Hey, CAF is Actually Pretty COOL!

So you can get your standard Apple Loops back simply by reinstalling your Logic Pro Content disc. You’ll need to reindex your Apple Loops though. The loop browser will ask you if you want to do this when you select something it can’t find.

But after this process you’ll just be more excited to have every loop be a CAF loop! Check this out:

  • Apple Loops for Garageband Folder in AIF: 1.09 gigs
  • Apple Loops for Garageband Folder in CAF: 233.1 megs

Okay, I’m simply assuming that they are the same exact loops (the library is over 1000 loops), but the file counts are the same and so are the filenames (the filenames you see scrolling through). Same content at less than a quarter of the space. Amazing.

So what’s different about a CAF loop than an AIFF loop?

Here’s what it says on the OSX Core Audio page about CAF:

Core Audio Format is the latest addition to the dozens of audio formats supported natively in Mac OS X. Developed by Apple, Core Audio Format (CAF) combines virtually infinite capacity with rich support for metadata in an optimized-for-audio package. As a 64-bit file format, you can record a thousand channels of audio for a thousand years in a single file. And it can store any audio data, whether uncompressed PCM or compressed such as AAC. Application support for these files is available today in QuickTime 7.

Basically, more metadata, 64-bit file format with support for tons of audio channels. It’s also a container format.

So according to those file sizes (and these Soundtrack Pro 2 Release Notes) it seems that Apple will be switching from AIFF loops to Apple Lossless in a CAF container. It reminds me a lot of the REX format. After Apple Loops came out I wondered why they weren’t losslessly compressed like REX. Now they are.

I hope that Apple will provide a new Apple Loops utility that can batch convert user libraries to CAF loops. The only issue I can see is if you currently use Apple Loops with other software.