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Chart of common audio file formats used in multimedia and production

Presented as a public service by Jay Rose.

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Please note this document dates from 1995 and is kept here for historic interest. Many of these formats are still current; some have disappeared; some formats (notably .mp3 and AAC) appeared after this doc was posted.


KEY:

Format > Channels > Sample size (bits) > SampleRate > Source Platform > Other Features > Comments


.au > 1, 2 > 8..32 > 8012.821, 22050, 44100 > Internet, NeXT, Sun > ulaw > This format probably has extensions for other platforms as well. Older .au files may not have header data.

AIFF AIFF-C* > variable > variable > variable > Macintosh, SGI > *3:1 or 6:1 reduction > Supported by Apple and others; universal Mac exchange format.

Audio CD (Redbook) > 2 > 16 > 44.1 > Macintosh, SGI > subindex > Many Mac and SGI CD-ROM drives can convert audio CDs to digital data via SCSI.

IFF/8SVX > 1 > 8 > variable > Amiga > > IFF is a generic, multipurpose format that is used for graphics, text, and sound. A later version of this may have added additional channels.

MIME > 1 > 8 > 8000 > n/a > > This is an extensible format designed for Internet electronic mail.

MOD > 1 to 32 > 8 > variable > Amiga (now DOS, MAC) > > Originally Amiga, now on other formats.

QuickTime > variable > 8..16 > max 65535hz > Macintosh, SGI, Windows > sync > Can point to external AIFF files or store internally. Syncs to picture, text, sprites. Plays MIDI in software with built-in instruments, or thru external synth. IMA 4:1 Compression added 95Aug, sounds very good at 16b/44.1k

SDII > variable > 8..32 > variable > Macintosh > loops, playlists > Supported primarily by DigiDesign. A similar format, Session 8, runs on Windows.

snd Resource type 1 > variable > 8..16 > variable > Macintosh > looping, freq shift, MACE > Can be embedded in Macintosh documents and programs.

snd Resource type 2 > 1 > 8 > variable > Macintosh (obs) > looping > Used primarily with Hypercard version 1 (obs).

SoundCap> 1 > 8 > 22050, 11025, 7350, & 5512.5 > Macintosh > Instrument supports looping > Obs Macintosh sound format.

SoundEdit 16 > variable > 8,16 > variable to 44.1 > Macintosh > looping, labels, sync > Supported by Macromedia SoundEdit 16. Can use MACE and proprietary compression.

VOC > 1, 2 > 8 > variable integer > DOS > silence deletion > Supported by Creative Labs SoundBlaster.

WAVE (.wav) > variable > variable > variable > DOS > > MicrosoftÕs equivalent to AIFF with a number of extensions defined by third parties.


This information is gathered from various public sources and isn't guaranteed.


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August 1995
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