importing an AIFF CD

Discussion in 'KONTAKT' started by bosone, May 9, 2006.

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  1. bosone

    bosone NI Product Owner

    i'm about to purchase some samples cd and i'd like to add also a cd in AIFF format.
    i think that AIFF is a MAC standard and i have a PC.
    my question is: will i be able to import the cd as wav in my pc using kontakt2 without much problems?
  2. amyhughes

    amyhughes NI Product Owner

    Yes. It's listed under "Import and Compatibility".

    I've always wondered if these "AIFF" discs are just audio discs sold by Mac people, because when you drag tracks from an audio disc onto the Mac desktop you get...AIFF files! About the only benefit you get making a data disc with AIFF files as opposed to an audio disc is you get to name the files and include other documents.

    Anyway, AIFF files are almost exactly like WAV files. The data portion of AIFF files is even little endian (PC binary format), and in the exact same format as the WAV file. I wrote a program that reads AIFF files and breaks them into individual samples. It took all of a few minutes to code the WAV file output because it's almost exactly like the AIFF file I had already figured out. For this reason, I'd be shocked if any freeware audio editor you picked up wouldn't handle both. Audacity for the Mac does.

    I babble.

    Yes, you can import AIFF files.

  3. NI Product Owner

    I need to correct a couple things here, just for accuracies sake and information.

    To answer the original questioner - if you have a Mac HFS CD, your PC can't read it not because of the AIFF files but because a PC can't read HFS disks natively. (Macs can read ISO/Joliet CD's (PC) natively, but not the other way around.)

    However, most comercial sound CD's aren't HFS-only, either they have two partitions - HFS and ISO/Joliet, so they show up on both platforms, or they are "Hybrid", where both HFS and DOS are interleaved in one partition. Either way, the CD should show up on both platforms.

    They made the Mac smart in that respect. Macs (as well as PC's) have always been able to read certain other formats besides their native ones. In fact, when the Mac reads a ISO/Joliet CD, it actually is interpreting it through a programming layer, to make it look the same as an HFS volume.

    As Amy alludes to above, when you put in an Audio CD to OSX, the Finder shows you a bunch of tracks, and the icons show you they are AIFF files. They actually aren't, the Mac is lying to you. They are audio tracks, but OSX just wants to be consistent, so I guess that's OK.

    When you drag one of the fake AIFF files over, OSX behind the scenes "rips" the audio track off and makes an AIFC file, not a AIFF. AIFC is actually a form of AIFF, but compressed, kind of like a .mp3 file.

    PC's do show the tracks on a CD as ".cda" files, but they only represent the track info data, not the data itself. There are programs that integrate ripping for you, but it's not native to Windows XP.

    I don't know if you meant to say that, but that's not true - all information in AIFF files are Big-Endian, and all information in WAVE (RIFF) files is Little-Endian, no exceptions. That's the real reason why WAVE has always been native to PC's and AIFF files are native to Mac's - because PC's use Intel processors which are Little-Endian in the way their registers work, and Mac's (non-Mactel) use Motorola processors, whose registers use Big-Endian information.

    An example of this that you can see is Toast. If you compose an Audio CD in Toast, if you drag AIFF files into the pane, they just drop in. If you drag a WAVE file, there this little conversion that needs to occur. Behind the scenes, in the Temporary Folder, a big AIFF file is made for Toast to use appropriately.

    Whether you know it for not, for maximum performance a PC always has to get their sound buffers in Little-Endian format before they get processed, and Mac vis-versa. The reason that WAVE files hav gotten more comon on the Mac is that most programs have fallen in line and supported WAVE files with programming internally that swaps this stuff quickly.

    Generally, this is true, but there are some very significant differences when you get particular, like Markers, loop points, Sample Rates, parsing of the chunks, and more. But the basic scheme is the same - 'fmt ' (WAVE) 'COMM' (AIFF) holds the channel-bitrate-samplerate info, 'data' (WAVE) 'SSND' (AIFF) holds the sound data.

    The only specified chunk that WAVE and AIFF share is the 'INST' chunk, but even then the WAVE file it's little-endian and the Mac it's big-endian.
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