What is an audio codec?

In this new post in our sound section we will see what an audio codec is. Basically, we have to be clear that this is a small piece of software designed to make music readable by computers. In other words, if we can listen to music on different computers, it is thanks to the use of a certain audio codec that encodes and decodes the data stored on the disk in question.

Audio codecs

Actually, the word “codec” is an abbreviation for “encoder-decoder”. We use them to compress and decompress audio through encoding (compression) and decoding (decompressing) the audio file. As we say, the essential objective is none other than to make multimedia files smaller and, in this way, not take up as much space on computers and are easier to transfer over the Internet.

Codecs and hardware

Speaking of hardware, audio codecs are somewhat different. When we connect an analog source to the computer, it connects directly to an audio codec to transfer digital sound to analog or vice versa (in the case of microphones). This is usually accomplished by connecting a device to the input / output line of the system connectors. These connectors are similar to those found in portable CD players or MP3 players. We refer to the classic headphone jack.

Each of the audio formats that we can face (MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAVE …) requires different codecs to work properly.

For example, MP3, WMA, and OGG are known as lossy . This is because they do not retain the full quality of what is being converted. In contrast, lossless codecs such as WAVE or FLAC can transmit high-quality full audio. However, the former are more popular because they require less memory, less time and also less resources to transfer the audio.

Generally, any device capable of playing audio that also has a computer uses codecs. From car radios to mobile phones and broadcasting equipment.

Compatibility

One of the problems that can arise with audio codecs is the one caused by the large number that exists. Finding the right codecs can be difficult because they usually come in packages . They are specifically designed to work with a certain type of file and format. For example, codec «A» could work with the MP3 player, but codec «B» could not offer any sound due to compatibility problems.

What is a codec pack?

On many occasions, we come across movies, music or video in little-known formats that we cannot reproduce. This is because, as we said before, we do not have the necessary codecs to correctly reproduce these files.

This is where we will have to resort to a codec pack or “Codec Pack”, a program that incorporates all the necessary codecs so that, when playing a video or song, it can be done without problems. In addition there will be no adjustment of parameters or the like, just install them and access the digital content.

When we want to listen to a song and the player warns us that the file is incompatible and that a codec must be installed, we can choose CodecInstaller . It is an application that will allow us to identify and install the necessary codecs to reproduce these files. What it does is detect which audio and video codecs are installed on the system to determine which ones are needed and to assist in their installation. It allows us to analyze files in AVI, MPEG, WMV, WMA, OGG, MP3, MP4 formats, etc. It also gives us additional information such as width and height, ratio, duration, size, and bitrate.

 

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