FLAC, Apple Lossless and uncompressed WAV - New download formats

Frederik Magle

Staff member
List of free music downloads available in "lossless" formats. I will update the list regularly so check back often:

From now on most new music downloads from me will be available in the full CD quality "audiophile" audio formats; FLAC, Apple Lossless, and uncompressed WAV - aside from the standard MP3 format (which will remain the default format). I will also update many of my older music examples with the new formats.

About "Lossless" Audio

"Lossless" (FLAC, Apple Lossless, or uncompressed WAV) is true CD-quality, and sounds better than MP3 if played over high quality sound equipment. I recommend Lossless if you have a good Hi-Fi sound system, or high quality headphones, connected to your computer/music player - or if you intend to burn the music on a CD. For "casual" listening or if your sound system/headphones are not high quality you will probably not be able to tell the difference between MP3 and lossless, and thus I recommend sticking with MP3 for convenience (192-320 kbps, lower bitrates are not recommended).

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), Apple Lossless (ALAC), and uncompressed WAV are called "lossless" formats because, unlike the psychoacoustically compressed "lossy" MP3 format, they retain all the digital sound, unaltered. Therefore there is NO difference between the audio quality of the lossless file and that from a standard 44.1KHz, 16 bit audio CD.

The three lossless formats produce the exact same sound quality, so the choice is up to personal preferences which one to choose. I'll describe the main differences between formats here:

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a free "open source" audio format and is compatible with Windows Media Player (with a plugin) and Linux, but cannot be played on iPods unless converted into MP3 or AAC. If you mostly use Windows Media Player, and don't need to play the music on an iPod, I recommend FLAC.

Apple Lossless (also known as Apple Lossless Audio Codec or ALAC) is - as the name implies - developed by Apple and is compatible with iTunes, QuickTime, iPods, iPhones, and iPads. If you mostly use iTunes I recommend Apple Lossless.

Uncompressed WAV (or WAVE) is a "raw" format with no file-size compression. It has the widest compatibility of the three but the file size is approximately twice that of either FLAC or Apple Lossless, and there are no "ID Tags" (listing full title, artists, etc.) included with the files.

For detailed technical info see the Wikipedia articles about the formats; MP3, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WAV.

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Staff member
Very Nice :up:

Thanks for giving this forum community the best possible in audio listening experiences.