AIFF (.aif, .aiff, .aifc)

Background & Context

    • 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 following reference pages for full general information:
  • Import, Exportimport from or export to a file
    CloudImport, CloudExportimport from or export to a cloud object
    ImportString, ExportStringimport from or export to a string
    ImportByteArray, ExportByteArrayimport from or export to a byte array

Import Elements

  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements" list of elements and options available in this file
    "Summary"summary of the file
    "Rules"list of rules for all available elements
  • 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:

Use Play to create a one-second sound sample:

Export it to AIFF:

Export to 24-bit AIFF:

Scope  (3)

Show all import elements available in this file:

Import audio properties:

Use ExportString and ImportString with an AIFF:

Import Elements  (16)

Available Elements  (3)

List of available elements:

Get audio-related information as a list of rules:

Import some audio options:

The "Options" element does not return all options that are present in the imported audio:

Data Representation  (5)

"Audio"  (1)

Get an audio signal given as an Audio object:

"AudioFile"  (1)

Get an audio signal given as an out-of-core Audio object:

"Data"  (1)

Get a raw audio sample, given as a list of real numbers:

Create an audio sample from imported data:

"SampledSoundList"  (1)

Get an audio signal given as a SampledSoundList object:

"Sound"  (1)

Get an audio signal given as an Sound object:

Metadata  (8)

"AudioChannels"  (1)

Get the number of audio channels:

"AudioEncoding"  (1)

Get the audio encoding:

"Duration"  (1)

Get the duration of the audio sample given in seconds:

"Length"  (1)

Get the number of samples:

"MetaInformation"  (1)

Get the audio metadata:

"RawMetaInformation"  (1)

Get the audio metadata in a raw form:

"SampleDepth"  (1)

Get the number of bits used to store every sample:

"SampleRate"  (1)

Get the number of amplitude samples per second and channel:

Import Options  (6)

"AudioChannels"  (2)

Generate a stereo AIFF file:

By default, the number of audio channels is set to be Automatic:

Specify all the audio channels to be imported:

Import the second channel only:

IncludeMetaInformation  (3)

By default, all available metadata is imported:

Import an audio file with no metadata:

Import the audio with only specified classes of metadata:

SampleRate  (1)

By default, the sample rate is extracted from the file:

Specify the sample rate of the imported sound:

Export Options  (4)

"AudioChannels"  (1)

By default, the audio is exported using the default number of channels:

Specify the number of channels of exported audio:

AudioEncoding  (1)

By default, the audio is exported using the "Integer16" encoding:

Specify the encoding of exported audio:

IncludeMetaInformation  (1)

By default, the audio is exported using the metadata:

Specify the metadata to include:

SampleRate  (1)

By default, the audio is exported using the default sample rate:

Specify the sample rate of exported audio: