How to have Wav files of extremely small size ?



  1. I want my Wave files to be very small ( even 100kb for a two-minute audio track) while being of nice(if not perfect) quality.
  2. I thought that reducing the project rate(Hz) would reduce file size. But:
  3. When I reduced the project rate(Hz), the audio sounded distorted and hard to recognize. And the output file size was not even smaller.
  4. What should I do to have the smallest Wave files which ( even if of lower quality) still sound similar to the original audio ?
  5. I wish I could have a 100kb Wav file which is up to two minutes long.
    I have had it before, when I recorded my voice on my multimedia phone. The audio format was WAV and after my recording of two minutes the file was only 140kb large. I later recorded a radio programme( from the phone’s in-built radio) and after about 20minutes of recording, the file was about 2 MB.
    When I looked at the file properties on a computer, I saw 32kbps. What is kbps and is it not the same as Hz ? How do I determine the kbps in Audacity ?

This is a summary. I will give more details if necessary. But the most important thing is that I want extremely small Wave files.

Why do you want very small WAV files (as opposed to some other format)?

For WAV files, the bit rate = (bit depth) x (sample rate) x (number of channels). So for a recording with a 44100 Hz sample rate, 2 channels (stereo) and 16-bit depth: 44100 x 2 x 16 = 1411200 bits per second, or, 1411.2 kbps. All three variables in parentheses affect the file size. On the other hand for compressed files like MP3, the bit rate is the main determinant of file size (for MP3, increasing the sample rate doesn’t increase the file size).

The WAV format is usually not the best format to use if you want smaller file sizes. For WAV files that you can produce in Audacity 1.2 (if that’s what you are using), and if you want to retain 44100 Hz so as to retain the higher frequencies, you won’t get below about 1 MB for 2 minutes (mono). You can do that using GSM 6.10 (a codec for mobile phone use). Using ADPCM encoding - which is 4-bit as opposed to 16-bit for uncompressed PCM WAV, hence the smaller file size - a 2 minute mono file at 44100 Hz will be around 2.5 MB. That’s a little larger than a 128 kbps MP3 would be. It may sound near-identical to PCM WAV, and may sound “better” than the MP3.

All the other compressed WAV formats like GSM will sound a lot worse than PCM WAV, and probably a good deal worse than MP3. If you want to try these formats in Audacity 1.2, they are in the File Formats tab of Preferences at “Uncompressed export format”.

If you have a 2 minute “WAV” that is “140 kb”, it probably isn’t a WAV codec of any sort. It is probably some strongly compressed codec like MP3 or Speex at a very low bit rate, placed inside a WAV container. You can’t produce a file like that in Audacity 1.2. You have to use Audacity 1.3, install FFmpeg then export using Custom FFmpeg Export. Note that if you use that option, some combinations of formats and codecs may produce null files, either due to failings in FFmpeg or in Audacity.


Thank you for your reply, Gale.
I want to make computer games and I want my audio files to be as small as possible to save disk space and memory. I learned that WAV is a good quality format but can be very big. So I seek ways to use it while keeping it small.
Are there any other high-quality audio formats( except mp3) that do not eat much space ?
If you are interested in making PC games for Windows , use the program Game Maker. You are allowed to sell the games you create.
Bye and waiting for more information.

There is FLAC (lossless, circa 4 MB per minute stereo). There is OGG and AAC (M4A) - both those are lossy, and a similar size to MP3 (but slightly better quality for the same file size). If I were you I would use ADPCM WAV or MP3, which are of similar size if the audio is mono, ADPCM just over double the size of MP3 if stereo. With those two formats you will be guaranteed compatibility with Windows. If you think the small files you mentioned sound good enough in gaming headphones, open them in iTunes or Windows Media Player (or in Explorer, right-click over the file > Properties) to find out what the format and codec is.