Windows 98 and Audio

How To Compress Audio .WAV Files

SUMMARY: Shrink the size of WAV audio files with Windows 98.


Many Internet travelers tend to build up huge amounts of digital audio (.WAV) files on their hard drive(s). Eventually, hard drives fill up, and some audio files have to be removed from time to time. If you want to keep your favorite files, how can you do so besides adding more hard drive space? Try compressing your audio files.

Sound Recorder has an option for using audio compression, which causes the sound files to be "crunched" in order to take up less space. Different formats exist; some use less room, and some sound better than others - here is where you will have to experiment.

In order to compress a .WAV file, simply load it into Sound Recorder. Choose "File" and "Properties," and you will see a button labeled "Convert Now..." Click on it, and you will have the option of changing the "Format" and "Attributes" of the sound.

Format: This is the compression scheme used on the sound file. You do not need to know what these stand for, just realize that each compression scheme acts on sound files differently. Again, experimentation is necessary.

Attributes: This is where you will choose the frequency range of the sound (the larger the range, the better the sound quality), and the number of bits that make up each section of the sound (the more bits, usually, the higher quality). Unfortunately, the better the sound quality, the more KB/s a sound will take up on a hard drive.

When done choosing your compression method, choose "OK" twice to get back to the main playing window. Play your sound, and then you can choose for yourself whether or not to keep the compressed file. If the quality is good and the compression acceptable, save the file. If not, scrap it.

Only with a lot of experimentation will you get a compression scheme format/attributes that sounds good and takes up less space. But the results are worth it, IMHO. For example, I use IMA ADPCM 4 bit on my sound files. When applying the compression, I have taken dozens of sound file sizes down by half(!), keeping the exact same quality. The results can be impressive, if you have the patience.

Return to the Windows 98 and Audio page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.