AIF - Audio Interchange File Format

What is a AIF file

AIF (or AIFF) refers to the Audio Interchange File Format. It is the standard for storing sound data to PCs and electronic devices developed by Apple Inc. using EA’s Interchange File Format. AIF file audio data is uncompressed pulse modulation. Compressed versions are known as AIFF-C or AIFC. Unlike MP3 files, AIF is uncompressed, which is useful for streaming of multiple audio files between disks and applications. One minute of stereo audio uses approximately 10MB of storage space at a rate of 44.1 kHz and a bit depth of 16 bits. Loop point data and samples are usable in AIF files.

The AIF file type was created at the development of the MAC OS X operating system. The little-endian AIFF type (AIFF-C/sowt) is “pseudo-compressed,” and is used as a standard for the importing and exporting of iTunes audio. Those files are still defined as AIF but go unnoticed by users due to the near identical quality of the sowt and normal files. The main difference is that older OS may not play the AIFF-C/sowt files or they will ask for a conversion before continuing. AIF files contain various chunks, including: Marker Chunk, Instrument Chunk, Common Chunk, Sound Data Chunk, Name Chunk, Copyright Chunk, Author Chunk, etc.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open AIF documents:

  • Windows Media Player
  • Apple Quicktime
  • Winamp
  • VLC Media Player
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