What is CAF?
Audio Format DescriptionCAF is the file extension for Core Audio Format. Developed by Apple, it is a container file format used for storing audio files.
Core Audio Format was specially designed to overcome the limitations of other audio file formats like WAV and AIFF. Its main feature is its flexibility. It can hold any sized file as it uses 64 bit file offsets, which eliminate the limits. It can also contain any type of audio data, and can store any number of audio channels. Besides audio, CAF can also wrap many other types of auxiliary data – like text annotations, channel layouts, markers, and all other kinds of information that helps in the interpretations, analysis, and editing of the acoustics. Core Audio Format also supports data dependencies. In other words, you can use an edit count value to check if there is any dependency of the metadata on the audio data in the file.
The structure of the CAF file format consists of a header (which identifies the CAF version and the type of audio file contained), followed by a series of chunks. Each of these chunks has a header of its own defining the type of chunk and its data size, followed by other data specific to that chunk information. A CAF file format may contain any number of chunks, but two are the essential ones – the audio data chunk, and the audio description chunk. The audio data chunk contains all the audio data of the file, whereas the audio description chunk describes the audio data format. The audio description chunk must follow the header. The others may be in any order.
The Core Audio Format is most often used where loops and sound effects are required. Since it was designed by Apple, it is in particular used by Apple to compress its surround-sound audio, and is supported by all Mac OS applications. CAF files may be opened directly on Mac using Apple QuickTime Player 7 or later, Garage Band, or Logic Pro. If you want CAF files to be played on other systems convert them to mp3 or wav with Factory Audio Converter.
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