Recording in a standard .wav format

Apologies if this has been answered before. I searched the forums and couldn’t find a definitive answer.
I have recorded some tracks and want to convert the individual tracks to mp3. When I try to do this using LAME, it warns me that it can’t recognise the .wav format, and the resulting mp3 is garbage.
From reading on this forum, I’ve gleaned that Ardour uses a non standard “native” .wav format for individual tracks, and that to convert to a “standard” format, I have to “export” each track.
Is there any way to record individual tracks directly in a standard .wav format, without having to do the extra “export” step?

Options -> Audio File Format -> Header -> WAV

Note that LAME is behaving incorrectly. Ardour’s Broadcast WAVE (BWF) files are 100% legal “WAV” files, but they include a chunk (the “BWF” chunk that is an EBU standard) which “homegrown” WAV reading code frequently chokes on. Applications that use libsndfile or other standards-conforming code can read BWF without problems.

Thanks Paul. I’ll give that a go.
Very interesting. I’ve found that XMMS plays the wav files ok, whereas Amarok chokes on them.
Do you know if there is a way to get LAME to use libsndfile? Or is there an alternative mp3 encoder that can read BWF files?

by the way, what are the advantages to using BWF format over .wav?

BWF includes a timestamp indicating where on a timeline the file’s natural position should be,information on the organization that created the file, and a history of how the data in the file has been encoded and recoded over time. It was developed for the broadcast industry, where they need to track file content in different ways than most musicians do. The timestamp, however, is very useful.

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wow. 2 years later I can finally answer my own question.

I just got this working by using Audacity. You can batch convert all the bwf files to standard .wav format (or mp3 or whatever)

Here is what I did

  • Install Audacity, version 1.3.3 or higher. Earlier versions did not support bwf.
  • In Audacity, go File->Edit Chains
  • Click ‘Add’ to add a new Chain. Give the chain a name.
  • Click Insert.
  • Double click on ‘Export wav’ in the list. Click OK.
  • Click OK again.
  • Back in the main screen, go File->Apply chain
  • Choose the Chain you just created.
  • Click “Apply to Files”
  • Select one or more .bwf files you want to convert (you can convert all your files in one go)
  • Click OK. Audacity will start to convert the files.

The files will be saved in the “Cleaned” subdirectory.

LAME can convert these files to mp3 without any problems.

i don’t know nothing about the BWF-thing…but here in Audacity I can directly encode the waves from ardour into MP3

and you were looking for an mp3 player, i like a lot the vintage looking norton commander like mocp player. it has no special features but can play wav mp3 ogg flac and works nicely with jack . just to check the sound meanwhile you work with ardour or something else using jack for me it was the best solution, cause the vlc player for example always closes the jack connection when you stop it and its a hassle…

That’s very interesting. I also read this page and one question came to mind : Is wav the best base for this? Could we imagine working in a near future on another format that is lossless, have a kind of compression that makes it lightweight for RAM and storage, like some kind of FLAC? I don’t know much about audio file formats so this question is very naive. Does wav still have essential pros? If so, what are they?

it’s always a tradeoff between the realtime CPU cost of compressing and uncompressing data and the extra storage cost of the uncompressed format. in memory it will always have the same format and so there is no different to the RAM implications.

disk storage is so cheap now that its hard to argue that this is a limiting factor, and i suspect most people would prefer their CPU work on FX and not data compression/decompression.

Compressed data makes sense only for saving disk space. Audio must always be decompressed before it can be played back, because the sound card only understands uncompressed data. It doesn’t matter if it’s video or audio, the data needs to be uncompressed for playback so there is no real advantage for having the compressed version in Ram.