Best quality encoding when exporting "8-bit 8kHz Mono WAV" sample in Audacity?


I would like to know if there is a difference in the quality of audio when choosing between 8-bit WAV formats in Audacity Export?

My Current method:

  1. Change "Project Rate (Hz)" in the bottom left corner to "8000"
  2. Select "Tracks --> Stereo Track to Mono"
  3. Select "File --> Export..."
  4. Select "Other uncompressed files" then click "Options..."
  5. Select Header as "WAV (Microsoft)"

Now I have the choice of various different "Encoding" schemes.

Since it's uncompressed audio I'm assuming there won't be a difference in quality between the different options.

Just to be sure, since my target device for my client accepts all types (apparently), is there one I should choose in particular for the best quality?

So far I tried A-Law and U-Law and they said that's fine but audio might suffer from compression. I'm not sure if that's correct as it's uncompressed, and A-Law and U-Law are encoding schemes as far as I'm aware.

Possibly "Unsigned 8 bit PCM" is what I should select?

Any thoughts would be most welcome!

Simon Bosley

Posted 2014-08-25T11:59:21.367

Reputation: 768



8-bit 8K isn't going to be great quality in any case, but WAV is as good as you can do. Straight uncompressed MS-format (RIFF) WAV is the most compatible format for interchange.

There are two senses of 'compressed' at work here. U (mu)-law and A-law refer to schemes for compressing dynamic range, not for reducing file size. Typically they would be 'expanded' when played or received, to restore dynamic range. They're not much used except in telephony.

Jim Mack

Posted 2014-08-25T11:59:21.367

Reputation: 1 661

Thanks for the brief overview of what U (mu)-law and A-law schemes refer to. I'd heard these schemes were used in telephony, the dynamic compression bit is new to me. In the end I was able to use WAV (Microsoft) Unsigned 8 bit PCM and that was fine. – Simon Bosley – 2014-08-26T22:22:44.973