64-bit WAV

For those who need serious high resolution the EBU released the BW64 standard last month. I.e. 64-bit WAV files.

It is published by the International Telecommunications Union as ITU-R BS.2088-1

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Indeed, thanks. The new file format is aimed at addressing current limitations, according to the Recommendation, on removing the current 4Gbyte file size limit, support for advanced multichannel, and enhanced support for technical metadata.

Should note BW64 is based on the WAVE RIFF structure, but is not WAVE audio file format… So the thread title is slightly misleading. Sections 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6 of the Rec. define some of the key differences between WAV and BW64 file formats. I think it unlikely a WAV file reader/player could interpret a BW64 file, unless specifically designed to read BW64 files.

I have been working with ProTools the last few weeks and the 2020.9 version already support the 64-bit format. These days (in fact the last 15 years) most quality plugins upsample from 24 to 64-bit (and then back again) to internally have the headroom needed for EQ algorihms (or think advanced software instruments) and so on.

So it is from this view it makes sense to use 64 and avoid all the up/down-sampling when you use 24-bit (or 32-bit float which has 24-bit precision in practice).

As a distribution format for listeners 64-bit makes no sense and would just cause a lot of listening equipment become obsolete.

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