The FLAC format is becoming more and more popular for audio files. Today, we explore what FLAC is, why more and more people are using it, how you can open a FLAC file and what tools to use to convert it. Plus, we will share a fast and easy way to send large FLAC files over the web.
What is FLAC?
A FLAC file is a compressed audio file using the Free Lossless Audio Codec format. FLAC is an open-source lossless audio compression format. This audio format is similar to .MP3 — but the audio is compressed without losing any original audio data.
What makes FLAC a popular audio format is that it can reduce the size of digital audio recordings by almost 60% without losing quality.
FLAC vs. MP3 & FLAC vs. WAV
So, what is the difference between FLAC, MP3 and WAV?
Before we get into the details, we need to distinguish between the two types of file compression: lossy compression and lossless compression. This is essential for understanding the differences between the three formats.
Lossy compression refers to a compression algorithm that doesn’t restore data into its original form. This type of compression is mainly used for video and music files: in this case, the redundant data is deleted to reduce the file size.
The biggest benefit of using lossy compression is the substantial file size reduction. The downside is the decline in data quality — which is especially important when it comes to video and imagefiles.
Lossless compression, on the other hand, is the type of compression where data is restored to its original form. In this case, compression won’t remove any redundant files. The file size will be smaller — but not by much.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the audio formats: MP3, WAV and FLAC.
MP3 is, by far, the most popular audio format and is the default formal for a number of music providers and platforms. MP3 owes its popularity to its capability to compress audio files to much smaller sizes (sometimes as small as 1/10th of the original) while preserving a relatively high quality of sound. However, MP3 is still a lossy file compression format.
To the average audio consumer, the difference in quality may not even be noticeable. But for audio engineers working with the file, the difference will be substantial. This is why, in fact, sound professionals generally avoid working with the MP3 format. Compressing an audio file to the MP3 format permanently deletes certain audio information that cannot be restored in the future.
WAV is an uncompressed and lossless audio format. WAV formatted files basically recreate the original audio at the highest available quality with zero loss. This makes WAV the preferred format for sound engineers. In addition to having great depth and dynamic range, the format preserves the embedded time code ensuring accurate synchronization that is essential for collaborative projects. The one major downside of WAV audio files is that they are really large. In fact, they are often so large that storing files in this format isn’t practical.
FLAC is a free open-source compressed and lossless audio format. Today, it’s the number one lossless audio format as you get to keep most of the original audio quality while substantially downsizing the file.
In short, FLAC will offer you a better quality of sound compared to MP3 but will take up significantly less space than WAV.
How to play FLAC files?
The best way to play a FLAC file is by using the VLC player. It not only supports FLAC but also lots of other less common audio and video formats that you might need to pay in the future.
However, you should also be able to play a FLAC with other popular media players — you just need to be prepared to install a plug-in or an extension. For instance, if you want to play a FLAC file in Windows Media Player, you will need the Xiph'sOpenCodec plugin.
If you want to listen to FLAC files on an iPhone or Android, you can install the VLC app from the App Store or via Google Play for Android.
How to convert FLAC to MP3f?
The easiest way to convert a FLAC file is by using one of the many free file converters available online such as Zamzar, Online Convert and others.
If you are working with large audio files and need to convert them frequently, you may want to download and install a free audio converter for your device so that you can convert to and from the format.
How to send a FLAC file
Now, while the FLAC format does help make audio files smaller, they can still be too big to send over the web using conventional methods — like email, for instance. Gmail sets its attachment limit to just 25MB and a FLAC audio file can definitely be larger than that.
So, how do you send a large FLAC file over the web?
We suggest you use FileWhopper. FileWhopper is a service for sending large files over the web. And we mean really large — even if you need to send a 10TB audio folder, you can do it with FileWhopper. Here are a few more things that make FileWhopper a good audio file sharing solution:
- Unlike many cloud storage services such as OneDrive or Google Drive, FileWhopper doesn’t require a monthly subscription. This means that you can transfer files and folders on a pay-as-you-go basis. This is a much more convenient option for when you just need to make a one-time large file transfer and don’t want to pay for an expensive cloud sharing subscription that you won’t be using often. Moreover, with FileWhopper, you can choose who pays for the transfer: you can do it yourself or ask the recipient of the file or folder to make the payment. This feature is especially useful if you are working with audio files and need to send them over to your clients.
- As you can send a file of any size with FileWhopper, you won’t have to split your folder transfers into smaller parts or compress your files. This alone can help you save lots of time and avoid compression related issues and errors.
- FileWhopper uses zero-knowledge encryption — which is the highest form of data security: no third party will have access to your data.
- FileWhopper is very simple to use. All you need to do is download a mini app and follow these steps:
- Browse for and select the audio file you want to send
- Upload it to the app so that FileWhopper checks the file’s size
- Get a price quote for your transfer based on the file’s size
- Use the FileWhopper app to quickly send the file or folder
- Get a link to your transfer and share it with the recipient
Once the transfer is done, the FileWhopper app will self-delete.
- FileWhopper makes sure your transfers aren’t interrupted and you are safe from issues like connection failures or blackouts. If anything like that should happen, your transfer will simply pause and then pick up right from where it left off when your connection is restored.
But the best way to see if FileWhopper is the best option for sending your FLAC and other audio files is to check out the app first hand. Your first 5GB transfer with FileWhopper is absolutely free.