Sound formats

Scott Rossi scott at
Sat Sep 24 16:46:01 EDT 2005

Recently, Dan Shafer  wrote:

> WAV and AIFF files are HUGE compared to MP3's.; on the order of 20x.
> For Internet delivery, my understanding is that mp3 is really pretty
> standard.

I believe Xaiver was referring to being able to play the sounds *within*
Rev.  In that situation, WAV is indeed a cross-platform solution that does
not require a player technology (QT or WMP).  To play anything else, you
either need to target media to the capability of the host platform, or rely
on QuickTime.

> Microsoft claims (
> windowsmedia/knowledgecenter/mediaadvice/0071.aspx#417) that Windows
> Media Player (Version 9 and later) supports the .mp3 format as well,
> but my audio consultant tells me that's just a lie as far as he can
> tell.

I don't think it's a complete lie (but with MS one might argue there is
always some kind of lie behind the statement).  In my case, I've delivered
CD-ROMs that launched MP3s and I'm pretty sure they were handled by WMP
versions previous to v9.  This is not the same as handling playback from
within Rev however, just an alternate playback option.  Just about everybody
has *some* type of MP3 player, WMP or otherwise, of their system.

> If I'm understanding this correctly -- and as I've already said, I'm
> clearly not the multimedia guru in these parts -- it is not possible
> to find a single file format that can be guaranteed to play on both
> Windows and OS X without requiring the user of one system or the
> other (or both) to download either an app or a codec.

If the sound can be imported and played from within a stack (and is only a
few seconds long), then WAV works fine, on both platforms.

To decide what format to use, one should first look at the length of their
audio.  Anything that's going to be play for minutes should be compressed
and MP3 is a good option here, but limited to players using QT.  If sounds
only span a few seconds, then as mentioned above, imported WAV is fine as
long the sounds use "standard" sampling rates (see the mail archives for
details -- this has been posted multiple times).

> Maybe it's just me but this state of affairs seems quite abominable
> given how long we've been at this stuff.

It's not just you.  I've said this same thing repeatedly over the years.
Hopefully the Rev folks are listening.


Scott Rossi
Creative Director
Tactile Media, Multimedia & Design
E: scott at

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