@DD and Guitarman:
The problem lies in if I want to actually be able to use them for what I want, in this case being ringtones, which I currently need to convert to M4A because apple is stupid. I can trim and loop the wavs themselves perfectly fine though... so after my planned switch to an android I'll hopefully just be able to use that.
I'm surprised you can't use aif or alac for ringtones, but in the 5 years I've had an Apple device I ashamedly never tried to create my own ringtones. And I've heard with IOS 11 it's even harder to do, though I'm not sure. If you wanted, I could hook you up with a command line program and a GUI to control it, which uses the Quick Time encoder which I think is the same one used by ITunes. It sounds complicated, but it's simple to set up. All you'd do is add files to a list, set some parameters and press start. This seems easier than ITunes. But it sounds like you're more ready for Android than to do that. I don't know much about Android's file formats either. I do have an Android tablet, but i don't have it connected to a cellular network so I don't know if I culd test ringtones with it. I'd not need to get calls, just to hear if the ringtones play and loop correctly. I may work on that in future if I get bored.
It's not really anything to make too big of a deal over, I'm just a perfectionist when it comes to this kind of thing, luckily I don't do it often...
I am a perfectionist too, probably way more than you are. So I definitely understand that feeling of wanting to know how to fix it .
What is the smallest sized audio file I can get with goldwave? I heard mp3 was the smallest audio compression but I'm not sure if it's true. What I need is a file format that has a small size, but still maintains high audio quality.
What you are looking for is not necessarily a format and its size, but how good a format sounds at a particular bit rate. IF you have, say, a 128 kbps WMA file that's a minute long, and a 128 KBPS MP3 that's also a minute long, both will be of similar size. That size will decrease either if the length is shortened, or the bitrate is lowered, or both. If you compress to a low bit rate, the sound quality will be worse than if you compressed to a higher rate. This applies to all formats.
If you want the best-sounding files at the lowest bit rates, then I will list my preference here. If, however, you find that bit rates of 128, 160 or even higher are manageable, then any of these formats should sound decent at those rates, and the one you choose can be more of a compatibility choice. It's only if you want lower that the sound quality is worth considering imho.
Out of the five lossy formats that Gold Wave supports, I'd say Opus is your best bet. It is a new format gaining popularity and compatibility, and sounds good at pretty much all bit rates. Where it shines imho is in the 48 kbps and up range of rates. Many people use 64 or 96 kbps Opus for things that they need to sound reasonable. So I'd say that if your stuff can play opus files, use that. Test different bit rates until you find one that sounds acceptable to you.
Ogg isn't far behind in its compatibility and quality, though I think it doesn't quite sound as good below 96 kbps. At 64 and down, the audio gets too blurry and rough, and I find this more objectionable than the sort of gritty spacy tinkling of Opus. Both formats give me small headaches if I listen to low bit rate audio for an extended period. Still, to some people, these artifacts are acceptable, and ogg is I think more recognized than Opus and is still being used a lot. I do think though that Opus will eventually replace it.
WMA (Windows Media Audio) is kinda interesting because there are two versions of the format which come with most installations of Windows and which Gold Wave can access. WMA 9.2 and WMA 10 Professional are the ones most suited for your goals. I wouldn't bother with 9.2; most players can handle the pro format, although you may have to install codecs to update the default ones. On my system anyway, the audio sounds a little muffled unless you install updated codecs. I personally like WMA Pro at low rates, almost as much as Opus. Anything above 48 kbps sounds half decent to me, considering the low rate anyway. I'm not as big a fan at higher rates. WMA has artifacts that are occasionally left behind. They can't be heard often, but sometimes they can be more obvious.
MP3 and M4a are probably the most compatible formats, but they don't sound good with low rates. The lowest I'd recommend with any of them is 128, and that's in an emergency. I can still hear artifacts at 128 with mp3 at least. There are external converters which can do better, especially for m4a where additional compression modes are available, but Gold Wave can't use those converters.
Make more of less, that way you won't make less of more!
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