WAVE or WAV is the short form for the name Waveform Audio File Format, an audio file format / standard developed by Microsoft and IBM for audio storage on PCs. It is a format based on PCM (pulse-code modulation), requiring a lot of space for not damaging the file data. WAVE audio files take up to 10 MB per minute on average. Because of this, this model is suitable for editing and mixing, in addition to professional work, because it also works with the maximum quality of the data.
The WAVE format is a variation of the RIFF bit stream formatting method for storing data in blocks, called chunks, in addition to being similar to the IFF and AIFF formats used in Macintoshes. Both types of files, WAVs and AIFFs, are compatible with the most widely used operating systems in the world, Windows and Macintosh.
The RIFF variation works as a bundle, known as a wrapper, for the various audio compression codecs. This is the main variation used in Windows systems for simple audio.
A WAV file can contain compressed audio, but the most common WAV format has PCM pulse modulation format. The pulse-code modulation uses an audio storage system uncompressed, ie without loss. Thus, professionals can use the WAV format for maximum audio quality in the material they are working on. Using specialized audio software, this type of format can be easily edited and manipulated.
The fact that it is an uncompressed format, WAV occupies a much larger storage space compared to other formats. However, this can be resolved by converting the file to other formats, such as MP3 and AAC.
One of the limitations of WAVE is its size of up to 4 GB. It is limited to files up to this size because of the use of 32-bit integers to write the size field in the file header. In some cases, this size drops by half depending on the software used.
Although the 4 GB is equivalent to recording approximately 6.6 hours of CD quality audio, some situations require that this limit be higher. Thanks to the W64 format, developed for use in Sound Forge, it is possible to create files with much longer 64-bit headers. Another format that promises to solve this problem is RF64, specified by the European Broadcasting Union.