Free Lossless Audio Codec

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What is FLAC?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Grossly oversimplified, FLAC is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see supported devices) just like you would an MP3 file.


Players that support FLAC

Foobar2000

Rio Karma

iAudio M3

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does the compression level affect decompression speed?

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: In truth, the compression level does affect the decompression speed, but the difference between the various compress levels can barely be measured and is too small to be noticed, even on low-end machines.


Question: What is the best compression level for encoding my music?

Short Answer: The default setting, 5.

Long Answer: Encoding at the default setting will give the best balance between compression and encoding speed. Encoding at 8 can more than quadruple the encoding time, while having an insignificant effect on compression.

External References

FLAC Project Webpage

Download

Rio Karma

Speek's Comparison of lossless audio compressors