WAVE Files, Update

Based on the flurry of activity on my last post, it is clear that some are having problems with the Radiohead WAVE files.

Not everyone is having trouble with them – I was able to convert the WAVE files to both FLAC and MP3 with no problems. I have listened to the entire album and hear nothing to suggest the WAVE files were bad (the music is at times is a bit glitchy).

I can think of two possible explanations for what is happening. Either some people are getting corrupted downloads, or some versions of iTunes are having compatibility problems with the WAVE files.

Here’s the MD5, file size, and name for the ZIP file I downloaded:

f93eac068652e994d391291fdd1add21 385744125 TheKingOfLimbs-WAV.zip

And here are the same for all the WAVE files inside the ZIP:

8347a359c0fff1aa031132b6a8a088e4 55510664 01 Bloom.wav
6c1865c89cd11b53e155022d4983ad26 49523004 02 MorningMrMagpie.wav
f0ebc83eb7c71844e626de390b4ee87a 47130338 03 LittleByLittle.wav
913f19f3c1111f776f0e9719ca05e653 34001264 04 Feral.wav
eb2c9f06047b23dac107f5d3228e73df 52976404 05 LotusFlower.wav
7ab313a18d3ed608f030caa20834cdbc 50610024 06 Codex.wav
4edc905192e2a41eb3052ef5ef11eefe 51188306 07 GiveUpTheGhost.wav
b152b09003e19f4b20dc76de29b731b2 56456932 08 Separator.wav
ace88e881800044f296c2cee6f556780 5083976 thekingoflimbs.jpg

You can compare those values to what you downloaded to see if you got the same files as I did.

Though it is possible, I kind of doubt the ZIP files are getting corrupted without throwing an error during the unzip process. So perhaps this is an incompatibility issue?

There is nothing technically wrong with the WAVE files, but they do have those JUNK and BWF chunks, which should not be a problem for any player which properly parses the file. But it is possible that some players could be thrown off by the extra information.

To help eliminate that, I wrote a quick and dirty Perl script that re-wraps the PCM data in a new WAVE header, leaving behind the useless JUNK and BWF chunks. It can be found here.

It’s Perl. Which means you have to have Perl installed to use it. If you’re on a Mac or Linux box, you’re all set. If you’re on a Windows machine, you can download the free ActivePerl. Be sure to put the Perl executable in your PATH to make things easy on yourself. The script is made for Perl 5.8, but 5.10 or 5.12 should work just fine.

You run this from the command line (Terminal in Mac or Linux, or CMD for Windows) and type a command like this:

> perl rewrapWav.pl "01 Bloom.wav"

And it would output a file named “01 Bloom_rewrapped.wav”, which should be as clean a WAVE file can be. Try that one in iTunes.

Basically, what it does is read the WAVE header, go find the PCM data, and make a new file with a new WAVE header and a single data chunk with all the audio data. It will skip all the other chunks in the file. Everything is generated new except for the PCM audio data, which is copied exactly. You should end up with a set of WAVE files that is as clean as possible and compatible with any program that takes WAVE files.

IMPORTANT: I MAKE NO GUARANTEES REGARDING THIS SOFTWARE. It works for me on my Mac with the Radiohead WAVE files. I haven’t tested it on any other computers or with other files. It is based on tools that work just fine on Linux and Windows and with other WAVE varieties (24 bit, 48/96/192 kHz), so it should work. Use at your own risk. I don’t think it will, but if all your files disappear or your computer blows up, don’t sue me.


I wrote Topspin about downloading WAVE files instead of FLAC for the Band On The Run digital download. They replied to me with download links to a set of FLAC files. Unfortunately, they were the 16 bit 44.1 kHz files, “unlimited” mix.

Not quite the solution I expected, but at least they gave me FLAC files and they sound quite good.

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