What is an .ape file?
The APE file extension stands for Monkey's Audio, a lossless audio format by a company bearing the same name. Unlike lossy file formats, APE doesn’t sacrifice any audio data during compression. This means that APE audio files preserve and reproduce the original sound during playback. In other words, if a CD is damaged, you can use your first-generation digital APE copy to perfectly restore your music. Besides the audio, APE also features error detection and tag support, storing details about the audio tracks.
Compressing music using Monkey's Audio results in a 50% decrease in file size as compared to the original uncompressed one. This is better than FLAC, another lossless format, which achieves a 30-50% compression. On the other hand, APE may take longer to decompress, as that’s a very CPU-intensive process, and if an APE music file is partially corrupted, the data that is left cannot be played.
The Monkey's Audio encoder is free, but not open source, hence the format doesn’t enjoy a very wide player support. APE is generally more popular with Windows users, but you can definitely find a good APE player for Mac such as Elmedia.