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Adam Prattler
Adam Prattler
Freelance writer.

Timeline of Audio Formats

November 22nd, 2013 by Adam Prattler

Short History of Different Formats to Record Audio

Photo by alexkerhead / Flickr

Recording audio only goes back just over a hundred years, but since a method to store sounds was first invented in 1877, the technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Today, people have access to a variety of different audio formats, including WAV files, MP3 files and more. By looking at the birth of audio recording, it’s easier to see where digital audio may be heading in the future.

The First Recordings

In 1877, the Phonograph cylinder was invented. A year later Edison came out with a slightly improved version that he called the Ediphone – which would eventually become the Dictaphone format to store audio. The gramophone and wire recordings were also used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mass Media

Once magnetic tape was invented in the 1940s, the act of coming up with new ways to record audio really took off with a burst of new audio formats available. From Tefifon to the vinyl record, a lot of different methods were used to record audio on physical devices.

  • 8-Track – The precursor to the cassette tape most people used in the late 20th century – especially the 1980s and early 1990s – the 8-track was bulky, but the sound it delivered was a lot better than some of the previous technologies.

  • Micro Cassette – Based on 8-track technology, this was a lot smaller and could record even more audio on a single cassette tape. This format actually went through a lot of changes over the years.

  • Compact Disc – After the cassette tape came the CD – compact disc. This format uses a laser to read etches on a small wafer. Computers translate the ones and zeros back into sounds – even complex music.

A Digital World

Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, it’s never been easier to record and replay audio. A myriad of different file types exist. Here’s a look at some of the common audio formats so far in the 21st century.

  • WAV – This is still a very common audio format in the digital age. The problem is that it can take up quite a bit of disk space – even for small recordings. Still, the quality is very high compared to some older audio formats.

  • MP3 – Another very big milestone in the story of audio formats was the introduction of the MP3. Suddenly, instead of just a handful of songs being able to be recorded on a CD, a person could store hundreds or even thousands of songs digitally on a small flash drive.

Audio formats have come a long way over the years. No one is sure where things will go next, but if you want to play MKV files, you’re in luck. It’s easy to get a MKV player online. It will most likely be able to deal with a wide variety of other audio and video formats as well. The future is bright for anyone who loves listening to audio files.

Adam prattler is a book writer. Few months ago, he wrote a book ‘a quicker way to sell property‘. More than 100 people give him a positive feedback. Now he is planning to write another book on this topic as a part 2.

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