The digital age has introduced a variety of audio file formats popularized by various record companies and other groups that share a similar interest. Although music files are stored as digital formats, compatibility in playing these audio tracks can be an issue since these are coded using different codecs. Hence, an audio converter is required so as to manipulate and to re-encode the digital data using a supported codec compatible with a particular media player software application.
In audio file formatting, those with larger file sizes are usually of better quality than those which have smaller file sizes. The three general categories are uncompressed audio, lossless compressed audio, and lossy audio formats. WAV, AIFF, and AU are the most common filename extensions for uncompressed audio format such as PCM (pulse-code modulation). This type of audio file retains every bit of information which accounts for a typically large file size.
With a lossless audio format, most of the pieces of information are retained while unnecessary data are eliminated by audio processing optimization techniques such as deletion of silent portions of the audio track. Hence, the original uncompressed audio is re-encoded into a smaller file size of the same audio quality. FLAC, WavPack, and ALAC are the most common container formats for this type.
Lossy audio generates the smallest file size but also has the lowest quality. It achieves compression by analyzing audio tracks and reducing the complexity of the digital audio signals. MP3 and AAC are the most common lossy audio data. Although this type of file has the least quality, this is still the most popular file encoded in an audio converter due to its portability for use in mobile devices.