Audio Interchange File Format (abbreviated as AIFF) is a file format with extension .AIF or .AIFF which is principally designed to contain audio information for various electronic video/audio devices such as personal computers.
AIFF file format was developed by Apple Computers in the year 1988 and it was a developed stage of IFF (Electronic Arts Interchange File Format). While IFF file format was initially used for Amiga Systems, Audio Interchange File Format (abbreviated as AIFF) replaced it as the standard audio format file system for all Macintosh Computers.
A typical AIFF file generally contains two different channels of stereo audio which is uncompressed and is of sample size 16 bits. The sampling rate for recording this stereo audio is usually 44.1 kilohertz. This file format is also termed as “CD-quality audio” because CDs are also produced with similar audio specifications. Audio Interchange File Format (abbreviated as AIFF) audio file generally takes around 10 MB of audio per minute. At this rate, a 240 seconds long song saved in AIFF file format will need about 40 Megabyte of disc space.
There is a huge similarity between AIFF files and Window’s Waveform Audio File Format (abbreviated as WAV) files in terms of quality and size. Both AIFF and WAV file formats can be used to store audio of CD quality and hence, both of these can be burned on audio CD. Typical audio programs of both PC and Macintosh can read both formats.
Because the size of these files is relatively large, much audio content is now stored in compressed or “lossy” formats, most commonly mp3. There are also a number of “lossless” audio codecs that retain the quality of uncompressed files but at smaller size – most commonly flac, ape, shn and wavepak formats.