What are the Disadvantages of WAV? (And Should You Use It?)

What are the Disadvantages of WAV? (And Should You Use It?)

The main disadvantage of WAV files is their size. Will it change your mind if we say that it’s quite manageable to still use WAV despite that? Let’s see how.

WAV: is it still usable?

Some people may turn their heads away from WAV files based on one big downside. But the majority of audio producers and sound engineers can not be happier with utilizing WAV files in their work daily.  Seriously speaking, one big downside of WAV files is their size.

If you are only at the beginning of your music production or sound engineering journey and don’t have a lot of possibilities to invest in additional SSD or cloud space, you should check other audio file format options.

You should acknowledge whether the listener of your audio content will be able to hear the difference in the quality. Meaning that if you are more a podcaster rather than a music producer, you should look away from WAV. But if you want your listeners to get the most spectacular audio experience possible, you should stick with WAV.

You have to foresee what your listeners desire, meaning that you need to know how the listeners of your music or podcasts will engage with it. Will they listen online? Or maybe it would be more beneficial for them to download your audio content and enjoy it that way. These choices affect the audio file format that you need to choose.


If you have encountered a WAV file in your life at least once, you are aware of its biggest downside – its size. Especially if you were recording musical material using a sampling rate over 48000 Hz with a bit rate between 16 and 32 bit. If you are in favor of maximum settings, you know that you get the best audio quality possible and the enormous size of the file.

The second disadvantage is that to store such a large file you need a lot of space. Especially if you have a larger workload which will most definitely result in the need to store a significant amount of WAV files, sometimes when you have limited storage options, even cloud storage won’t help you out. So you need to think hard in advance about how you would save your precious projects that are too heavy.

Thirdly, WAV files are not a friendly option if you are focused on the digital distribution of your music. Again, all those issues emerge because of the file size. However, those particular issues are slowly getting resolved due to much cheaper servers and a lot faster network connection, almost to the point where it couldn’t be considered an issue.

When using WAV is a good idea

We can’t stress enough the importance of choosing the WAV format for recording anything that needs to be mastered afterward. Whenever you are recording musical instruments or voice, you choose WAV because of the most accurate sound reproduction. And an almost unprecedented flexibility when it comes to editing possibilities and compatibility with different platforms and various instances of recording software.

Are you still not confident that a WAV file should be your top choice? Maybe you do not know that when you record in WAV, you do not lose any frequencies within the whole range. As a nice touch – the sound signal is not changed in any way either. To continue speaking in favor of this audio format, we assure you that the WAV format can be accessed by various software programs and is compatible with MacOS and Windows operating systems.

If you are working specifically with podcasts, you should try the WAV format because it is really easy to edit the audio after everything is recorded. As we mentioned already about almost unlimited compatibility, we shall add that some of the podcast recording software comes with useful features that help you manipulate raw audio data. To convince you even more, WAV files are not compressed at all and capture the whole frequency range from as low as 20 Hz to as high as 20kHz. This means that the listeners of your podcast can enjoy the tiniest nuances of the show.

What is WAV

WAV file format, which is immensely loved by music producers and sound engineers, has existed for over 3 decades and first emerged in the world in 1991. WAV was developed by IBM and Microsoft, so it is natural that it was the main format used for uncompressed and raw audio files on Windows OS. Interestingly enough, the WAV file can contain uncompressed and compressed audio. Though, the WAV files that contain uncompressed audio are used more often because the audio stored is the highest quality.

You may wonder why WAV files are supreme and favored by many. The truth is hidden in details – WAV files consist of information about the audio files, such as bit depth, sample rate, number of tracks, and mono or stereo property. While many know that WAV files often weigh a lot, there is still a limit to their size. Your file should not exceed 4 GB in size, or it could not be encoded in WAV format. Frankly speaking, a WAV file that weighs 4 GB contains in itself almost 7 hours of audio material. If you are not going to be a podcaster and more of a mere music producer, you should not worry at all about file size.