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WAVE is an audio container format. It contains uncompressed audio data.
Check Wikipedia article for general information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAV

WAVE stands for Waveform Audio File Format, more commonly known as WAV due to its filename extension. WAV files usually contain raw PCM audio (8, 16 or 24 bits, mono or stereo, at any sampling rate)
This format is very simple: it uses a short header with a nested atoms structure. Main atoms RIFF, WAVE, 'fmt ', data.

RIFF atom contains 'fmt ' and data atoms, raw audio is inside data atom. Nested atoms are like boxes.

If you look inside a WAV file with an hex editor, we can read the file header:

0000000: 5249 4646 64a9 0400 5741 5645            RIFFd...WAVE
RIFF and WAVE atoms identify the file format as WAV. Between RIFF and WAVE, we have 64a9 04 00, which reads 0x4a964, reversing bytes order: It's the length in bytes of the payload of RIFF. Since RIFF is the top atom, payload is the rest of the file, so our length corresponds to the file size minus 8.

Let's continue.

000000c: 666d 7420 1000 0000 0100 0100 112b 0000  fmt .........+..
000001c: 2256 0000 0200 1000                      "V......
Next comes a 'fmt ' atom, length 0x10 bytes, containing audio configuration:
  • addr 0x16: 0x0100 = 1 channel (mono)
  • addr 0x18: 0x112B0000 = 11025 Hz (0x2b11 reversing bytes order)
  • addr 0x1c: 0x22560000 = bytes per second (0x5622 = 22050)
  • addr 0x22: 0x1000 = 16 bits per sample
0000024: 6461 7461 40a9 0400 faff aefe 2cfb defa  data@.......,...
0000034: 56fa e0f8 25fc 8dfc 4ffc aafa a2fb 2600  V...%...O.....&.
0000044: 5601 af02 1202 8300 54ff 48fd 30f9 5cf9  V.......T.H.0.\.
0000054: bbf8 a1f9 54fd 1400 4601 3403 2d03 f601  ....T...F.4.-...
Finally, data atom contains the PCM raw data. Payload length is 0x4a940. We can calculate audio duration: 0x4a940 / 22050 bytes per second gives 13.85 seconds.

How to fix a corrupt WAV file?

The easiest way is certainly to ask our Treasured Repair Service to do it for you.
But for those who are not afraid of using an Hex editor and want to experiment a bit, use this technique:

Success rate: High
Technique used: Container Structure Correction
Tools: Hex editor

If the file is damaged and doesn't open, it's probably because some atoms in the file header are not properly written. If a live recording session has crashed or hanged, the following atoms will not have the proper value set:

  • RIFF must be followed by (file length - 8), encoded on 32 bits (little endian)
  • data must be followed by (file length - x - 8), where x is the data addr, encoded on 32 bits (little endian)

In this example, our 2 values are set to 0 because recording did not end gracefully. If we enter the correct values, audio will be playable.

0000000: 5249 4646 0000 0000 5741 5645 666d 7420  RIFF....WAVEfmt 
0000010: 1000 0000 0100 0200 80bb 0000 0065 0400  .............e..
0000020: 0600 1800 6461 7461 0000 0000 5f8f 029c  ....data...._...
0000030: 2c01 2783 024e 3401 5d8b 0244 2901 8a9a  ,.'..N4.]..D)...
0000040: 0201 1a01 43b0 028f 2101 87d0 0239 3801  ....C...!....98.

  • File size is 9999134 bytes (0x98931E), so length after RIFF is 0x989316. Don't forget to reverse bytes order.
  • Length after data is 0x9892F2 (9999134 - 36 - 8).

After entering the values, the repaired header looks like this:

0000000: 5249 4646 1693 9800 5741 5645 666d 7420  RIFF....WAVEfmt 
0000010: 1000 0000 0100 0200 80bb 0000 0065 0400  .............e..
0000020: 0600 1800 6461 7461 f292 9800 5f8f 029c  ....data...._...
0000030: 2c01 2783 024e 3401 5d8b 0244 2901 8a9a  ,.'..N4.]..D)...
0000040: 0201 1a01 43b0 028f 2101 87d0 0239 3801  ....C...!....98.

Don't forget to this extension to the file name: .wav

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