Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between AIFF and MP3


AIFF, which stands for Audio Interchange File Format, is a file format developed by Apple and company to store audio information. This is a really old file format compared to MP3 and is very similar to the WAV file format developed by Microsoft. The most major difference between the AIFF and MP3 is compression. AIFF does not do compression while MP3 does. In fact, compression was the main draw that made MP3 very popular, especially with portable music devices. Compression reduces the file size of the song, or any audio data, allowing users to fit more files into a given memory capacity. AIFF typically consumes 10MB for every minute of audio recording; not very practical for early portable devices with only 128MB of memory or even less. With MP3, the size can vary greatly depending on how much you compress and sizes of around 1MB per minute are not uncommon.

One major drawback of MP3 is that the compression is lossy, which means portions of the audio information are intentionally discarded in order to reduce the size of the file. Algorithms determine which parts can be discarded without adversely affecting sound quality. The difference might not be noticeable on a portable player with small earphones but it becomes more apparent as you use better equipment. This is why MP3 are not very popular when it comes to editing audio. The losses can result in a poor final product. AIFF, WAV, or any of the other lossless formats are used in these cases.

As the popularity of the MP3 format grew, it became essential for hardware manufacturers and software companies to include it in their products, leading to the rapid spread of MP3. Although AIFF is much older than MP3, it has not gained such widespread popularity or adaptation, partly because of the large files that it produces. If you are exclusively using Apple products, you can be fairly certain with AIFF compatibility but if not, you are probably safer sticking to MP3. You can use MP3 files with just about anything that can play audio; whether it be computers, set top video players, music players, and even mobile phones.

1. AIFF is uncompressed while MP3 is compressed
2. AIFF files are larger compared to MP3 files
3. AIFF is not lossy while MP3 is
4. AIFF is not as widely supported by hardware players as MP3 is

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