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July 20, 2011

Archiving audio files

Just making a record of an email. We have a researcher collecting bird song data and the question is how to best archive the data. Opensource vs proprietary; compressed vs uncompressed, lossless vs lossy, ubiquity of the format.

Hi,

Thanks for taking the initiative on this. Here are notes on a small bit of research:

Quick Primer on Audio File Formats:

- WAV = Microsoft propreitary, no compression, lossless
- MP3 = patented, compression, lossy


Lossless indicates no data (sound waves in this case?) are lost. Lossy is the opposite. You can have a format that compress the data but is lossless.

Notes on the file you sent:

Original size: 7.3 MB, 1 min 15 secs (.wav format)
Zipped size: 6.1 MB (.wav format)

Using Audacity, I exported to mp3: 1.3MB
Zipped size: 1.2MB (.mp3 format)

Obvious question, is the quality of the mp3 sufficient for scientific analysis of the data? Are you aware of best practices guides out of the ornithology world?

Posted by kkwaiser at July 20, 2011 12:07 PM

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