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.WAV File Meta Data


There's a rumor that .wav files cannot have meta data, however, they can. A .wav file is a so-called "RIFF" file, and these files can have an "INFO" section (called a chunk) which contains the meta data.

The cool thing about such "chunks" is that they are simply ignored by the software reading the file. This means that when old software reads a file written by new software, it can simply skip the unknown parts. Likewise, new software can read files written by old software and fill in the blanks itself. This way you get both forwards as backwards compatibility.

Some software use ID3 tags (from the mp3 format) to store meta data in .wav files, but this is a very bad idea because you do not get the compatibility benefits of using a chunk based format. Here's a short list of what chunks a .wav file with meta data can consist of:

Chunks in a .wav file

ToDo: I seriously need to make the whole structure of a .wav file easier to understand than this list.

TypeMainSubPurpose of chunk
RIFFWAVEfmt is typically 16 bytes long and contains the basic info about samplerate, number of channels etc. This chunk is required.
RIFFWAVEdataThe audio data itself. In order to be able to read this, you must have the data from the "fmt" chunk. This chunk is required.
RIFFWAVEcue A cue chunk specifies one or more sample offsets which are often used to mark noteworthy sections of audio.
LISTadtllablAn entry in an array containing an a label or name which is associated with the cue points from the "cue " tag in order to provide names for the markers.
LISTINFOINAMThe name of the file (or "project").
LISTINFOISBJThe subject.
LISTINFOIARTThe artist who created this.
LISTINFOICMTA text comment.
LISTINFOIKEYThe keywords for the project or file.
LISTINFOISFTThe software used to create the file.
LISTINFOIENGThe engineer.
LISTINFOITCHThe technician.
LISTINFOICRDThe creation date.
LISTINFOGENRGenre of content.
LISTINFOICOPThe copyright information.
RIFFWAVEbextBroadcast extension chunk.

Download an example containing example meta data to see if your software reads this info correctly.


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