How do I make a wav file smaller?

Being a bit of a try-it-and-see HTML learner, I’m not sure what this is called so I’m afraid I didn’t know what to Google on.

I have created a some short wav files and I’d like to know how to make the file size smaller so that it’s quicker for other people to download. For example, I have a one-second clip of me saying “hello” that I just spoke into the laptop microphone and saved, and it’s 44KB - I am sure it should be smaller than that.

Advice much appreciated. Thanks.

You want to send it somewhere?
Compress it into an MPEG file.

I’d like to put some sounds up on a site I’m making - sort of a “click here to hear so-and-so”. Are mpegs suitable for this and how could I compress it into one?

mpegs (flagship: the well-renounced MP3 format) have the advantage of compressing sound files heavily. If you convert a .wav into an .mp3 file, it will usually shrink quite a lot.
Mpeg converting software can be bought, but there’s a lot of freeware on the net as well. If you do a Google search for “free converter mpeg wav” or something like this, you’ll most leikely find what you need.

Your recording software (not sure what you’re using) may also have some useful features. Since all you’re doing is saying “hello”, CD-quality isn’t necessary. Sampling at a different rate lower than 44k wil help, as will making it mono instead of stereo. You could also go for 8 instead of 16 bit sound.

But if you already did all this, then your only next step is to go with mp3.

Quite simple. Open it with SNDREC32 or any other audio program. Then “save as” and where it says “format” change from PCM or ACM to “MPEG Layer 3” and select the sampling rate, etc. then save.

Note that MPEG Layer 3 is the same codec used to compress WAV and MP3. You want to use WAV because MP3 is a streaming format and will make a slightly larger file for the same quality.

It is not difficult and you can just mess aorund and see what quality you like best but if you just want a few files feel free to email them to me and I’ll compress them and send them back

Out of curiosity - about what magnitude of size difference would one expect between the two?

depending on the compression scheme, you can probably get about a 10 or 12 to 1 ration of wav to MP3 size. i think they can go even tighter these days, but i get nervous beyond that. also if you originally recorded or saved wav file in stereo if you change it to mono before compressing it, that will cut it in half on the spot.

Okay, thanks for the advice so far. I have a couple of queries/problems:

  1. I downloaded a fairly intuitive audio converter (thanks Schnitte) and have worked out how to do a basic conversion from a wav to an mp3 file, but I am confused by the conversion frequency and bitrates. I have the conversion frequency set to default at 44100 KHz, and the bitrate set at 128 Kbps. Does that sound right? When I converted one of my files from wav to mp3 it went from 166K to 121K (and I did check the “mono” box) - does that sound about right? To be honest, I thought it would make more difference than that.

  2. When I included it on the site I am building, instead of causing Windows Media Player to appear and play the sound when the link was clicked (as it had done with wav files), it links to a separate page which displays a blue clock briefly before displaying a sound box which plays the file. Is this a feature of mp3 files or is it because I haven’t got the correct software to play mp3 files direct from websites?

Many thanks.

Make sure you aren’t using higher quality in the MP3 file than the original WAV - a mono voice recording should probably be encoded at 16-32 kbps.

Converting a SMALL *.wav file can increase the size of the file! Or at least that was the experience I had with a slightly older mp3 encoder. mp3’s can be about 1/10 the size of WAVs, but they must also put a little overhead that in short files actually makes them longer.

So, make sure after encoding that the file IS smaller.

Also, if this is going to be on a web page, not everyone will have mp3 players on their computers. I don’t think the early versions of Win98 would be able to play (if the person hasn’t downloaded a mp3 player).

If the file isn’t significantly smaller, I’d stick with the WAV.

OOPS, didn’t see that you already had this experience.

Your files have been compressed a little, which is better than I got, but the overhead is still keeping you from getting the ~1/10 size you’d get if you compressed a 4-minute song.

I think you may have misunderstood my query - sailor was talking about using MPEG Level 3 on a .wav and an .mp3 - so they should both have similar compression levels - but said that the .mp3 should be larger because of its streaming ability. I’m just wondering how much larger, assuming both types of file are MPEG Level 3 compressed.

Aha. Thanks Mr2001 - changing the bitrate to 32 kbs makes a big difference - it reduced at 295K to 54K and to my untrained ear it doesn’t sound much worse at all. Thanks for that.

Now there’s only the problem of getting it on the site itself so that clicking it brings up an audio player rather than another page which plays it.

Am I to understand that for those that have mp3 players on their computer, clicking the file will bring up the player, while for those that don’t it will bring up the page that I get with the clock and the sound box?

Anthracite, the difference in file size is small as it just eliminates the coding information which is repeated periodically in the streaming format. My guess is it was just like 2 %. I am making that number up but it’s my guess right now. It is easy enough to convert an MP3 to WAV and see how much smaller it got.

Also I am not sure if MP3 allows the full range of sampling rates / channels / bytes per sample as WAV does. I prefer WAV because it seems more straightforward to manipulate with most audio programs. MP3 makes sense for streaming audio but not for files.

I also use DivX as it gives smaller files for equivalent quality but many people do not have the DivX codec and it is a pain to send them something and have them come back saying they can’t “open” the file. But I do find DivX gives better compression than MPEG Layer3.

Then, of course, there is Real Audio which I absolutely hate so much I won’t even mention it.

And then there are a hundred other formats which nobody uses.

It brings up a new page becuase you have Quicktime installed and it’s the default player in Explorer. Some people have it installed and some don’t, so I don’t think you can change if it plays in a audioplayer or it opens a new page.

MPEG Layer 3 isMP3. MP3 is just a shorthand for MPEG 1 Layer 3.

When someone clicks on your mp3, it’s up to them what happens.

As far as I know, you can’t just stream MP3s from your site unless you have something like a Shoutcast server. Otherwise, people have options.

If they have their browser set to automatically play stuff, then it will. My browser is set to ask me whether or not to download the file or to play from the site.

Then the end user’s computer figures out what program they have set to play MP3s. Mine’s configured to play them with windows media player. Others might have WinAmp, quicktime or real player or something else.

Most people have some sort of component installed that is set to play MP3s (even if by default). If you have a lot of MP3s you might want to provide a link to some free players. Here’s some links you can provide, and they can choose:

windows media player (windows)

winamp (windows)

itunes (mac)

xmms (linux)

real player (multi-platform)

>> MPEG Layer 3 isMP3. MP3 is just a shorthand for MPEG 1 Layer 3.

I know very well what is what, thank you very much. As I have explained many times before, MP3 describes two different things:
1- The MPEG Layer3 audio codec which is used in different file types including .WAV, .MP3, etc
2- One specific file type: .MP3

So, when someone says “an .MP3 file” , in this case “MP3” means the file type and is NOT shorthand for “MPEG 1 Layer 3”. But if I say “an MP3-compressed file (of type WAV, MP3, etc)” then yes, MP3 is just a shorthand for MPEG 1 Layer 3.

The extension .MP3 indicates the contents of the file is compressed with MPEG1 Layer 3.