Whats the Flack About FLAC
Flac was originally developed by Josh Coalson and incorporated by Xiphophorus (Xiph.Org Foundation) in 2003. While it is regarded by some as a very popular format, it is in fact much less used than other audio formats such as MP3 and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC).
However, in comparison to these two, more popular (and lossy) compression formats, FLAC is totally lossless allowing it to preserve more of the original sound quality of the audio track. Furthermore, FLAC is also able to provide this lossless audio quality without higher file sizes and at a lower bandwidth. Currently, FLAC can allow audio from a CD or other source to be digitally encoded at a quality that is identical to the original.
Even though the file is of high quality, the file size is typically cut in half of what the track would be before compression. FLAC allows for fast seeking times between tracks when played on a computer based music player. Songs encoded with FLAC can be tagged with a variety of criteria, including artist name, track title, song length, and more. FLAC encoded songs can even support cover art attachments for a full multimedia listening experience. Comparisons To Other Formats FLAC is the perfect audio compression format for both storage uses and playback quality.
From a storage perspective, FLAC is able to shrink file sizes via compression rates that can range between thirty to fifty percent of the original file size for music tracks. Pure voice tracks can be compressed at even higher efficiencies. This is in comparison to a typical zip file which can only allow an original file to be compressed by ten to twenty percent. In comparison to lossy audio codecs, FLAC falls short, as it does compress files without reducing the audio quality.
This means that although a lossy codec can shrink a file by as much as eighty percent in some cases, it does so by reducing sound quality. On the other hand, a FLAC encoded file will still have all of the original audio data intact. Popular Windows audio players supporting the FLAC format: Nero Burning ROM with optional external filter plug-in MediaMonkey Winamp Burrrn Flac Frontend Total Audio Converter Vegas Pro 8 Yahoo! Music Jukebox Roxio Easy Media Creator.
John Cicero has written articles on FLAC, Convert FLAC to MP3 and Audio CODEC for The Tech FAQ.
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