Archiving tapes

From: Jim Leonard <>
Date: Mon Feb 21 16:53:15 2005

On Mon, Feb 21, 2005 at 05:04:22PM +0000, Jules Richardson wrote:
> I always thought it was uncompressed raw audio, just with a short header
> (am I remembering 44 bytes right?) on the front describing cycles/sec,
> stereo/mono etc. - making it a pretty clean format. But if you can
> potentially get hit with all sorts of unknown encoding within then it's
> suddenly no use to anyone :(

.WAV is an IFF derivative that Microsoft created called RIFF. RIFF
files are nothing more than IFF files but with Intel little-endian
format for the length dword of a chunk header. (Any IFF generic
reader can read RIFF files if they check for "RIFF" instead of
"FORM" and byte-swap appropriately.) IFF itself is a tagged file
format; that is, the file starts with a FORM chunk that identifies
the length, then one or more chunks that can specify pretty much
anything. It was created in 1985 by Electronic Arts, initially as a
common way for game developers to transfer graphics data between
platforms (this was before graphics standards like GIF were in wide

.WAV files that don't use compression are not always "one tiny
header and the rest raw data" -- they could be split into multiple
raw chunks, or have some owner creation data, or timecode markers...
but it is a tagged file format, so you simply ignore the chunks
you're not interested in.

I wrote an IFF/RIFF library in Pascal; I'd be happy to send it to anyone
who wants it. When you run it against a "pure raw" .WAV file, there
is almost always more than just raw data in there. AND THAT IS NOT
BAD -- it's supposed to be a rich format.
Jim Leonard        Email:
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Received on Mon Feb 21 2005 - 16:53:15 GMT

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