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What is a FLAC file?

Music changed with the advent of the MP3, a file format for encoded music that didn’t take up large amounts of hard drive space. While MP3 has become a dominant format, audiophiles are not fans of MP3 because this particular method of compression results in a loss of quality.

If you’ve been looking for an alternative means of music that doesn’t impact audio quality, you may have come across FLAC. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Your average FLAC file is about six times the size of the MP3, meaning you won’t be able to fit as many songs on a hard drive, but the trade off is completely uncompressed music. Just think, every note will be accurately reproduced in the same way it was recorded.

A standard MP3 generally eliminates pieces of the recording unheard by the human ear. While this is a bit of an oversimplification, the fact is that any compression does have an impact on the final recording, i.e. a CD-quality song compressed into an MP3 will sound different. FLAC is still a compressed format, but it won’t sacrifice any detail from the original recording. Today, most Windows devices as well as Android operating systems will play FLAC files without any additional software. iOS devices do not natively support FLAC, however there are third party apps that will play FLAC files.