CAF - Apple Core Audio Format

What is a CAF file

CAF, the Core Audio Format is a file container for audio. CAF was created by Apple Inc and works with Mac OS X 10.4 and higher, but it can be used with Mac OS X 10.3 by using QuickTime 7. Large file sizes are capable, allowing users to store much more data than with other audio file containers with less compression, sometimes allowing lossless compression. This container can hold various types of audio as well as other data relating to the audio. Released in 2005, this file container replaced many older ones, replacing old limitations and allowing users to accomplish more with CAF than with AIFF and WAV.

CAF was created to do what older digital audio formats could not. Formats such as AIFF and WAV have limitations, and the goal of CAF files was to fix that. Like other audio file containers, CAF can contain various elements of metadata (creator, track length, file name, album, composer, and more). CAF surpasses the 4 GB limit of file size older extensions carried due to the use of 64-bit file offsets. These files are used regularly with programs like Soundtrack Pro and Logic Studio for loops and sound effects, often for surround-sound audio compression with the Apple Lossless codec.

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

  • Soundtrack Pro
  • Logic Studio
  • QuickTime
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