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AIFF File Format

AIFF is short for Audio Interchange File Format, a file format for storing digital audio (waveform) data, AIFF is used in personal computers and other electronic audio devices to store audio data.

File Format Description

AIFF is an is an audio file format developed by Apple in 1988 and supported by Mac platform and its apps, the LiveAudio embedded in Netscape Navigator browser supports AIFF too, other apps like SGI and its professional Audio app pack supports AIFF as well. AIFF supports ACE2, ACE8, MAC3 and MAC6 compression, supports 16-bit 44.1 kHz stereo. In a standard AIFF file, the audio is linear PCM (pulse-code modulation), there also is a variant called AIFF-C or AIFC, which is compressed with various defined compression codecs

Standard AIFF and SDII, WAV formats are considered leading formats for registered professional video and audio editing applications. Compared with the well-known MP3, AIFF is uncompressed. And compared with other uncompressed lossless audio formats, AIFF takes up more disk space than MP3. In stereo 44.1 kHz sampling rate and 16 bits sampling depth condition, the difference is about 10MB per minute. Aside from audio data, AIFF can hold loop point data and the musical note of a sample, for use by hardware samplers and musical applications.

The standard AIFF file comes with the extension .aiff or aif, and the compressed AIFF files with .aifc.

AIFF on Mac OS X

Along with the development of Mac OS, a new type of AIFF is created by Apple. Actually, it is an alternative little-endian byte order format. Because the standard AIFF does not provide for alternative AIFF format byte order, Apple used the existing AIFF-C compression architecture and developed a code called sowt (twos spelled backwards) of the "pseudo" code. The only difference between Standard AIFF file and AIFF-C/sowt file is byte order, there is no compression. When a file is imported to or exported from iTunes in "AIFF" format, it is actually AIFF-C/sowt that is being used.

Data format

An AIFF file can be divided into some chunks. Each chunk is identified by a chunk ID more considered FourCC.

Types of chunks found in AIFF files:

* Annotation Chunk
* Audio Recording Chunk
* MIDI Data Chunk
* Application Chunk
* Comment Chunk
* Name Chunk
* Author Chunk
* Copyright Chunk
* ID3 Chunk
* Sound Data Chunk (required)
* Marker Chunk
* Instrument Chunk
* Common Chunk (required)

Causes of Failed Playback

Question like "Problem Playing AIFF files in Windows Media Player" is popular on the forums. Windows Media Player does play AIFF file format. If it doesn't, you might not have the right codec on your computer. The easiest way to solve the problem is to go online and search for the codec you need. Or you can change another media player to play your AIFF files. Besides, you can convert AIFF to MP3 or other playable audio formats.

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