FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec File)

The FLAC Audio file format

FLAC was created by members of Xiph.org and it is used for audio compression. The compression is lossless, meaning no quality is sacrificed in the process and no data is discarded. FLAC allows users to maintain files at the original quality of the media, making it ideal for backing up audio data since hard copies of audio are susceptible to damage of the files. This file is often used when users wish to backup high quality audio like CD’s due to the much higher audio quality over file types like MP3’s. FLAC has an open, royalty free licensing and has support for adding data integrity checks, metadata, and images.

Technical details of FLAC files

Due to the streaming and rapid decoding capabilities, FLAC files are often at least 50% smaller than the original file while remaining identical to the original audio quality. FLAC files are often used for streaming and decoding in real time. The FLAC project consist of parts such as: stream format, container format, reference library of encoders and decoders, and input plugins. FLAC support fixed-point samples with PCM bit resolutions ranging from 4-32 bits per sample with a sampling rate up to 655,350 Hz, with channels between 1 and 8. Existing decoders are not affected when new fields are introduced due to the future proofed aspect of FLAC files.

More information about the FLAC file format

File extension .flac
File category Audio
Example file Download example.flac file (2.5 MiB)
Associated programs Real Player
VLC Media Player
Windows Media Player
Useful links More information on FLAC
File conversion Convert a file to FLAC
Developer Xiph.Org Foundation