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M4A file format

File extension
.m4a
File category
Description

Apple Inc. has designed M4A format on the basis of QuickTime Fike. Now the format is being promoted in iTunes. It is a multimedia container intended for placement of sound components, as well as other data, such as images. MPEG-4 files may be stored with extensions M4A and MP4. In the latter case, they contain video as well.

Alongside these sound formats, MPEG-4 allows for lossy compaction, through FFC Codec. However, it is possible to provide a lossless compaction thanks to Apple Lossless format. The files may be played on Windows PCs via iTunes, Windows Media Player 12, KSP Sound Player, Winamp and some other programs. With iTunes, the data can be converted into Windows-supported audio formats.

Technical details

In comparison with its predecessor MP3, M4A format provides with better sound quality and smaller file size. Thanks to lossless compaction, the data may be easily converted in both direction with no deterioration in quality. The sound data encoded with ACC compression, which reduces the file size considerably.

Due to protection technology DRM, MP4 files cannot be easily distributed, while it is much simpler to replicate files in M4A; that is why “Apple Lovers” prefer the latter format. With M4A, it is possible to buy music in iTunes, as well as download it into smartphones or other devices.

Programs
Microsoft Windows Media Player
VLC media player
MPlayer
Amarok
Winamp
Apple QuickTime Player
Apple iTunes
Developer
Apple
MIME type
audio/mpeg