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PCM stands for pulse code modulation. In the context of audio coding PCM encodes an audio waveform in the time domain as a series of amplitudes.

PCM Parameters

Resolution/Sample Size

This parameter specifies the amount of data used to represent each discrete amplitude sample. The most common values are 8 bits (1 byte), which gives a range of 256 amplitude steps, or 16 bits (2 bytes), which gives a range of 65536 amplitude steps. Other sizes, such as 12, 20, and 24 bits, are occasionally seen. Some king-sized formats even opt for 32 and 64 bits per sample.

Byte Order


Channels And Interleaving

Frequency And Sample Rate

Integer And Floating Point

PCM Types

Linear PCM

Logarithmic PCM

Platform-Specific PCM Identifiers And Characteristics


Microsoft WAV/AVI/ASF Identifiers

Apple Macintosh

Apple QuickTime Identifiers

Redbook CD Audio

Sega CD

Identifying PCM Data