Music Production Tutorials
Ebony Red Music Group

Common Audio File Formats

Within dance music a variety of file formats are used for different purposes. Each has its limitations and benefits.


There are 3 main file types within an MP3. These are 192 Kbps, 256 Kbps and 320 Kbps (Kilobit Per Second). These numbers correspond to the ‘bit-depth of the file, the lower the number the smaller the file size and the lower the sound quality.

When sending demos to labels always use the 320 Kbps MP3 format for the highest sound quality and detail. 192 Kbps and 256 Kbps are suitable for clips and general listening.

MP3 ID3 and Metadata

When encoding MP3 it is highly recommended to add your artist name details into the file. This can be done at source or right clicking the mp3 file and looking under ‘properties.’ For example, when displaying an mp3 in iTunes all the tabs including Artist, Album, and Genre are taken from this information within the MP3 file.

WAV (Windows Audio File) by Microsoft

There is a large range of formats within the ‘WAV’ file consisting of two parts, bit depth and sample rate. The standard format is 44.1 KHz (sample rate) and 16bit (bit depth). When preparing a WAV for mastering this is normally either 44.1KHz or 48KHz and 24bit.

The sample rate can go as high as 96KHz in a studio environment but is only used on rare occasions on top end equipment. You may come across a WAV bit depth of 32bit float which is sometimes used in highly specified studios.

AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) by Apple

This is the equivalent of the WAV file normally used by Mac users. It is also uncompressed and the highest quality file used for music production.