What Is Sample Format?

The meta information of Sample Format can be found in all kinds of audio files, as well as in video files. In some cases, other file types can contain a value for Sample Format as well. Oftentimes, when you look at the metadata of your file, Sample Format is shortened and thus represented as “sample fmt”. Here, the fmt is simply an abbreviation for format.

But what does the Sample Format say about your file? This information is used to determine the number of bits used per sample. The higher the number of bits per sample in a file, the more data can be stored in this sample. Thus, 8bit contains less data than a Sample Format of 16bit. There are some very commonly used Sample Formats. They are listed below, going from low to high quality:

  • 8bit
  • 16bit
  • 24bit

Together with the number of bits per sample, more information that further defines the Sample Format is often given when checking the metadata of your file. For example:

  • u16 – unsigned 16 bits
  • s16 – signed 16 bits
  • s16p – signed 16 bits, planar
  • flt – float
  • fltp – float, planar
  • dbl – double
  • dblp – double, planar