Sound compression

In this context, ‘sound compression’, or ‘audio compression’, refers to techniques used to eliminate redundant information of a sound file in order to reduce its size, enabling more efficient storage and transmission.

Audio files can be compressed using both lossy and lossless algorithms. Using a lossy algorithm will result in a smaller file size (approximately 5-20% of the original file size) than if a lossless algorithm is used (approximately 50-60% of the original file size), which means that they tend to be more popular. However, lossless compression does not compromise on playback quality, and is becoming increasingly more preferable, due to greater computing power and hard disk space.

With lossless compression, the compressed file can be expanded to achieve an exact replica of the original sound. It tends to be used for archives, editing, or if high fidelity playback is required.

In lossy compression, as well as using various methods to reduce perpetual redundancy (sounds that cannot be detected by the human ear), a technique called ‘noise shaping’ is applied, where the noise caused by reduction of the file’s bit-rate is ‘hidden’. Speech can be compressed more than music before a reduction in quality is audible. These changes made to the original file are irreversible. Lossy compression tends to be used for streaming media on the Internet, and for digital television.

Related methods include: General website development and Streaming media.

tool: Pro Tools

Pro Tools is an audio creation and production software. With Pro Tools it is possible to compose, record, edit, and mix music or sound for picture — all within one system.
Methods relating to this toolCategory
Audio mixingPractice-led research
Music recognitionData capture
Sound analysisData analysis
Sound compressionData structuring and enhancement
Sound editingData structuring and enhancement
Sound editingPractice-led research
Sound encodingData structuring and enhancement
Sound encoding - MIDIData structuring and enhancement
Sound generationData capture
Sound generationPractice-led research
Sound recordingData capture
Sound recordingPractice-led research
Lifecycle stage:
Alternate tool(s):

Cubase, Reaper, Nuendo

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