AIFF (.aif, .aiff, .aifc)


    • MIME types: audio/aiff, audio/x-aiff, audio/x-aifc
    • AIFF digital audio format.
    • Commonly used in professional audio processing applications and on Macintosh.
    • AIFF is an acronym for Audio Interchange File Format.
    • Binary file format.
    • Stores audio data in uncompressed mono or stereo waveforms.
    • Supports a variety of bit resolutions and sample rates.
    • Developed in 1988 by Apple and others.

Import & Export

  • Import["file.aif"] imports an AIFF file, returning an audio object.
  • Import["file.aif",elem] imports the specified element from an AIFF file.
  • The import format can be specified with Import["file","AIFF"] or Import["file",{"AIFF",elem,}].
  • Export["file.aif",expr] exports an audio or sound object to an AIFF file.
  • Sound objects including notes are rasterized to sampled audio.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString support the AIFF format.

Import Elements

  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Data representation elements:
  • "Audio"audio signal given as an Audio object
    "AudioFile"audio signal given as an out-of-core Audio object
    "Data"raw audio samples, given as a list of real numbers, each sublist representing an individual audio channel
    "SampledSoundList"audio signal given as a SampledSoundList object
    "Sound"audio signal given as a Sound object
  • Import by default uses the "Audio" element for short AIFF files and the "AudioFile" element otherwise.
  • Advanced Import element:
  • "AudioChannels"number of audio channels
    "AudioEncoding"audio encoding
    "Duration"duration of the audio given in seconds
    "Length"number of samples
    "SampleDepth"number of bits used to store every sample
    "SampleRate"number of amplitude samples per second and channel
  • Metadata elements:
  • "MetaInformation"interpreted as quantities, locations, dates, numbers, etc.
    "RawMetaInformation"uninterpreted as strings and numbers
  • Available metadata tags include "ID3v2".


  • Import and Export options:
  • "AudioChannels"Automaticnumber of audio channels
    IncludeMetaInformationAllmetadata types to import and export
    SampleRateAutomaticsamples per second for each channel
  • Export option:
  • "AudioEncoding""Integer16"how samples are encoded
  • If the sample rate is not specified when exporting to AIFF, the highest sample rate occurring in the exported sound is used, and all sounds are resampled as necessary.
  • If the number of channels is unspecified, the highest number of simultaneous channels is taken, and silence is inserted if necessary.
  • If "AudioChannels" is set to a value n that is less than the number of channels to be exported, only the first n channels are exported.
  • The AIFF format normally uses PCM (pulse code modulation) audio encoding but also supports various other codecs.
  • "AudioEncoding" can be set to any of the following codecs:
  • "UnsignedInteger8"Unsigned 8-bit PCM
    "Integer8"8-bit PCM
    "Integer16"16-bit PCM
    "Integer24"24-bit PCM
    "Integer32"32-bit PCM
    "IMA-ADPCM"adaptive differential PCM
    "Real32"32-bit IEEE floating point
    "Real64"64-bit IEEE floating point
    "aLaw"a-Law 4-bit PCM (ITU-T G.711 standard)
    "uLaw"-Law 4-bit PCM (ITU-T G.711 standard)
    "GSM610"GSM 6.10 codec (ETSI 6.10 standard)
    "DWVW-12"12-bit DWVW
    "DWVW-16"16-bit DWVW
    "DWVW-24"24-bit DWVW
  • Not all codecs support arbitrary sample rates and channel specifications.
  • Supported IncludeMetaInformation settings are: "ID3v2", "RawID3v2", All and None.


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Basic Examples  (2)

Import an AIFF sample file:

Click for copyable input

Use Play to create a one-second sound sample:

Click for copyable input

Export it to AIFF:

Click for copyable input

Export to 24-bit AIFF:

Click for copyable input

Scope  (3)

Import Elements  (16)

Import Options  (6)

Export Options  (4)

Introduced in 1999
Updated in 2018