AIFF - Audio Interchage File Format

What is a AIFF file

The AIFF (Audio Interchage File Format) extension is a standard for the storage of sound data on various electronic audio devices. It was created in 1988 by Apple using Electronic Art’s Interchange File Format (IFF). AIFF files are uncompressed (lossless) and are much larger than the well-known compressed and lossy MP3 files. AIFF files can include loop information and sound samples. AIFF files are commonly used on computers with the MAC OS. The common users of AIFF files are professional musicians that value the high quality of the files and can handle the large storage needs. The various types of AIFF files are often stored under the same file extension despite small variances in storage method with no difference in quality.

One minute of an AIFF file (at 44.1 kHz and 16-bits) requires 10mb of storage. AIFF files contain various chunks: Common, Sound data, Marker, Instrument, Comment, Name, Author, Copyright, Annotation, Audio recording, MIDI data, Application, and ID3. The two data chunks required at all times are Common and Sound. AIFF files are useful for streaming data rapidly with multiple files sending at one time between the disk and application. Compressed AIFF files should use the AIFC extension, but are not required to do so. One variant of AIFF files is the AIFF-C/sowt. The two are nearly identical and can be converted back and forth without quality loss, but some applications cannot play the AIFf-C/sowt, so conversion is necessary.

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

  • Apple QuickTime
  • VLC media Player
  • Winamp
  • Windows Media Player
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