AIFF vs. WAV – Which Should You Use For Music?

Is There An Advantage to Using AIFF vs. WAV in Home Recording?

In terms of quality, AIFF and WAV are pretty much interchangeable. AIFF is the native uncompressed audio format for Mac OSX and WAV is the native uncompressed audio format for Windows. Choosing one over the other is not likely to have any impact on the quality of your recordings. Mac and Windows DAWs support both formats.

That said, it is important to note that even though your Mac of PC DAW may be able to run either, you never know what kind of incompatibilities can potentially arise.  During collaboration with other engineers, you may encounter someone using obscure software for video editing or who-knows-what.  WAV seems to be compatible with everything and this is why I use it as the format for all of my audio recordings.

What is the Difference Between AIFF and WAV Formats?

I’m not a computer engineer, but the only major differences between AIFF and WAV are the following:

  • Each organizes the data in a different way.  This is a purely technical feature that does not change the sound. There is no difference in output quality.
  • AIFF allows for metadeta, WAV does not.

AIFF and WAV: More in Common Than Differences

For example,

  • Both support 16 and 24-bit audio.
  • Neither is compressed.
  • Both are widely supported across operating systems.
  • Both use pulse-code modulation (PCM) encoding

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