There are two main types of "audio" files - 'sound' and 'music'.
This is just a sequence of sound samples (8 or 16 bit), which was sampled at a given frequency (4000 Hz, 8000 Hz, 11.1, 22.2, 44.4 kHz etc). they can be stored raw or compressed.
|.WAV||lossless, win31, win95 popular (also called RIFF by the subfmt)|
|.AIFF||lossless, amiga, indy|
|.AU||lossless, sunos, indy|
|.VOC||lossless, soundblaster std, old pc std|
|.MP3||MPEG-3 audio, lossy (10x compression is undetectable) and optionally lossless I think, becoming very popular now (1997)|
There are a host of others, proprietary, for WWW music sending, phone/speech compression for web-phone etc.
eg. RealAudio (becoming less popular due to MP3) It is /streaming/ audio - so it reduces quality if connection is slow, takes care of missing packets etc, more a protocol+compression. There are many others, usually plug-ins for Netscape.
Music files are more structured - they typically have the concepts of:
|.MID||(MIDI) standard for instrument/computer interfacing, indy, pc usually depends on host computer to synthesize/assign the instruments ie. more like an algorithm for playing the piece|
|.MOD||old pc fmt, common 5 years ago for dance music/techno, embeds the instrument SOUNDS in it, simple file format|
|.ST3||soundtracker, screamtracker, similar to .MOD|
Probably some others for indy.
- Tortsen Seemann © 1997