FLAC format: What Is It? History and Uses

What is FLAC?

FLAC is an acronym for Free Lossless Audio Codec, it is almost like MP3 the only difference is that MP3 make use of what is called “lossy” compression. FLAC is ranked the popular and fastest lossless audio codec when digital audio is compressed by FLAC such audio is reduced to a size that is about 50% to 70% of the main size of the audio file although the reduced file is a matching copy of the initial audio file. The space taken by an audio file compressed by FLAC is quite smaller than the size it is before compression while maintaining the same quality. With the free lossless audio codec, every single sound made in an audio file can be heard, some of these sounds might not necessarily be a sound that can be comprehended or heard by an average human but if you have more sensitive ears you would love the standard quality FLAC lossless compression, this fact is what differentiates FLAC from MP3. Using MP3 the audio file sound is filtered that is some fragment of the sound information has been discarded. Using FLAC there is no loss of information, FLAC is supported by a lot of electronic devices such as car stereo, portable players, home stereo and the likes. FLAC is quite an error-resistant because of the framing it has, this feature helps reduces the effect of damage to the part where the error occurs and FLAC makes CD archiving possible. This free lossless audio codec is made in an open format, therefore, it is quite impossible to generate loss if the audio file compressed is needed to be converted into some other format in the nearest future. There is a verify option in FLAC and this option helps in decoding the encoded file stream in parallel with an encoding process with a comparison of the compressed file to the original file and if any error is detected whatsoever the process will be aborted.

History of FLAC

Sometime in the late nineties, the MP3 was creating worrisome effect based on the rampant illegal sharing by users over Napster. FLAC was developed in the year 2000 and the implementation of FLAC was made on the 15th of January 2001 with a Beta version of 0.5. On the 20th of July 2001, another version was released which was version 1.0. By 29th of January 2003, FLAC project and Xiph.org Foundation made public their incorporation and this was made known under the Xip.org banner. You would ask what is Xip.org? Xip.org is a foundation that is responsible for other free compression formats such as Theora, Vorbis, Opus, and Speex. A new version of FLAC was released on the 26th of May 2013 and from this point onward development was shifted to the Xip.org git repository. FLAC comprises of the stream format and also plugin inputs for countless media players. There is also something called Ogg FLAC, this is a format that uses Ogg container which was incorporated by Xip.org for streaming.

Uses of FLAC

FLAC is supported by several apps on different types of mobile phones and PC such as IOS, Android and Windows (specifically Windows 10). FLAC is good when it comes to downloading files on the internet as it helps reduce the time use in downloading. FLAC can be used in streaming music files on the internet, compressing audio files, typically not all music or media players can play a FLAC file but there are quite a number of quality media players that do this, an example is VOX music player for iPhones and Mac. There have been some comments about no difference between FLAC and MP3 and this is so not true. FLAC music quality is experienced with a good headphone and a good sound system because sometimes without this it might be quite hard to distinguish between these two. The quality of a FLAC audio file is clear and succinct as the original sound recording of that audio file. The quality of audio that FLAC gives is way better than that of MP3.

Conclusion

All being said about FLAC, it is evident that FLAC is not as known by all when compared with MP3, based on the fact that FLAC more than x2 of an mp3 file but smaller when compressed. Although with the compression there is no difference whatsoever in the sound quality of FLAC audio file. If you cannot really differentiate between these two, have you made a comparison using a headphone with great sound quality? Some music player or streaming service uses FLAC as an upload option and also a download option.

Our FLAC Converter page has a lot of conversion types that can be done from that format, the most popular ones are FLAC to MP3 or MP3 to FLAC. Our formats page has a full list of all the supported conversion types.

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