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AIFF vs FLAC: Audio File Format Differences Explained!


AIFF vs. FLACWhich audio format should you choose? Discover the main differences between FLAC and AIFF right here.

If you’re an audiophile, you take the caliber of your music. You could be unsure which audio format to select because many options are available.

Two of the more popular lossless audio formats are FLAC and AIFF. You can use these audio formats to store and share audio files.

Below is a thorough discussion to assist you in selecting between FLAC vs. AIFF.


  • AIFF and FLAC are two audio formats that can store audio files.
  • FLAC is simpler to use and carries less storage space than AIFF, while AIFF has superior audio quality.
Table of Contents

What is an Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)?

An audio file saved in the Audio Interchange File Format is an AIFF file. An AIFF file can be saved as AIF or AIFC files (if compressed).

In 1988, Macintosh developed AIFF, a format that enables complete studio-quality audio recording and playback on Apple computers.

This is also known as the Apple version of WAV.

Main Features

These are the notable features that create AIFF files:

  • Uncompressed and lossless
  • AIFF-C / AIFC is an AIFF variation that uses a compression codec to reduce storage
  • It has a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample bitrate of 44.1 kHz
  • These audio files also support loop point data
  • AIFF files need a little over 10MB of audio data per minute


  • Superior to other audio formats audio quality is the lossless AIFF format
  • High dynamic range audio is ideal for broadcasting and recording since it maintains quality during recording and playback
  • This format is perfect for DJs because it is simple to process, tweak, and even make Beatport
  • AIFF is compatible with all media players, albeit some need an app while others can play it


  • Adding tags is challenging because this file format is inflexible enough to prevent it. If you want to tag your files in any way, you should pick a container format like MP4.
  • It isn’t easy to share online because it is an uncompressed audio format and takes up a lot of storage space.
  • AIFF is included in large, uncompressed files that take up much space. This audio file is roughly 10 MB long, or one minute.

What is a Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)?

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a LOSSLESS audio format, meaning no sound quality is lost during the compression process.

The Xiph.Org Foundation announced on January 29, 2003, that FLAC would join Ogg Vorbis, Theora, and Speex as a member of their organization.

Main Features

These are FLAC’s prominent characteristics:

  • No audio information is lost during encoding audio (Pulse Code Modulation) data, and the decoded audio is exact to the bit input into the encoder.
  • The asymmetry of a FLAC file favors decoding speed.
  • From portable players to home stereo systems to automobile stereos, FLAC is supported by a wide range of consumer electronics devices.
  • FLAC helps fast sample-accurate seeking. It facilitates to play FLAC files and makes them compatible with editing applications.


  • The FLAC format preserves the quality and data from the original file because it is lossless.
  • FLAC can be compressed by up to 50–70%. Unlike ZIP files, FLAC files are designed specifically for audio files and have better compression.
  • Higher compression ratios require more power from the computer, meaning better quality. If you are using a laptop or other plugged-in device, this is OK.


  • FLAC files can be huge compared to a default audio format (MP3). A 10MB MP3 file in FLAC format might enlarge to 50 or 60MB.
  • While FLAC files are smaller than WAV files, they are still more extensive than the most common audio format (MP3), making it challenging to exchange FLAC files.
  • Because FLAC files are much bigger than MP3 files, they will quickly take up a hard disk or portable device.

AIFF vs. FLAC: Main Differences

AIFF and FLAC are two lossless audio formats that you can use to store and share original audio data.

Other lossless audio formats include Apple Lossless and Windows Media Audio.

You could be wondering which format is BEST for your music needs, regardless of whether you’re an audiophile or audio engineer.

Let’s talk further about how the two are different.


One of the primary differences between the two formats is that FLAC is more usable than AIFF.

Because FLAC is smaller than AIFF, it offers many advantages over AIFF.

One benefit is that it downloads much more because it is a smaller file. You can set it up in an instant, and has the benefit of enabling you to remember crucial musical knowledge.

For instance, this original audio file type will keep information like the artist’s name, album, lyrics, etc. The enormous format of AIFF makes it unnecessary to send or download it that way.

AIFF is made for storing music files and audio projects in their original form, much like a CD format. Apple created the AIFF-C format after realizing that the size might turn off most users.

The file size is reduced as a result. Hence, it will be simpler for you to save and distribute it to others.

The large size and a lack of compatibility reduce the usability of AIFF. FLAC is simple to use because of its excellent interoperability.


Have you ever tried to transfer a song from a non-Apple device to an Apple device only to find that it cannot play?

The AIFF is undoubtedly responsible for this.

The AIFF is less compatible with other media and gadgets in terms of interoperability. Only a few types of media and devices will support it, including iPhones and MacBooks

On the other hand, you can be confident that the FLAC file format will be supported by any operating system, including Apple, Windows, Android, and others.

Cross-platform and device compatible are the pros of FLAC; AIFF is mainly compatible with Apple hardware.


The typical size of an AIFF file is 10 MB.

If you are listening to a podcast or an AIFF file that is 10 minutes long, you will likely need more than 100 MB of storage space.

The FLAC file format provides a fantastic solution to back up your music files if you have a CD files collection and are seeking a means to do so.

It will provide you with all the desired tunes while taking up very little space. Overall, the amount of storage that FLAC requires sets it apart significantly from AIFF.

When it comes to FLAC vs. AIFF, AIFF files consume a lot of storage—nearly 10 MB for each audio minute.

In contrast, FLAC files are smaller since they are compressed.

Sound Quality

Although FLAC does a beautiful job compressing the original music file and strives to maintain the audio quality and file format, some of that vibrancy and brilliance are still lost.

Software causes some quality to be lost. This file format is superior to most other audio file formats available today for many reasons.

For starters, it is considerably smaller than other formats, such as AIFF and several WAV file types.

The AIFF, however, is not like that. It is a complete audio file that functions flawlessly after going through software editors.

It can be processed as often as you’d like without losing quality.

KEEP IN MIND: Quality is diminished through compression of a FLAC; AIFF offers more excellent audio quality and is used by audio professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to frequently asked questions about AIFF and FLAC are provided here.

Are AIFF Files Lossless?


AIFF holds data in a similar uncompressed format, lossless audio, format to waveform audio format.

Thus, there is no quality degradation and only pure aural bliss!

Do FLAC Audio Files Sound Better?


Audio reviewers mention the superior audio quality with FLAC or any other lossless format.

Lossless formats make utilizable compromises between sound quality and compression.

Does Converting FLAC to Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) Lose Quality?

FLAC, WAV, and AIFF are lossless formats. It implies there won’t be any audio quality loss when converting audio files.

The vast majority of audio players and devices can play WAV files.

Still, because the resulting file sizes are so big, it’s typically not feasible to convert your audio to this format.

How Can I Convert AIFF Audio Files to FLAC?

This is how you convert AIFF:

  1. Download an audio converter
  2. Import the AIFF to the audio converter
  3. Choose an output folder
  4. Set up the output format
  5. To examine the accessible audio file formats list, click on the drop-down arrow next to the words “Output Format.”
  6. Now convert AIFF to FLAC

What Are Lossless and Lossy Formats?

Lossless compression reduces file size while maintaining values.

However, lossy compression shrinks files. An MP3 and an AAC format are lossy compressed formats.

FLAC vs. AIFF: Which is Better to Use?

It depends on the situation at hand.

Both file types sound identical for audio engineers who purposefully seek distinctions between the two formats.

As discussed in this post, various distinctions exist between the AIFF and FLAC file formats. The size, format, use, functionality, and accessibility are different.

We hope this article on AIFF vs. FLAC has helped you learn more about the similarities and differences between the two file types.

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.