Converting between CAL and WAV sound formats

Sound formats

When using the IVR, you’ll encounter two sound formats: CAL and WAV.

•    CAL files can be played by the IVR, but not by Windows
•    WAV files can be played by Windows, but not by the IVR


SOX (Sound Exchange) is an open-source tool for converting sound file formats.
It can be used to convert .cal files to .wav files and the other way around.
Since it is a command-line tool, it can be used from within scripts.


The program can be found here:

CAL Format

SOX contains built-in support for the CAL format.
Since it calls this format “LA” (reverse ALaw) it won’t recognize the “.cal” extension.
Therefore we have to specify the file format ourselves using the “–t la” argument.
Since CAL files don’t contain a header, we also have to specify the following parameters:
•    “-r 8000” for a sample rate of 8Khz
•    “-c 1” to set the number of channels to 1 (i.e. mono).


sox –t la –r 8000 –c 1 outputfile.wav


sox inputfile.wav –t la –r 8000 –c 1

Playing CAL files

Using the “-d” command, you can play a .cal file:

sox -t la –r 8000 –c 1 -d

Converting to uncompressed PCM WAV files

If you need a .wav file which uses uncompressed PCM encoding, you can use the following command:

sox –t la –r 8000 –c 1 -t wav -e signed-integer -r 8000 -c 1 outputfile.wav

These .wav files are larger than the regular .wav files, but are required by some tools.

Combining single-channel CAL files into stereo WAV

It is possible to combine two single-channel recordings into a stereo output file:

sox -t la -c 1 -r 8000 -t la -c 1 -r 8000 –channels 2 –combine merge output.wav mixer 1,0,0,1

More Information

For more sox options, please read the documentation at

Leave a Reply