FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It's a free, open source standard for compressing audio files. It's popular because it's lossless: Storing your tunes as FLAC files preserves their quality better than more "lossy" standards, including MP3s. While many media players handle FLAC files, plenty of portable devices don't. If you store digital music as FLAC files but your portable player doesn't play them, you'll need to convert them to MP3s first. For that job, you'll need a tool like PolySoft's Free FLAC to MP3 Converter. It's totally … Read more
A great-sounding recording will sound its best only when it's properly mastered to LP, SACD, DVD-Audio, or a high-resolution file. Those formats will reveal the full glory of the music in ways that lower-resolution formats like MP3 or analog cassette always miss. But if you didn't have access to the high-resolution file to compare it with, a great recording will still sound pretty terrific as an AAC, M4A, or 320kbps MP3 file, because the recording's innate quality would shine through. On the other hand, a heavily compressed, processed and crude recording will always sound heavily compressed, processed … Read more
There are a lot of great programs available to rip CDs to MP3, AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, etc., but most require you to re-rip your CD if you want to save the rip to a different file format. If you have a large CD collection, ripping your CDs twice could take an excruciatingly long time.
dBpoweramp for Windows (XP/Vista/7/8), is a very fast and accurate audio CD ripper that supports ripping to multiple encoders. If you want to rip your CDs to FLAC for archiving and to MP3 for use on an iPod or smartphone, dbPoweramp can … Read more
Just like canned beer, MP3s are cheap, convenient, and sold just about everywhere, but the quality doesn't hold up well under scrutiny. If you want to hear every detail in your music -- every breath, every strum, every rattle -- then a lossless format such as FLAC is the way to go.
The Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) is capable of reducing the size of uncompressed audio sources by 40 percent to 50 percent without any degradation in sound quality. You can find free programs for Mac, Windows, and Linux that will play and rip FLAC files, but finding a FLAC-compatible MP3 player isn't quite so easy.
It's possible that you already own a FLAC-compatible audio player and don't realize it -- check your manufacturer's support page for firmware updates that could enable FLAC and provide other improvements. If you own an older iPod, the open-source Rockbox firmware offers FLAC audio playback, custom EQ, games, and tons of little surprises. Meanwhile if you own an iPod Touch or an iPhone, there are several apps available from the App Store that will let you play and upload FLAC files. Read our FLAC FAQ here.… Read more
In the late 1990s, one of the original portable music file formats -- the MP3 -- was causing quite a bit of bother. It had earned itself a reputation as a pirate format, and this was mainly due to the sharing site Napster, which was at the height of its notoriety. While MP3 inevitably prevailed, there is a much better choice for high-quality music, and it's gaining in popularity.
FLAC is a musical file format that offers bit-perfect copies of CDs at half the size, and is compatible with many phones (including the iPhone -- with an app), MP3 … Read more
While we all patiently wait for Justin Yu's airline troubles to dissipate, CNET editors David Carnoy and Ty Pendlebury join Jeff on the show to chat about the world of self-publishing, the best places to find FLAC music, Microsoft Surface, Xbox Music, and the places you're most likely to break your iPhone.
Topics from today's show:
- Check out David's new book "The Big Exit." Or, for a chance to win a digital or hardcover copy, send an e-mail with "The Big Exit" in the subject line to the404 [at] cnet [dot] com.
- Microsoft Surface dates and prices
- Don't worry, the iPad Mini will come in just 24 easy-to-understand versions.
- Xbox Music is coming. Don't call it Zune!
- Ty's FLAC music-finding guide
If you want to listen to better-quality digital music, then FLAC files are a great way to do it. They typically use half the storage space of uncompressed music files and should sound identical to music played from a CD. And yes, you can use apps like FLAC Player to listen to them on iOS devices.
Like MP3s, there are two main ways to get FLACs legally: rip them from CDs, or buy them directly. While we cover how to rip your own music to FLAC format here, there are several sites that offer FLAC album downloads for less than the price of a CD, and yet offer the same level of quality. You'll find that most of these sites are independent and that's because major labels have yet to embrace fully lossless downloads, presumably because of the ever-present "piracy concerns."
Below are the best five stores that sell the FLAC format. If you're interested in higher-than-CD quality, some of the following sites also offer 24-bit "HD" downloads for an extra charge.… Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Neil Young introduces his own Pono audio system, could rival Apple.
- Stop showing me your stupid Internet face.
- Top face pullers gurning for the UK title.
- Life-sized pictures of Google Street View screenshots printed and wheatpasted IRL.
- If you have time tomorrow, check out Field Trip Day for Android users across the country.
- Connect with Ty Pendlebury on Twitter.
MP3s are very convenient and supported by many devices from portables to car audio systems. But no matter how high the bit rate of an MP3 file, it's still a lossy format, meaning some of the sound quality is lost during the conversion from a CD.
FLAC is a lossless audio codec that doesn't lose any sound quality during conversion, but is much bigger in size than MP3 files. It's also not as widely supported in devices as compared with MP3s, but there are many more of them than just a few years ago. If sound quality … Read more
High-resolution formats like Blu-ray, DVD-Audio, SACD, and LP are all capable of delivering superb sound quality, but having music in those formats doesn't automatically guarantee great sound. The recording itself would first have to sound great, or to put it another way, a great sounding MP3 would sound better than a heavily compressed and studio processed 192-kHz/24-bit Master Audio Blu-ray.
Worrying about what sounds better--FLAC, WAV, or AIFF files--is a total waste of time if you're listening to an Adele or Black Keys album: the music's processing levels are so extreme, there's nothing for … Read more