If you've been streaming music since the days of Napster, you know well how much space audio files can take up. And though many of us take advantage of streaming services, WiFi is not a given. Having a few good albums stored locally on your phone for the days when your gym has spotty Internet service is good preparation. And for the days when you need to turn the WiFi off to concentrate on work, a steady stream of music can keep us productive.
Of course, given that audio file sizes can be large, many audio file formats used widely by commercial entities come with programs called codecs that help reduce their file size. Without this compress, it'd be impossible to store or send and slow down our devices every time we pressed play. But other audio files are designed for those who want or need all the raw data — in this case, sound waves — in the file. In these cases, codecs often can't quite compress the file size as much while keeping all the data intact. And in these cases, you'll usually need an outside tool to reduce the file size even further.
Audio files fall within three major categories, the differences between which have significant implications for file size. The first category is uncompressed audio, which is exactly what it sounds like. These are actual sound waves that have been digitized but have not been altered any further. As a result, they require a lot of storage space. They include files with the extensions PCM, WAV, and AIFF.
Then there are the audio files that use lossy compress techniques. With lossy compress, the audio quality deteriorates over time as the data is continually encoded and decoded for compress, encryption, transmission, storage, and other purposes. Usually, lossy compress is not immediately noticeable after a few repetitions. But low audio file lossy compress can produce distorted sounds.
You definitely have seen these types of audio files before. Maybe you're not familiar with AAC or OGG Vorbis files. Chances are, though, that you may have seen WMA files, which are the proprietary file format Microsoft created and that are played with Windows Media Player. But even if that barely registered, I'm sure you've heard of MP3 files. Indeed, in the Internet's early days, "MP3" was synonymous with digital music files. Even now, MP3 files are compatible with every device you can name. MP3 files reduce inaudible and hard-to-hear sounds as a part of their compress algorithm and do so quite well.
Last, you have audio file formats with lossless compress. These formats don't eliminate any data while they shrink in size. However, they do not shrink very far in size. Common audio file formats utilizing lossless compress include FLAC, ALAC, and WMA Lossless. FLAC files — perhaps the most popular of the three — are compatible with most devices and allow you to enjoy the raw audio sound. Of course, FLAC files are larger than many other file formats as a result. But FLAC is also open-source and royalty-free, which means you're not going to be compelled to buy a particular piece of software or hardware to play FLAC files. You'll pay a bit more, but true audiophiles likely will do so for a richer sound that will maintain its integrity in the long-run.
If you're building a library of FLAC formatted music or have many other high-quality audio files, you're going to need a storage solution. You'll quickly find that the free storage that comes from individual Google or Microsoft accounts isn't sufficient for storing more than a handful of files. And if you're sharing your files with others or moving them between multiple devices, you'll need a software solution to reduce the file size before transmitting the data from place to place.
It's not just music fans who have these needs. Here are only a few others who need to be able to store and transmit audio files.
And these are just a few examples. Many businesses and individuals rely on audio file compress technology to help them perform essential work functions.
Lossy compress often isn't enough. And sometimes, it's not an option. Whether your lossy files are still too large, or your lossless compress files have barely shrunk in size, you need a third-party tool like WinZip. Another pioneering name from the early days of the Internet, WinZip still helps millions of people simply and securely compress their files for storage, encryption, and transmission.
From File Explorer:
From within WinZip:
Note: Certain file types do not compress as much as others. You must have WinZip installed on your computer to use these methods.
You can use a variety of open-source or proprietary methods, but WinZip is known and trusted worldwide. Creating a ZIP file is an easy way to compress your audio. And whether you need to store or send it, your data's integrity will remain intact.