WAV

WAV or WAVE (Waveform Audio File Format): Audio file format for Windows developed by Microsoft and IBM. WAV support was built into Windows 95 and has become an industry standard since. A variety of applications now support WAV files, as do additional operating system platforms, such as Macintosh. WAV indicates “sound file”, not a specific format of the file. WAV files can be 1-24 channels, 8-32 bit, fixed-point or floating point, compressed or uncompressed, etc. The WAV specification includes an “others” area, called the INFO CHUNK, which can be stored any additional data (e.g. a database, text, video, pictures, etc.). The INFO CHUNK, in the file “header”, is most commonly used to store metadata. While widely adopted, there is no standard format for this information.
Source: BCR

WAV appeals to the audiophile mind, probably because if you rip a CD to WAV the result is as close as you can get to the CD-format (uncompressed 16 bits/ 44.1 kHz PCM audio).
In your audiophile fervor, you rip all your CDs to WAV.


One day you tried another player or you move the files to a new computer and find out that album title, song title, art work, all the Meta data you provided are gone.
All those hours you spend meticulously adding the right information are wasted.

This is the paradox of WAV, the support for the music part is almost universal, the support of tagging haphazard.

 

Due to all these technical problems a lot of people believe that it is impossible to tag WAV. This is not true; it's a matter of writing the tags in the info chunk.

Although the standard support a lot of tags, few are of relevance for the user like
IART (artist)
INAM (title)
IPRD (product)
IGNR (genre)
ITRK (track number)


Obvious a very crucial one, Album is missing. Likewise cover art.

This makes this tagging schema almost useless.

A lot of applications simply don't read and/or write these tags.

 

If you decide to go for WAV you can use the following strategies:

  1. Don't tag, use a well-defined file structure to browse your collection.

    You need meaningful file names.
    Use a fixed name convention like track/composer/album/opus/song/year/performer.
    Some player software can populate their library by parsing the file name and the reverse, renaming the file using the information in the library.
    Maybe they can stomach something like this:
    1_Franz Schubert _Schubert: Lieder, Vol. 2 (Box Set)_D. 699_Der entsühnte Orest ("Zu meinen Füssen brichst du dich"), song for voice & piano _1820_Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau / Gerald Moore
    Beware of the 256 byte limit for the length of path/filename.
    Beware of special characters, if you transfer from Win to Linux (NAS) some special characters gives problems.

  2. Moving library and audio.
    As most media players allows you to enter all kind of information but stores this in the library (database) only  and not in the audio, a possible but risky scenario is to move both library and the audio files to another PC.
    Both library and audio has to be in the same location on the new machine.
    However, the moment you want to use another media player, all information is lost.


  3. Media players supporting tagging WAV
    JRiver Media Center, dBpoweramp, Foobar can read/write tags in WAV.
    They write ID3 style tags (see below).
    Again, when moving to another media player you run the risk of losing all information.


  4. Don't tag but use a cue sheet

  5. Use BWF
    This is sometimes recommended on audio forums.
    The Broadcast Wave Standard is an extension of the original WAV standard but most of the additional tags as defined by this standard are of little relevance within the context of a media player (assuming it supports BWF)

  6. Don't use WAV but use a lossless format which supports tagging.
    If in doubt if this would compromise sound quality, do an ABX comparison between WAV and its lossless alternative.
    Don't forget, lossless is lossless, given the right software you don't tie your hands, you can always convert to another lossless format without compromising sound quality.

From 14.1 on, dBpoweramp supports uncompressed FLAC

FLAC encoder wording changed, also includes a FLAC Uncompressed encoding option (which stores audio uncompressed, for those who want WAVE PCM but with better ID Tagging).
Source : dBpoweramp

This sounds like we finally have WAV with excellent tagging options.

Open WAV

A couple of developers use the same convention to write IDV3 tags in WAV.

This convention is supported by

There might be others but these are the ones known to me.

 

This is a track ripped to WAV by dBpoweramp

At the bottom of the file you will find ID3 tags.

Most of the time the tags are written in the header of a file.
If there isn’t enough space the entire file must be rewritten.
If an error is made this might invalidate the entire audio part too.
Writing the tags at the end of the file solves these problems.

Excellent solution.

 

dBpoweramp

In Win Explorer you can view and edit them using the dBpoweramp plug-in.

Foobar

Foobar reads them without a flaw.

 

JRiver

Uncompressed Audio File (wav)
44.1 kHz, 16 bit, 2 ch

ID3v2.3 Tag: (243712 bytes)
TXXX (AccurateRipResult): AccurateRip: Accurate (confidence 3) [91E21E50]
TXXX (AccurateRipDiscID): 007-000fbf96-005c4772-670c4407-2
TIT2 (Name): Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern, incidental music, D. 797 (Op. 26): Entr'acte in B major (Andantino)
TPOS (Disc #): 1/1
TYER (Year): 1992
TCOM (Composer): Franz Schubert
TPE3 (Conductor): Jos van Immerseel
TPUB (Publisher): Channel Classics
TXXX (UPC): 723385429227
APIC (Image File) (Cover): <too large to display>
TALB (Album): Schubert: Rosamunde; Symphony No. 5
TCON (Genre): Classical
TPE1 (Artist): Jos van Immerseel
TPE2 (Album Artist): Jos van Immerseel
TXXX (Orchestra): Anima Eterna Orchestra
TXXX (Catalog #): CCS 4292
TIT1 (Grouping): Symphonic
TXXX (Period): Romantic
COMM (Comment): dBpoweramp in WAV
TRCK (Track #): 2/7
TMED: CD (Lossless)
TENC: dBpoweramp Release 14.2
TXXX (Encoder): Wave
TSSE (Encoding Settings): -compression="PCM"

MusiCHI

MusicBee

MusicBee support not all of them.

I miss the composer tag most of all

 

Windows Media Player 12

Poor support.


References

Multimedia Programming Interface and Data Specifications 1.0 - IBM Corporation and Microsoft Corporation

Experiments with tagged WAV files on WXP - Tony Lauck

Wave File Format - Sonic Spot