WavPack allows you to losslessly compress (and restore) both 16 and 24-bit audio files in the .WAV format. Unlike "lossy" compression schemes (like MP3) that discard information, WavPack converts the audio data into a more compact form so that the restored files are digitally identical to the original source. It's somewhat like the file compression portion of WinZIP except that it's optimized for audio data. Like other lossless compression schemes the data reduction varies with the source, but it is generally between 25% and 50% for typical popular music and somewhat better than that for classical music and other sources with greater dynamic range.
WavPack also incorporates a unique "hybrid" mode that provides all the advantages of lossless compression with an additional bonus. Instead of creating a single file, this mode creates both a relatively small, high-quality lossy file that can be used all by itself, and a "correction" file that (when combined with the lossy file) provides full lossless restoration. For some users this means never having to choose between lossless and lossy compression!
WavPack 3.97 Features:
- completely free and open source!
- unique hybrid mode (provides high quality lossy + "correction" file)
- perfect for archiving audio (16, 20, and 24-bit, mono or stereo)
- easily the fastest program of its type, yet gives good compression
- small, efficient executable (no large programs or dlls to install)
- intuitive command line interface (with wildcards and destination directory)
- selectable raw mode for any non-wav files (including CD image files)
- seekable winamp plugin with ID3v1, APEv2 and ReplayGain support
- Cool Edit file filter with 24-bit and "extra information" support
- complete piping support for wav and raw audio data
- fully backward compatible to WavPack 1.0
- create self-extracting archives
- Windows frontend available
- 32-bit error detection
5/31/2003: Two more great applications now include WavPack support! Cool Edit 2000 and Cool Edit Pro are probably the most popular Windows audio file editors and the new (open source) file filter for WavPack supports all the WavPack file types (up to 24-bit) and even supports saving the "extra information" (like cue and play lists, artist / title information, even EBU extensions) right in the WavPack file. Also, dBpowerAMP is a great all-in-one Windows package that offers an audio player, a audio file converter, an audio CD ripper and burner, and a utility that allows conversion to various formats (now including WavPack) directly from a soundcard's line input (this is very handy for ripping LPs or tapes!). Finally, the winamp plugin has been updated to handle APEv2 tags and support ReplayGain which can equalize the volume of all your audio files so you aren't always jumping for the volume control. Download everything at the bottom of the page (including updated sources).
2/18/2003: WavPack 3.97 is available for download and will probably be the last update before the version 4.0 introduction. The only functional changes are a fix for proper operation with shntool (which now supports WavPack format files) and by using UPX the self-extraction overhead has been reduced to only 26k. In other news, the great new Windows audio player called foobar2000 now natively supports WavPack files.
12/13/2002: The real-mode DOS versions of WavPack have been updated to version 3.4 and now include all of the features of the current Windows versions except long filenames and self-extraction. Also, the winamp plugin has been updated to version 1.7 with a few minor bug fixes. Finally, if anyone would like to contribute to WavPack by creating plugins, porting it to other platforms, or incorporating it into other applications, this is now possible with the release of the source code under the BSD Software License. Downloads are at the bottom of the page.
10/22/2002: WavPack3.96 has improved compression in the default and "high" lossless modes (at about the same speed) and complete stdin and stdout support (for wav and raw audio files). In addition, a filename related bug has been fixed. The winamp plugin has been updated to handle the new files and has had a seeking bug fixed. Download the whole package below.
- 5/7/2002: A great new Windows frontend has been created for WavPack. Now there's no need to remember all the WavPack options because all the major modes and features are directly visible, plus there's better support for filenames with international characters. WavPack 3.95 is required for this new frontend, and it has a couple of new features as well. It can now do batch processing from a list file in cases where wildcards aren't applicable, and WvUnpack can restore directly to stdout for use with certain encoders that don't require an intermediate wav file. Finally, some problems were fixed that caused 3.94 to run slowly sometimes.
- 4/15/2002: A highly tuned predictor has been developed and incorporated into all new high modes for both the lossless and the new hybrid compression options of WavPack. For pure lossless compression, the old high setting is now the default and is still the recommended mode, but in cases where the minimum possible file size is important, the new high mode gives about 1% to 3% better compression. In the hybrid mode the new high setting additionally improves the audio quality of the lossy files. Also, by popular request, the winamp plugin now uses the .wvc files for lossless playback of hybrid files (although a new configuration option allows the user to turn this off if desired). Finally, all three programs now display their batch progress status on the title bar for easy monitoring when minimized.
- 1/13/2002: The biggest news is the total replacement of WavPack's lossy mode with an all new hybrid mode. This mode is similar to the old lossy mode, except that it provides significantly better performance and provides the option of generating a correction file that will allow the user to restore the original .wav exactly. In a way, this gives the user all the advantages of lossless compression with the free bonus of a reasonably small lossy file that be kept permanently on a hard drive or easily shared. I have found that 320 kbps gives transparent performance in the vast majority of cases, and the mode will work down to about 265 kbps. This also works with the self-extraction feature, so that someone could download the lossy self-extracting version, and then if they liked the selection they could download the correction file and rerun the self-extractor to generate a lossless copy without wasting the time they had already spent downloading. Also, ID3v1 support has been added to the winamp plugin and there are a couple great new Windows frontends available. Get the whole package below.
- 10/16/2001: I recently ran into a couple files that compressed a lot worse on WavPack than on some of its competitors. Investigation of this produced a new decorrelation algorithm for the high modes that is much better than before, but still almost as fast. Generally, this gives about 1% better lossless compression and 1 dB less noise in lossy mode, but in some files the difference is up to five times greater! While I was at it I fixed a couple minor bugs in the winamp plugin and reduced the size of the self-extraction overhead. Get the whole package below.
- 9/22/2001: Two new WavPack versions are available today! First, I finally figured out why WavPack runs so much slower on the Windows 2000 / NT platform than on the Win9x platform and have created a special version to correct this. If you are using Win9x then there's really no reason to upgrade from 3.9 because no bugs have been fixed or features added. However, if you are (or plan on) using Windows 2000 or NT, then this new version (3.91) could as much as double the speed of WavPack for you! Also, because of my increased confidence in this version I have removed the beta status. WavPack is now unquestionably the fastest lossless audio compressor available!
Second, by popular request I have put most of the latest WavPack features (including 24-bit audio support and high mode) into the real-mode DOS version. The only features not ported from the Windows version are self-extraction and long filenames.
- 8/31/2001: There's been such a good response to the self-extraction feature that I have made it available directly on the WavPack 3.9b command line, so there's no longer a need to create the executable file in a separate operation (unless you want to start with an existing .WV file). Also, a "verify only" option has been added to WvUnpack and a bitrate display bug has been fixed in the winamp plugin. Get the whole package below in one zip file!
- 8/7/2001: Added enhancement to self-extraction utility to allow archives to be stored on read-only devices (like CD-Rs). If the self-extraction fails then a standard Windows "Extract To" dialog box appears and allows the user to specify an alternate target device and/or filename.
- 7/6/2001: New utility allows making self-extracting archives from any WavPack file! Now you don't need to worry about including any other programs to distribute or store .WV files, and the additional overhead for self-extraction is only 60K per file. Download the utility and instructions below.
- 6/25/2001: WavPack 3.8 beta is ready and is a big improvement over 3.7b! All modes are at least 25% faster, and the lossless "high" mode gives up to 0.5% better compression and is over 60% faster! There is also a new option to copy the input file's time stamp to the output file, and some little cosmetic enhancements. Check it out!
- 6/21/2001: Winamp plugin with full 24-bit playback support (and a new file info box) is ready for download. Obviously, this requires a 24-bit capable soundcard to play 24-bit files. WavPack 3.8 is almost ready with faster compression and higher ratios. Stay tuned!
- 3/27/2001: WavPack 3.7 beta released with full 20 and 24-bit audio support. Winamp plugin enhancement to support 24-bit audio will be finished soon.
- 12/25/2000: Winamp plugin finally finished, complete with seeking! Now you can play all your WavPack files without unpacking them. Download it and try it out!
- 7/9/2000: 32-bit WavPack 3.6 beta released with new "high" (-h) mode for better lossless compression and quieter lossy compression (with a slight speed hit, of course). Also, work has begun on winamp playback plugin!
- 6/26/2000: 32-bit WavPack 3.5 beta released (includes long filename support, higher performance, and extended .wav file info handling)
- 6/11/2000: WavPack.com goes online with the release of version 3.2
Download WavPack 3.97
Windows frontend for WavPack
WavPack Technical Description
(real DOS version)
Download Cool Edit plugin 1.0
Download Source Code
Contact the author at david at wavpack