What is the FLAC Audio Format?

FLAC definition

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What is FLAC?

FLAC which is short for Free Lossless Audio Codec is an audio codec developed by the non-profit Xiph.Org Foundation. It is a lossless audio format which means that it produces digital audio files (with a .flac file extension) that are identical to the original source.

In fact, many users wishing to backup their original audio CDs (​CD ripping) opt to use FLAC to preserve the sound rather than using a ​lossy format.

Doing this ensures that if the original source is damaged or lost, then a perfect copy can be reproduced using the previously encoded FLAC files.

Out of all the lossless audio formats available, FLAC is perhaps the most popular one in use today. In fact, some HD music services now offer tracks in this format for download.

Ripping Music CDs

Ripping an audio CD to FLAC typically produces files with a compression ratio of between 30-50 percent. Due to its lossless nature, many users also prefer to store their digital music library as FLAC files on external storage media and convert to lossy formats (MP3, AAC, WMA, etc.) when needed -- for example: syncing to an MP3 player, PMP, or another type of portable device.

Alternate Spellings: .flac