The AIFF Audio Format

Apple AIFF Audio
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The AIFF stands for Audio Interchange File Format. Apple developed this audio format Apple in 1985 as an extension of IFF which had been around three years prior. The IFF itself was developed by Electronics Art and widely used on Amiga systems.

AIFF is kind of Apple’s version of WAV (Waveform Audio Format) files. Both AIFF and WAV are considered CD-quality audio. That’s why many audio engineers prefer working with those two. Those who work on Macs use AIFF and those using Windows use WAV. Both formats are pretty much interchangeable. Even their file sizes are almost identical.

Difference between AIFF and MP3

The biggest difference between AIFF and MP3 is compression. AIFF is not compressed while MP3 is. A 3-minute song is about 30 megabytes when encoded in AIFF (44.1 kHz, 16 bits). A 128kbps MP3 file of the same song is only around 3 megabytes.

While compression is one of the things that make MP3 so appealing, compression also lowers the audio quality of MP3 files. MP3’s compression is lossy, so a song encoded in MP3 will always sound worse than songs encoded in AIFF.

Is that so?”

Yes. However, you can only tell the difference when you have a pair of good ears and high-quality headphones. Using $5 earphones, the MP3 songs will be indistinguishable from its AIFF counterpart. Oh, you also need an audiophile-grade music player too.

Difference between AIFF and FLAC

AIFF and FLAC are popular among audiophiles. But in many practical cases, FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is way better than AIFF. FLAC files are compressed so you save plenty of disk space compared to saving everything in AIFF. Mind you, a FLAC file is still space-consuming. It’s about five times bigger than its MP3 counterpart.

Unlike MP3, FLAC’s compression is lossless. If you rip a music CD and convert all the songs to FLAC, they will still sound great. Even when you have professional-grade headphones, listening to songs encoded in FLAC won’t sound that much different compared to the ones encoded in AIFF if at all.

Is AIFF better than Apple Lossless?

Apple Lossless a.k.a. ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) a.k.a. ALE (Apple Lossless Encoder) is used by Apple to compressed digital music. Since both AIFF and Apple Lossless are lossless formats there will be no difference in sound quality, only file sizes. Apple Lossless is smaller in file size so it’s more suitable for streaming as it’s more bandwidth-friendly.

How do I convert WAV to AIFF?

That’s easy. Just go to the AIFF converter and pick whatever music files you have. You can also convert a file from Dropbox, Google Drive, or a URL. You can also change the bitrate, sampling rate, or audio channels if you want.