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Old 11-12-2002, 05:45 PM
elijahsongs elijahsongs is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 225
Default .wav files vs. aiff

Does anyone know the differences between the .wav and aiff file formats?

Are there any pros and/or cons for either?

Would there be reasons or situations to use one or the other?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-12-2002, 07:11 PM
sonicprod1 sonicprod1 is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Glen Head, New York
Posts: 86
Default Re: .wav files vs. aiff

a .wav file is native to a PC. AIFF stand for audio interchangable(or interchange) file format. AIFF is generally used when transfering from a PC to a MAC and Mac to PC. Sound quality wise they are the same. If you are only mixing on your own system, you might as well stick with the .wav. Either way, your quality won't be affected.
Steven Carniol
... and the whole time it was the cut button!
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Old 11-14-2002, 08:09 AM
evilchopper evilchopper is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: West Side Chi
Posts: 86
Default Re: .wav files vs. aiff

The following has been greatly simplified for my own understanding(read as: the following has been put in my own words as best as I can off the top
of my head.)
Technically, both are based on the PCM (Pulse Code Modulaton) format(invented circa 1937), which is a method use to code and decode analog sound waves into a common mathematical standard. In fact both are identical except different header (title) information. The header information is usually of a proprietary nature and is the only reason they must be converted between formats and won't just work when substituted. .wav is microsoft's PCM, .aif is apple's PCM. A 24/96 .wav will sound identical to the same 24/96 .aif if decoded by the same D/A, played through the same amp and monitors. PCM is also the coding standard used for CD's, with yet another different header. The digital wave information is identical. So a CD could be converted to either .wav or .aif and they will all contain identical PCM info and sound the same(if played through the same A/D, etc.). It's the header information that changes when a conversion is done.
The AES has adopted the Broadcast wave AES 31 as it's universal PCM standard. By making your .wavs and .aifs compatible with this standard you theoretically have universal interchangeability.
The big question is: which formats does your software handle? It helps to have a good program that can convert between the different PCM headers.
I would be willing to bet that PCM only existed in theory back in 1937, since the digital bit rate back then must have only been just a little bit faster than morse code. Did they even have punch cards yet?
Personal computers were just a gleam in one's eye, apple was just a seed, and bill gates wasn't even an itch in his daddy's pants, much less a giant pain in our ass.

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