The Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) allows for the storage of monaural and multichannel
sample sounds at a variety of sample rates. Since it is an interchange format, it is easily converted
to other file formats. For these reasons, it is often used in high-end audio recording applications
when storage space is not a concern. Originally developed by Apple, this format is used
predominantly by Silicon Graphics and Macintosh applications.
AIFF files can be quite large. One minute of 16-bit stereo audio sampled at 44.1kHz usually
takes up about 10 megabytes. Since AIFF does not allow for compressed audio data, Apple
introduced the AIFF-C, or AIFC, format, which allows for the storage of compressed and
uncompressed audio data. AIFC supports compression ratios as high as 6:1 but at the cost of the
file's signal quality. Most of the applications that support AIFF playback also support AIFC.
Since AIFF supports multiple sample rates, some sites offer AIFF files roughly equivalent to
standard u-law files. These files are usually labeled as 1-channel, 8-bit, 8kHz AIFF files. Notice
that when downsampled, AIFF files usually give a sample rate of 8kHz, not the 8.013kHz
sampling rate of some u-law files. Note: AIF is used as the file extension on PCs where the three letter extension is preferred.