Wolfram Language & System 10.4 (2016)|Legacy Documentation

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WAV (.wav)

  • Import and Export support all audio codecs commonly used in the WAV format.


    MIME type: audio/x-wav
    Microsoft WAV audio format.
    Used for storage and interchange of audio data on Windows, in audio recording and processing, and on the web.
    Binary file format.
    Known as wave form audio format.
    Variant of the Microsoft RIFF bitstream format.
    Typically stores uncompressed sampled audio as pulse-code modulation (PCM) data.
    Also supports several codecs for compressed audio.
    Supports arbitrary sampling frequency, arbitrary number of channels, and arbitrary bit depth.
    Stores up to 4 GB of audio data in a single file.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • Import["file.wav"] imports a WAV file, returning a sound object.
  • Export["file.wav",expr] exports a sound object to a 16-bit WAV file.
  • Import["file.wav"] gives an expression of the form Sound[SampledSoundList[data,r]].
  • Export["file.wav",expr] creates a WAV file from the sound object expr.
  • Import["file.wav",elem] imports the specified element from a WAV file.
  • Import["file.wav",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.wav",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • The import format can be specified with Import["file","WAV"] or Import["file",{"WAV",elem,}].
  • Export["file.wav",expr,elem] creates a WAV file by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file.wav",{expr1,expr2,},{{elem1,elem2,}}] treats each as specifying the corresponding .
  • Export["file.wav",expr,opt1->val1,] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • Export["file.wav",{elem1->expr1,elem2->expr2,},"Rules"] uses rules to specify the elements to be exported.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString support the WAV audio format.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Data representation elements:
  • "Data"raw audio samples, given as a list of lists of real numbers, each sublist representing an individual audio channel
    "SampledSoundList"WAV file given as SampledSoundList
    "Sound"WAV file represented as a Sound object
  • The element corresponds to the first argument of SampledSoundList.
  • Multiple channels are represented as an array of audio samples.
  • Import and Export use the element by default for WAV files.
  • Advanced Import element:
  • "SampleRate"number of amplitude samples per second and channel


  • General option:
  • SampleRateAutomaticnumber of amplitude samples per second for each channel
  • Detailed properties and settings:
  • "AudioChannels"Automaticthe number of audio channels in the file
    "AudioEncoding""Integer16"how samples are encoded
  • If the sample rate is not specified when exporting to WAV, the highest sample rate occurring in the exported sound is used, and all sounds are resampled as necessary.
  • If the number of channels is unspecified, the highest number of simultaneous channels is taken, and silence is inserted if necessary.
  • If is set to a value n that is less than the number of channels to be exported, only the first n channels are exported.
  • The WAV format supports PCM (pulse-code modulation) and ADPCM (adaptive differential pulse-code modulation) codecs, and various other audio encoding algorithms.
  • can be set to any of the following codecs:
  • "UnsignedInteger8"Unsigned 8-bit PCM
    "Integer16"16-bit PCM
    "Integer24"24-bit PCM
    "Integer32"32-bit PCM
    "Real32"32-bit IEEE floating point
    "Real64"64-bit IEEE floating point
    "aLaw"a-Law 4-bit PCM (ITU-T G.711)
    "uLaw"μ-Law 4-bit PCM (ITU-T G.711)
    "MS-ADPCM"Microsoft 4-bit ADPCM
    "GSM610"GSM 6.10 codec (ETSI 6.10 standard)
  • Not all codecs support arbitrary sample rates and channel specifications.

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (2)Basic Examples  (2)

This imports a WAV file:

Click for copyable input

Use Play to generate sampled sound and export it to WAV:

Click for copyable input
Click for copyable input
Introduced in 1999