The Formats of Sound
An excerpt from the
(To go to the New Complete Mac Handbook page, click the above image.)
System 7 sound files
Every program category has its standard file formats, and sound-editing
software is no exception. Although the SoundEdit application has its own
file format, it also supports two important standard formats -- SND resources
(also known as sound or `snd' resources) and Audio Interchange File Format.
Here's a summary of the most popular formats.
If there's a sound you want to use as a system-error beep or
in a HyperCard stack, you must save it as an SND resource. Technically,
two types of SND resources exist. Format 1 resources are generally system
beeps, and Format 2 resources are used by HyperCard and other sound-playing
(Historical note: In the early days of digital Mac sound, the distinction
was more important; you couldn't use Format 2 SND resources as system beeps.
Beginning with System 6.0.2, however, Apple made the Mac's Sound Manager
a bit less picky. With System 6.0.2 and later versions, you can use either
format for system beeps.)
The Audio Interchange File Format (commonly referred to as either
AIFF or Audio IFF) lets one program open a digital recording created by
another program--it's the PICT format of the digital audio world.
You can find support for AIFF files in professionally oriented sound software
such as Passport Designs' Alchemy and Digidesign's Sound Designer, as well
as in sound-editing programs such as SoundEdit 16 and OSC's Deck II, and
in video-editing packages such as Adobe Premiere. AIFF is the preferred
format for swapping files between such programs.
System 7 sound files
Sometimes called the sfil format, this is the format that allows
you to play sounds by double-clicking them at the Finder. One time you might
want to use this format is when creating a special error beep sound.
This is a common file format in the DOS/Windows world. WAV files
generally end with the characters .WAV. SoundEdit 16 can open and save WAV
files, as can S/Link, a sound-conversion utility from New England Digital.
The MOD format is a special format that stores sound samples.
Originally developed for the Commodore Amiga computer, MOD files are used
by music programs such as Sound-Trecker, which is included on the Macworld
Power User Clinic CD that's included with the Macworld New Complete Mac
Also called Sun audio, this is a common file format on the World
Wide Web. You can play .au files on the Macintosh using a variety of shareware
or freeware utilities, including SoundMachine and SoundApp.
Another Web-oriented sound format, this is format used by Progressive
Networks's RealAudio technology, which allows for real-time audio over
Short for Motion Picture Experts Group, MPEG is a data-compression
standard most commonly associated with digital video. But it's also gaining
popularity for distributing audio on the Web.
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