AIFF files will not play on iPod, will on iTunes

Let me amplify
Turn that dial all the way up to 11.

In the first test,
I open with Audacity,
It recognizes a file with some issues
but it handles those issues so I can work with it in Audacity.
However, when I write out a copy
it does not write out a fixed aiff file.

In the second test,
I open with Amadeus,
Behaves like Audacity.
However, it writes out a corrected aiff file.

I just rechecked to see
and yes the Amadeus files work correctly in iPod.

One other wrinkle.
Peak finds fault with the Audacity resaved copies of the split files
Peak has no issue with the Amadeus resaved copies.

It would be most helpful if you avoided writing in abbreviations.
“just a letter”: What does that mean in English?
“and a number”: Likewise, what does that mean?
“no title, no artist”: If you are referring to metadata, please say so.
“no work”: We’ve had this phrase before, but I’m still not clear about the details. Assuming that you mean the same “no work” as in this post, you go on to say “iTunes looks at it, gets an error and says I will fix that for you.” I doubt that iTunes actually said that. What was the actual error /warning from iTunes?

Precisely what issues?

Not until there is a clear description of the fault.
In what way do AIFF files produced by Audacity fail to meet the AIFF file format specification? If the files do not meet the file format specification, then that is a bug that can be addressed by the Audacity developers. If the files do meet the AIFF file format specification, then it is not an Audacity bug.

Does this file play correctly on your ipod?

This is the problem.

Can you multi export an Audacity project as ascii files
and get them to play correctly on an ipod.

I have not been able to
and have tried several ways.

I can multi export an Audacity project as WAV files
and it works perfectly.

What can I clarify?

I presume that you mean “AIFF files” and not “ascii files” ?
We are trying to work with what you tell us, but unless you can tell us clearly then there is little anyone can do to help.

As a start, you could tell us if this file plays correctly on your ipod:

The link opens and plays in safari.

Not sure how to download to my computer.

Cannot see source “View Source” is grayed out.

Did you run a test on Audacity 2.x like my issue?
Did you split a project as aiff and load to an ipod?

I would be glad to split your file if I could get hold of it.

As far as I can see so far in this very hard to follow topic:

  • Exporting multiple WAV files with no metadata play in iPod
  • Exporting multiple AIFF files with or without metadata do not play in iPod
  • Toog could play Koz’s single “guitar” AIFF file (that has no metadata) in iPod - we do not know yet if audio_pete can do so.
  • Toog could not play AIFF files created by export selection on iPod.

@Koz - did you make this “guitar” AIFF file from a complete track (FIle > Export), or File > Export Selection?


Right-click over the link - there should be a choice to save the file.

Personally, no. The steps to reproduce the Export Multiple out-of-order problem are not clear, so I am just guessing .

I do not have an iPod. Koz or someone else who has an iPod could try. The clearer the problem is, the more likely someone will try.


Not in Safari, or Firefox either
but I did get to File Save As in Firefox

I do not have an iPod. Koz or someone else who has an iPod could try. The clearer the problem is, the more likely someone will try.

Miller aiff did not play on my ipod
split Miller aiff did not play on my ipod ( 4 10 seconds splits)
Buffy aiff already on my ipod plays just fine
I readded the bluegrass tape aiff on my ipod and it plays just fine
buffy.tiff (264 KB)

How do we interpret the result that this file does not play on your iPod, yet Koz tested that same file on two different iPods and it played on both with no problem?
Could it be that the issue depends on a specific iPod version, or perhaps a specific version of iPod firmware, or something to do with the version of iTunes that is used to load the AIFF files onto the iPod?

It appears that this problem can also occur with AIFF files created by Logic

And a similar (possibly the same) issue here that appeared with AIFF files created by Logic Express after the user updated iTunes:

From a quick Google search it appears that there is a common problem with Mac OS X getting AIFF and AIFC files mixed up.

These types of issues with AIFF files come up on forums for other software that are unrelated to Audacity, including Sound Forge, Logic, ProTools and Ableton Live.
The best “solution” that I’ve seen in these forums is to not use WAV rather than AIFF.

Do we have any direct evidence that Audacity is writing AIFF files that are not compliant to the file specification?

I am not sure.
How do we interpret this result.

I opened all the Audacity files in Tommy with Amadeus
saved them as aiff in another folder (tommy_a)
added those songs to my itunes library
synched them to my ipod
and they played FINE!

Tried the Audacity only Tommy
and nothing played.

As far as what may be wrong with the Audacity file,
I am not a progrmmer
but I have attached what Peak LE says about your files.

It would be nicer if it fixed the file for you,
and let you work with it
but that’s a choice in design.
screen.tiff (702 KB)

That’s jumping to the assumption that the file is “broken” in some way, which at this stage I’d say is far from certain.

Apple support say that the error -39 message indicates that the file may be corrupt, but in this case the file data is clearly not corrupt because the file opens correctly in other applications.

Also, the fact that searching Google brings up lots of issues with AIFF files from other well known applications (such as Logic, ProTools, Ableton Live) strongly suggests that the issue is not specific to Audacity.

Try this file, it’s just a 10 second beep.
Does it work in iTunes?
Does it work in Peak LE?
Does it work on your iPod?
test.aiff (861 KB)

As stated before, if Audacity exports an iTunes-created AIFF file containing NORM and PGAP data, it duplicates the Normalisation information towards the top of the file (but removing the “NORM” designation from both instances) and removes the Gapless (PGAP) information entirely.

AIFF’s saved by Audacity or most non-Apple programs will not be identical to those saved by iTunes because of this iTunes-specific metadata.

@audio_pete, I don’t think I ever got an answer to this question - if you export from Audacity as AIFF without metadata, then add the metadata in iTunes, does iPod play the files?


error 39.png
Generate a minute of tone or record a minute of audio in Audacity. File > Export as AIFF, do not add metadata. Does that give error 39 in Peak?

Now select the first 30 seconds of that audio and File > Export Selection as AIFF, do not add metadata. Does that give error 39 in Peak?


I don’t see any reference to either PGAP or NORM in AIFF-1.3 specification.

That’s why I called it iTunes-specific metadata. My supposition is that if that is missing, it may it make it more difficult for iPod to play the files.

Currently I cannot replicate Audacity removing PGAP on Windows, but it was doing it recently on Mac. I’ll have to test more.


I don’t have iTunes or any iTunes files so I need to ask.
Is the “iTunes-specific metadata” in one of the standard chunks, or is it an additional chunk outside of the AIFF specification?
In particular, where are these “NORM” and “PGAP” values?
Is Audacity moving the order of the chunks or is the NORM data moved within the chunk to which it was written by iTunes?

The “NORM” is called iTunNORM and like iTunPGAP, it’s an ID3 COM comment tag. In AIFF as written by iTunes, these tags are with the other ID3 tags, at the end of the file in the SSND chunk.

iTunPGAP just refers to gapless or not as far as I know.

Here is some information on iTunNORM .

When I saw it happening, iTunNORM was duplicated near the start of SSND but the tag descriptions “iTunNORM” were removed from both. The iTunPGAP description and value was removed (perhaps the entire tag was removed - I don’t recall).

I’ve attached a short AIFF, created by File > Export Selection in Audacity, then saved in iTunes on Windows.

amphetamine.aif (408 KB)

I will run requested tests when I get time

You can think what you want
I KNOW Audacity does NOT write out a proper aiff file.

I began with a personal project to transfer 3 cassette tapes to my iPod.
I completed part of that task yesterday when I moved Tommy by the Who to my iPod.
Most of the work was done in Audacity, the final aiff file came from Amadeus.
Today, I completed Crusin’ with the Classics vol 6 using the same workflow.
Seems a shame that Audacity does all the work but Amadeus gets the final credit.
That just leaves the Bluegrass tape which I will complete as soon as I get time.

Are you really sure it’s worth the effort - you do realize that you can buy the CD of Tommy quite cheaply these days (Amazon US $8.49, Amazon UK £5.94) - especially as your source material is inherently noisy tape :confused:

We do not know that yet. I think by “proper” you are talking about an AIFF file that an iPod is capable of playing.

It’s quite clear that different iPods behave differently on battery or not, with different AIFF files, and with different versions of iTunes.

I know you have tried to help but we do not have clear steps to reproduce anything at the moment.

Please can you answer these four questions - shouldn’t take too long.

  1. If you record, then export multiple from Audacity as AIFF without metadata, then add the metadata in iTunes, does iPod play the files?

  2. If iPod plays the files in 1), is it playing them in the correct order - if not, exactly what do you have to do in iTunes to make that happen?

  3. Can you play 01 Amphetamine (2001 Rework).aif from .

  4. What is the serial number of the iPod - can you identify it here please as to what generation it is ?