How to Compress WAV Files to Smaller MB

By Quinten Plummer

The lossless Waveform audio format--shortened to WAV--is perfect for recording and sampling audio at a high quality, without dropping any quality or compressing elements of the recording. However, because the quality of the WAV format is so high, the file sizes of WAVs are much larger than compressed audio formats like MP3 and Real Audio. But whether you're facing transport issues or compatibility problems, there are a variety options for compressing your WAV files to a smaller file size.

Step 1

Use a lossless WAV compression utility, like Wavpack, to lower the file sizes of your WAV files without losing any quality. A lossless compressor uses one or more algorithms to rewrite--or encode--the a waveform samples of WAV files, predicting and abbreviating repetitive waveforms. This sort of digital shorthand makes the WAV file smaller. And the algorithm encodes the files is such way that the compressed WAV file can be read and deflated to match the quality of the original file--no quality is dropped during the compression and decompression processes.

Step 2

Compress your WAV files into ZIP or RAR archives. With the help of a compression utility, like WinZIP or WinRAR, you can compress your files and package them into ZIP or RAR files. Similar to a WAV compression utility, a compression utility uses a complex algorithm to shorten the code that composes the WAV file. However, with an archive/compression utility, you WAV file will be packaged into a ZIP or RAR file, and won't be playable while compress in the archive format.

Step 3

Convert your large WAV files into MP3 or WMA files, using an audio conversion utility like Free Mp3 WMA Converter or SUPER, to compress your WAV audio files. While the MP3 and WMA formats are both "lossy" format--meaning you will lose some quality from the conversion process--MP3s and WMAs are valued for their considerably low loss of quality and small file sizes (e.g. the WMA format can compress WAVs up to 200%, while a WAV compress maxes out around 70 percent).

Step 4

Use an audio editing utility, like Audacity or GoldWave, to lower the quality of your WAV file. Decrease the file size of your WAV files by using the audio editor to drop the sampling and bit rates (e.g. if your WAV's bit rate was set at 24-bit, you could drop it down to 16-bit quality). You can also convert a stereo WAV into a mono file to decrease the size or your WAVs. While lowering the sampling and bit rates of your WAV file will decrease the output file's quality, decreasing the quality of the WAVs is the only way to compress your WAVs without converting them to another format.