Digital Video Articles, Tutorials, Guides & Q & A Since 2007

Audio, Video Basics

Is FLAC Better Than MP3? Should You Switch?

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:32 am

MP3 is everywhere. Today, it’s synonymous with digital music. Almost any digital device – HDTVs, Android TV boxes, computers, smartphones, and media players support the format.

Many are satisfied with MP3’s sound quality. However, if you’re one of them who’s not, you can check out FLAC.

What Does FLAC Stand For?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec.

It offers high-quality music with a relatively smaller file size.

You can rip an audio CD into the FLAC format without any quality loss and reduce the original file size by half.

Already curious about FLAC? Let’s check out a little history.

FLAC History

FLAC first made its presence felt in 2001. It was an open-source version of the lossless audio formats in the market available then.

There were three competitors – ALAC (Apple Lossless), WAV (Waveform Audio) developed by Microsoft and WMA (Windows Media Audio) Lossless.

Despite their lossless nature, these codecs have their shortcomings – either in file size or in their inability to support features that users look forward to.

The WAV format, for instance, has a large file size and doesn’t support tags – album, artist data in its file system.

FLAC addressed these drawbacks with a manageable file size and support for tags.

Difference Between MP3 and FLAC

MP3 is a lossy audio format. It’s a heavily compressed format in the name of file size reduction.

FLAC on the other hand promises CD-quality music without the burden of a large file size and it’s an ideal alternative to the CDA and WAV formats.

Here’s thing, If you’re fond of buying MP3 downloads, then you may want to consider the FLAC alternative with no significant price difference.

Can Your Device Play Back FLAC ?

You may wonder if you embrace FLAC whether your music playback device supports it.

Let’s assume you do most of your music listening through your smartphone. Your default music player may not support it but there are many apps that support FLAC playback.

For instance on Android devices, you may use VLC, PI Player, and Pulsar Music Player, among others.

FLAC vs MP3 – Which is Better?

FLAC’s audio quality is definitely better than that of MP3. Take note that its file size is up to six times higher than that of MP3.

It has another advantage, too. It offers 24-bit audio quality at 192kHz, compared to audio CD’s 16-bit, 44.1kHz.

FLAC will continue to rule high-quality digital music downloads for years to come for the reasons mentioned above. It’s a boon for audiophiles.

MP3, on the other hand, will remain the universal music format for the masses, who are looking for a convenient way to listen to music and aren’t concerned about sound quality.

Free Video Workshop