Question: Difference between Wav and Aiff format?

When I buy sample packages sometimes they come in both WAV and AIFF format. It's unclear to me why, because both formats just work in any app that let's you import sound. Anybody know the difference and what format can I use the best.

Comments

  • WAV files tend to do a little better in terms of compatibility across platforms, but they are identical in terms of quality. They are both 16-bit linear integer formats, but have the data organized differently in the file

  • Correction, can be higher bitdepths too

  • From a practical standpoint, more metadata and artwork can also be embedded in an AIFF file too. I use AIFF files for all of my own masters, that way I know I'll always have the album artwork in the file.

  • So from soundquality perspective no difference. Thanks @Rebus_Knebus and @Tarekith

  • As mentioned wav is bit more compatible. However aiff is pretty much as compatible nowadays. Personally i like to deal with wavs only, as i dont care about metadata etc modern stuff so much in sound files. I just want the basics for maximum compatibility and because i like to stick with just one type of files and just happen to have most of the stuff in wav already, so i skip the aiff as wav is always there as well.

  • @ToMess said:
    As mentioned wav is bit more compatible. However aiff is pretty much as compatible nowadays. Personally i like to deal with wavs only, as i dont care about metadata etc modern stuff so much in sound files. I just want the basics for maximum compatibility and because i like to stick with just one type of files and just happen to have most of the stuff in wav already, so i skip the aiff as wav is always there as well.

    Understand it. But for me it's quite weird that sample dvds/ cds and downloads distribute both in the same package. If you do just one format it can easily save up to 50% of download data/ time.

  • Historically it used to be that AIFF was safer as it was the default whereas Wav was one of those unpredictable things the Microsoft-using people had to put up with. Nowadays any of them is equally compatible in almost all places.

  • Above it says that aiff and wav are 16-bit. This is not correct. Both formats can be any bit-depth and sample rate. You can have 24-bit, 32-bit, 8-bit, etc files.

  • Yes, I had to research this because I never owned a Mac, and literally had no idea what an .aiff or .aif file was until I saw Patterning 2 exporting audio in that format. At first, I assumed it was one of those compressed .mp3 equivalents, but it's actually a supposed "lossless" format just like .wav.

  • Btw, while aiff and wav are generally uncompressed, wav files can actually contain compressed (lossless or lossy) data. There is a header in the file that indicates data format. AIFF has a related aifc (if memory serves).

    When people talk about aiff and wav, they generally mean non-compressed data. But the formats allow for compression.

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