What is FLAC ?

Free Lossless Audio Codec or FLAC is a leading compression method that preserves the original audio quality while reducing file size. FLAC is a royalty-free, open-source format that has been widely adopted for its many advantages in digital audio reproduction. Compression techniques take huge files like wave or .wav files and reduce the data bits while keeping as much of the audio qualities as possible. A well-known format in audio compression is MP3 (.mp3). MP3 files slim down bulky compact disk and wave files to a portion of their original size, making MP3 a perfect format for handy audio players. The MP3 format enables a vast library of songs to occupy a very small storage footprint. However, there is an exchange in audio quality.

FLAC exceeds MP3 quality by preserving the original sound in exact detail. The FLAC format can reduce the original file size about 30-60 percent with no quality loss. That is why it is a lossless format. This varies from the MP3 format, which compromises the sound quality. One of the great advantages of FLAC is its up to speed decoding time, or capability to stream even on modest hardware. A technical specific in the framed architecture also enables it to be error resistant, in that each frame has the needed information to decode itself. If there is a corrupted frame, the data lost in the stream is a simple blip. This differs from the other types of formats where the entire stream would be corrupted.

Another quality of FLAC is that it can hold up to eight channels of audio for surround sound recordings preservation. FLAC is also a great choice for archiving audio CDs, as one can always use the FLAC file later for future formats conversion. A further advantage of FLAC is that it supports replay gain, a method to make sure that the sound files recorded play at the same volume level.

The only drawback of FLAC files is that the ratio of compression is not as sharp as other codec. However, with all of the rewards from FLAC, this is a happy trade off for most audiophiles. Considering the declining prices of portable players, flash cards, and storage devices, the FLAC file format will only gain support. FLAC files can play on most portable devices including iPods, and on car compact disk home or many other players that support FLAC.

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