Newbie WAV question

Newbie here and I’ve got a question about the WAV files that Audacity saves. I understand that a WAV file can contain either lossy or lossless audio. I’m not sure how, but somewhere I got the impression that when I export my recording as a WAV, that Audacity saves it as lossless. However when I save the exact same recording as a lossless project, it again saves the recording as a WAV file but is exactly twice the size of the previous WAV file (no editing was done, or change in format). What is the difference between the two WAV files? I’m using version 2.3.3.

If I’ve posted this in the wrong section let me know.

All the WAV options Audacity has to offer are uncompressed.
Only compressed formats can be lossy or lossless.
e.g. MP3 is lossy, FLAC is lossless.

Your lossless original could be compressed, whereas WAV isn’t.

The original recording is the actual raw recording. It didn’t come from a compressed file.

If you’re getting an unexpected exact doubling in file size,
then you could be doubling the bit-depth, or doubling the sample-rate, or making stereo file from a mono original.

I’m not changing anything. As soon as I get done exporting the recording, I immediately turn around and save it as a lossless project.

You can compare the file format details by dropping into [u]MediaInfoOnline[/u]. (Or you can download and install the “regular” MediaInfo application on your computer.)

As long as you know there are 8-bits in a byte you can calculate file size for uncompressed data as follows:
File Size in bytes = Playing Time In Seconds x Sample rate in Hz x Number of channels x (bit depth/8).

For example, CD audio is 44,100 samples per second x 2-channels x (16/8) = 176,400 bytes per second. (And that works out to about 10MB per minute.)

However when I save the exact same recording as a lossless project,

When you save a project it’s saved as 32-bit floating-point which is twice as big as 16-bits, but you don’t get a WAV file unless you export.

You can export to floating point, and it’s possible for a WAV file to contain compressed audio but it’s rare and I’ve never seen a file like that.


I’m new to this site and can’t find out how to start a new thread.
Can someone please direct me?

Go into the forum that represents the operating system that your installation of Audacity is running on. For example, this one is in the Windows Forum. Then click on the button that says “New Topic”.