Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) was developed by Apple in 1988 and is most commonly used on Apple Macintosh computers. It is a leading audio format used by professional level audio and video applications as it is superior in quality to its more popular lossy MP3 format. AIFF is lossless and uncompressed meaning it takes up around 10mb for every minute of audio at 44.1kHz.
An AIFF file is divided into chunks made up of Common Chunks, Sound data chunk, Marker chunk, Instrument chunk, Comment chunk, Name chunk, Author chunk, Copyright chunk, Annotation chunk, Audio recording chunk, MIDI data chunk, Application chunk and an ID3 chunk - it is only the Common chunk and Sound data chunk that is required. It is an uncompressed format which assists rapid streaming of multiple audio files from disk to the application. The file extension for the standard AIFF file is .aiff or .aif, however for compressed variants it should use .aifc.
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Free Lossless Audio Codec, or FLAC for short, is an audio compression technique. It is a lossless compression type meaning that the compression takes place without data being discarded. FLAC is an open source codec. FLAC is a format that is recommended to those backing up a CD collection because the sound quality will remain high, whereas MP3 compression will result in a deterioration compared to the original.
Using FLAC to compress an audio file to approximately 50% of its original size. The main benefits of a FLAC file in addition to it being lossless is that it can be used for streaming, and decoding is fast, allowing for real time decoding to take place. A FLAC file also contains several data integrity checks in the header file. The metadata associated with the audio has been future proofed also to allow new fields to be defined without impacting existing decoders.