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Audio Basis - articles about audio

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (flac extension) is PCM audio format to lossless compression and file container for music stuff. This file have extension like the codec name.

"Lossless" mean "original and compressed audio content are fully identical binary".

Read how to open FLAC files, about sound quality, converting, playback issues, user guides below.

What is FLAC file format >Features >Converters >FLAC audio format quality >How to split FLAC CUE >How to play FLAC >FLAC file download free (samples) >FLAC file and iTunes >FLAC or mp3 >


Watch and share: How to split CUE FLAC


Apparatus implementations of the codec are exists.


Single big *.flac file may be used as album container with CUE index file, that point to track beginings.


Free Lossless Audio Codec is supported by Xiph.Org Foundation.

The codec's open-source programming library is available under Windows, Unix family (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, IRIX), BeOS, OS/2, Amiga.



FLAC features

  • Sample rate - up to 384 kHz
  • Bit depth - up to 32 bit
  • Channels - 1 to 8
  • Compression kind - lossless
  • Compression - compressed / uncompressed (non-standard)
  • FLAC file size compression / packing speed ratio - 9 levels
         (approximatelly, target FLAC size is 60% of original WAV and more)
  • Using as format container - yes
  • Text metadata support - yes
  • Artwork metadata support - yes
  • Storing several artworks in single music file - yes
  • Programming code - open-source



FLAC audio format quality issues

One of infinite discussions is "Sound quality FLAC vs. WAV". There is opinion that WAV sound better than FLAC.

Even FLAC uncompressed was released.

FLAC and WAV have identical binary musical content. Thus FLAC and WAV should sound absolutelly identically.

Watch and share: Free Lossless Audio Codec vs. WAV, comparison music content


In the video we can see, how to compare FLAC and WAV musical content. Main question: how FLAC and WAV can sound differently, when both contains absolutelly identical digital stream? It's a software "bug"?

There is hypothesys that FLAC decoding increase CPU calculating intensity and electromagnetic radiation and wire noise more significantly impact to analog part of DAC, where noise level is increased. Generally, for modern systems FLAC decompression if not too big load.

However, still author don't see researches, where noise levels (for playback FLAC and WAV with similar binary audio content) are compared.

Upsampled FLAC have losses, technically. But playback distortions may depend on flac sample rate.



FLAC converters

  1. AuI ConverteR 48x44 (Win, Mac)
  2. XLD (Mac)
  3. Foobar 2000 (Win)


How to Convert ISO to FLAC under Mac and Windows [User Guide] >

DSF to FLAC Converter [with User Guide] >

FLAC to DSF Converter [with User Guide] >

FLAC CUE Splitter >

FLAC Uncompressed Converter >



How to play FLAC files (software players)

  1. Foobar 2000 (Win)
  2. VOX (Mac)
  3. AIMP (Win)



FLAC file and iTunes

FLAC file is iTunes incompatible. However FLAC can be converted to AIFF with keephing metadata (including artwork).

As example, if you use FLAC file converter AuI ConverteR, into its Settings > Metadata > check Compatibility metatags with iTunes switch.



FLAC or mp3

FLAC is lossless format. MP3 is lossy.

MP3 may have different levels of compresion. It is not obligatorily, that you distinguish sound difference between FLAC nad MP3.

If you don't hear the difference now, simply keep original lossless FLACs, WAVs or other. May be at future equipment you get the sound difference. Or new compressing format is appear to achieve lesser size with keeping quality, as example.



FLAC file download free

FLAC audio sample download:

  1. Audiophile FLAC audio samples (including MQA) here
  2. FLAC music samples here




Free Lossless Audio Codec specification

Free Lossless Audio Codec license



Read more about FLAC



Read other site parts

  1. DFF File Format Audio. DFF File Extension >
  2. DSF File Format Audio. DSF File Extension >
  3. Audio converter >
  4. DSF DFF WAV FLAC AIFF mp3 ... converter >
  5. ISO converter [1-bit audio] >
  6. CD ripper audio >
  7. Metadata editor >
  8. Tutorials >
  9. Educational Audio Basis program >


What is FLAC file



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