Can Audacity handle 8-bit WAV files?


I’m working on a project that uses a microcontroller to record WAV files, then store them on a media card for playback on my PC (Ubuntu Linux 7.10, Audacity 1.3.3 from Ubuntu repositories). The microcontroller generates WAV files with 8-bit samples, but when I open the files in Audacity it reads “16 Bit PCM”.

Is there a way to force Audacity to open the file using the parameters in the header? Is it even possible to play back 8 bit files with Audacity?


When Audacity imports a wav file, it automatically makes a second copy of it at the sample format set in the edit → preferences → quality menu.

Audacity only makes edits to the copy of the audio to avoid any issues with data corruption.

So Audacity is opening the file correctly, but it’s immediately converting it to a higher quality format for editing purposes. You can still export it at 8-bits if you like. In the stable version of Audacity, go to the edit → preferences → file formats menu to select the “uncompressed export format.” The Beta version allows you to select the export format during the time you choose a name for the new file.