery of these audio formats in your choice of 16-bit and 24-bit definition and if necessary, additional mastering for an extra handling charge. We handle all of the file conversions in house on the best audio programs in the business, and ship your order out (usually) same-day on CD-ROM. We also can provide an Audio CD of the tracks you purchased for you to add to your collection.



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