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2011-12-09 by Fat Henry


We all know mp3, but what is the purpose of FLAC?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed without any loss in quality: you get a perfect copy of your CD tracks, but with files significantly smaller than wav files or aiff files.

There are many ways to play FLAC-files purchased from GubeMusic, whether you're using a computer, portable device or a network capable hi-fi stereo.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

Portable devices/handhelds

iOS (iPhone/iPad): Search App Store
AndroidSearch Android Marketplace

Computer playback software

PC/Mac: Songbird
Linux: Songbird Contributed Builds

Mac: MacFlac 2.1.2
Windows: Flac frontend

Computer playback hardware

There are many available DACs (Digital-to-analog converter) which enables you to play back high quality FLAC audio on your hi-fi using USB, Firewire or your home network. See your local dealer for further advice.

Hi-fi equipment

Check out the official Flac homepage at SourceForge for a non-exhaustive list of products.


About FLAC
FLAC files are audio files that have been compressed, but without any loss of the original audio information.

Common audio file formats such as mp3 or AAC (lossy compression formats) achieve their small file sizes by reducing accuracy of certain parts of the audio that are considered to be beyond the auditory resolution ability of most people

FLAC has a compression rate of 30 to 50%. Lossy compression formats can achieve compression rates of up to 80%, but the higher the percentage rate, the more audio information is lost.

At GubeMusic, our mp3s are encoded with the LAME encoder using high quality settings with VBR. For some people this will be enough, as they only listen to music on their mp3 players, mobile phones or computers.

However, FLAC is the file format for the true music lover. FLAC retains 100 per cent of the audio information when taken from a CD. Which means that when you burn FLAC to CD, you get genuine CD quality audio.

More and more hi-fi manufacturers are adding FLAC capabilities to their equipment, and FLAC is becoming a standard feature of audio equipment.



Comments (126)

2010-05-04 aka

My FLAC workflow on Mac OS X is to use Max by Stephen F. Booth to convert FLAC to MPEG-4 Audio (Apple Lossless). This means no loss of quality including for 24bit/96kHz recordings. Max allows you to easily add artwork during the conversion process. Max further has a nice option to import converted files automatically to the iTunes Library. Once in iTunes you can use the new sync feature to convert to 128kps when syncing to iPod/iPhone devices to minimise the required storage space. Another important FLAC tool on the Mac is Burn by Maarten Foukhar. It allows you to burn FLAC files to various types of disk media. Particularly interesting is the possibility to burn high definition audio recordings with up to 24bit/192kHz as DVD-Audio if you have player that supports this format.

2010-05-09 Bugge Wesseltoft

Hi Interesting issues here..Speaking for myself I do convert flac audio into normal aiff(works with all softwares along with waw.). Max is a great orogram too and good idea to concvert 24bit stuff via max. Specially with the artwork (metadata?)issues..

2010-07-14 Totningen i Toronto

You have an informative piece on Jan Erik "the engineer" Kongshaug's own recording (!!) but I don't seem to be able to buy it (download). I guess you don't have it. Do you know where it can be purchased? Takker og bukker...

2010-09-07 Jason

I really appreciate that you offer music in FLAC. 96k might be a bit overkill (perhaps 48k is enough), but anyway.. good stuff! To Apple users: maybe you can tell Apple to add support for FLAC. It's a free format, so it costs them nothing. They like to talk about open standards (when talking about Flash etc.), but when it comes to supporting a relatively popular media format they rather lock you into their own formats.

2010-09-07 bugge

thanks jason! As much as i admire Apple and thyre clevernes on simplicity, I have to say mp3 and itunes are up for a sound quality upgrade..this is the reason why we started gubemusic. To promote good sound and good music

2010-10-14 Kay Irgens

That's really good news. So the world is not going to end after all? ;-) Thanks for the good work, being ahead of it all the time. A+++

2011-02-17 bugge wesseltoft

Hei Ingar! Flac og Wav er vel det samme men Wav er litt mer brukervennlig i forhold til Itunes.. Jeg bruker programmet Songbird som er veldig bra og leser flac. De fleste nyere nettverksspillere(som vil erstatte CD) Leser både wav og flac og alle andre formater i ulik oppløsning.CD er ferdig ja! Takk for at du besøker oss!

2011-06-07 Tor

Just an update on the mac / flac info. I had a hard time finding a good solution as the ones listed wasn't working satisfactory. Some of the programs were buggy, and the plug-in for itunes doesn't play the flack files with the highest quality. However, something that does work without any hassle is VLC. Combine that with Airfoil and you can stream flack wirelessly if you have the equipment to support it. Hope this is helpful for other mac users out there. Have a good day.

2011-06-26 Stig Bjorge

Hei! FLAC er bare en "innpakking" som er praktisk til transport av musikkfiler med "plateomslag" sangtitler osv. WAV formatet er ikke like godt egnet til å frakte med seg alle disse andre tingene. Akkurat som et fysisk plateomslag med LP eller CD inni, bør du bruke progeramvare til å "pakke opp" musikken inni FLAC filen til det formatet du har behov for (f.eks. WAV eller AIFF). Dette bruker du så til avspilling i iTunes eller andre avspillerprogrammer. Noen ganger er det også mulig å spille FLAC direkte (dvs. programvaren gjør omforming real-time under avspillingen. Men dette er IKKE idelt fra et lydmessig synspunkt. Bruk forresten GOOGLE til å finne et program som gjør det mulig å håndtere FLAC med iTunes. Lykke til!

2011-06-27 bugge

HI Tor. Thanks for good advices! My favourite is Songbird. Great program. great layout. plays flac directly..

2011-08-16 Chris Simmons

Hi Bugge, I used to have a program on my mac that I could convert a lot of files to play on any of my mac devices and I believe it used to convert FLAC to a disc and then I could import to my library with no problem. It seems to have deleted itself from my computer and I can't find it on the net. The option suggested in the macflac 2.1.2 informs after download that it won't work as the power pc option is no longer supported. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks Chris, Rio-Brasil

2012-12-28 Johnny

Hello Bugge, VLC is also a nice multiOS s.w.player. Supports SPDIF. From my MacBooks optical output (phone) via optical toslink cabel direct to the DAC in my NADC375BEE Happy New Year

2012-12-29 Bugge Wesseltoft

Hi Johnny. Good suggestion!

2013-12-07 Bill Lane

To play FLAC files on a Mac, to my ears, two apps stand out as way ahead of the pack. Decibel (from the same guy who developed Max and Tag) is pretty great. But more recently, I’ve discovered Audirvana. It lacks metadata related features and the handling of artwork is feeble, but the sound quality is stunning. For portable playback of FLAC files, an amazing device under $200 is the Chinese-made Fiio X3. The screen is a little dim, but the sound quality is excellent, even plugged into my pretty average car system. Being an Apple user since 1984, I have recently come to the conclusion that they’re no longer ahead of the curve - at least in the world of audio.

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