Audio Interchange File Format or AIFF is an audio file format developed by Apple as a standard for storing digital audio in personal computers and other electronic devices. It was released in 1988 and it is based on the Interchange File Format of Electronic Arts. This format is supported in macOS and the corresponding Mac computer systems.
The Pros: Advantages of AIFF
Note that AIFF is a high-quality and lossless audio file format that is similar to WAV. Note that the Waveform Audio File Format or WAV can be considered a Windows-based counterpart of the Macintosh-based AIFF. IBM and Microsoft released WAV in 1991 as an audio file format standard for storing an audio bitstream for personal computers.
Of course, considering its popularity, Windows and other operating systems support or electronic devices support AIFF files. It is also important to note that a particular audio file based on the Audio Interchange File Format can either be uncompressed or compressed depending on the encoding setting and use case intention of the encoder.
Below are the specific advantages of this audio file format:
• Audio File Format: One of the advantages of AIFF is that it is a lossless format for storing digital audio. This means that it reproduces sound that is true to the original because it retains the original audio data of the source material.
• Reproduces High-Quality Audio: The fact that it is a lossless format means that it also reproduces audio with higher quality similar to WAV and encoded files using FLAC. It has high quality that lossy formats such as MP3 and OGG.
• Versatile Bit Depths and Sample Rates: It supports an extensive range of bit depths and sample rates. This means that this file format standard is suitable for producing and reproducing CD-quality and high-resolution digital audio.
• Uncompressed or Compressed File: Remember that an AIFF file can either be uncompressed or compressed. This adds to the versatility of this file format standard. Compressed files use defined compression codecs.
• Can Be Embedded with Metadata: An audio file based on this standard can also be embedded with metadata such as the name of the maker or artist, comment, annotation, and copyright chunks. An ID3v2 tag chunk can also be embedded.
• Suitable for Archiving Audio Files: This audio file format is also suitable for storing and archiving audio files. Lossless and uncompressed files have larger file sizes but they are ideal as source files for reproduction and editing in the future.
• Ideal for Music Production Needs: It is also ideal for different music production needs including record production, sound engineering, music editing and mixing, recording and reproducing sounds, and digitizing sounds, among others.
• Native Support Across Apple Devices: AIFF has native support across most Apple devices such as Mac computers and iPads. It is part of the Apple ecosystem and is useful for professional music producers who use Apple products.
The Cons: Disadvantages of AIFF
It is important to highlight the fact that the aforementioned advantages of AIFF make it ideal for use cases that involve archiving and music production. This file format is a comparable alternative to WAV. However, between the two, the Waveform Audio File Format is more popular due to the large market share of Windows devices.
WAV has better support for Windows and Windows-based applications such as editing software. On the other hand, AIFF has native support in Mac computers because it is part of the Apple product ecosystem. It is important for individuals to take into consideration their operating system, software, and device preferences when choosing between the two.
Below are the specific disadvantages of this audio file format:
• Produces Large-Sized Audio Files: One of the disadvantages of AIFF is that it produces audio files with large file sizes compared to formats such as MP3 and M4A or audio files using other codecs such as the AAC standard.
• Not Ideal for Low-Bandwidth Use Cases: The fact that it produces large-sized audio files makes it unsuitable for low-bandwidth applications. This includes digital audio distribution via download or on-demand streaming.
• Other Unideal Specific Applications: It is generally not suitable for applications where high-quality sound is not needed or file size is a concern. It is also not natively supported in some operating systems and devices such as Android.