In the era of streaming apps like Spotify, owning your own collection of music files isn’t nearly as common as it was ten years ago. However, improvements in storage technology mean FLAC music libraries are nowhere near as onerous as they once were in the days of P2P file sharing and pirated MP3 downloads.
The FLAC versus MP3 debate is very different than it was many years ago. Audiophiles often take advantage of FLAC, while the main advantage of MP3 has always been its overall distribution rate and manageable file sizes.
If you are still one of the few people who store your music collection locally rather than just streaming it, now is the best time to consider converting your music collection to FLAC format.
What is FLAC?
FLAC, which stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, is for music files what TIFF is for image files – the ideal file format for lossless music quality at half the size of CD ripping.
FLAC is compatible with the next generation iPhone starting with iOS 11 and macOS using QuickTime. These files can be played on Android and Windows by downloading one of the many third-party applications that support it (see later in this article).
In recent years, audiophiles and tech enthusiasts have propelled FLAC into the mainstream. Like MP3, FLAC lacks any form of DRM (digital rights management), making it a pirates’ favorite file format. Almost every record label releases their artists’ music in this lossless format.
If you have a favorite mainstream artist, and even if your favorite artist is indie, chances are very high that you can legitimately buy their music in FLAC format for the same price as MP3.
Back in the days of P2P file sharing applications like Napster and LimeWire, FLAC was nowhere near as popular as MP3 due to its much larger size. Today, when you can find 128GB flash drives for under $ 10, file sizes aren’t a concern. However, to truly experience and appreciate FLAC quality, you’ll need a great set of speakers or headphones. To the untrained ear, the difference may not be very noticeable.
FLAC vs MP3: How is FLAC Better than MP3?
The main reason to convert your music collection to FLAC format is to improve sound quality. Lossless file formats mean you can experience them in their purest form, as they were created and designed to play. MP3 is a lossy file format and FLAC does not have compression, which can distort the sound of some MP3 files.
FLAC is also not limited to 16-bit CD quality. These files can be up to 24 bit / 192 kHz resolution or better than CD quality. Uncompressed CD formats such as CDA and WAV offer true CD quality like FLAC, but neither is nearly as compact. Although FLAC files are often about six times larger than MP3 files, they are still half the size of direct ripped CD.
So to summarize: do you have quality audio equipment? Is storage space a problem for you? If you answered yes to both of these questions, FLAC can do nothing but improve your listening experience. No reason to skip MP3s – the days of Napster are long gone!
How to play FLAC files
If you’re using an iPhone running iOS 11 or later, your device fully supports FLAC files. Any versions of iOS prior to 11 will need to download the FLAC player from an app store like VLC for mobile, Flacbox, or VOX
If you are using macOS FLAC is natively supported through QuickTime Player
How to convert FLAC files
Windows standalone apps are no longer a necessity with the recent boom in web apps. This led to the development of multipurpose web converters such as Zamzar, however FLAC is one of the few common files not supported by this popular service.
For converting MP3, WAV, M4A, OGG, MP2 and AMR files to FLAC and vice versa, we found the best solution – this is an online audio converter.
All you need to do to get started is click the Open Files button to open the request and explore the file on your system, or you can click on Google Drive, Dropbox, or the URL to download the file by these methods P>
Then you can choose which quality parameter to convert to: 64, 128, 192 or 320 kbps. By clicking Advanced Settings, you can further change the bit rate, sample rate, and add additional effects such as fading in or out or reversing the sound of the file.
After you click the Convert button, it should only take a few seconds before the Download button appears, allowing you to do just that. It is so simple.
Audiophiles or not, the advantages of FLAC over MP3 far outweigh the disadvantages. Since sizes such as 64GB are no longer the upper limit for removable storage, the size difference is negligible. Treat your ears correctly and leave us a comment below if you have any questions or comments regarding the FLAC file type.