About FLAC Format
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a lossless audio format and the audio is compressed without any loss in quality. As it is lossless by nature it does not remove information from the audio stream, as in MP3, AAC, and Vorbis audio formats. If any audio file is encoded to FLAC then the size of the file is reduced to about 40 to 50 percent (46% according to their own comparison), thus reducing the storage requirements.
FLAC surpasses MP3 quality by preserving the original soundscape in exact detail. The FLAC format reduces the original file size by roughly 30-60% with no loss of quality, hence it is a lossless format. This differs from the MP3 format which is a lossy format, or a format that loses quality in the conversion process.
FLAC stands out as the fastest and most widely supported lossless audio codec, and the only one that at once is non-proprietary, is unencumbered by patents, has an open-source reference implementation, has a well documented format and API, and has several other independent implementations.
A prominent feature of FLAC is that it is streamable. That is, each FLAC frame contains enough data to decode that frame without relying on the previous or the following frame. Each frame also contains 16-bit CRC of data to detect transmission errors, which is what prevents loss of any information and ensures bit-perfect reproduction. FLAC can handle any PCM (audio data) bit resolution from 4 to 32 bits per sample and any sampling rate from 1 Hz to 1,048,570 Hz in 1 Hz increments. It can also handle up to 8 channels, which can be grouped in cases such as stereo and 5.1 channel surround which allows an increase in compression.
FLAC supports tagging, cover art and fast seeking, and is itself supported by most operating systems – like Unix and Unix-like (including Linux, BSD, Solaris, IRIX, and Mac OS X), Windows, Amiga, BeOS, and OS/2 operating systems. Most consumer electronic devices – including portable players, home stereo equipment, and car stereo – support FLAC. FLAC files can be played on these devices just like MP3 files.
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