The most common digital audio format is MP3 and it is widely used in the digital audio industry today. Basically the MP3 format is a patented digital audio encoding that has been standardized to be compatible in most audio and media players for sale today, whether portable or not. MP3 files are compressed audio files, also referred to as lossy comprehension. One of its defining characteristics is that it doesn’t take up too much space (the average size for an MP3 file is 3 mb) but the quality of the sound is still a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio. So if the MP3 files seem to be a standard music format for listening to music, then what’s the deal with FLAC files that are now considered to be the fastest-growing audio codec today?
One of the greatest weapons that FLAC files can showcase to all music enthusiasts and audiophiles is that when it comes to audio quality, this audio format ranks the top one. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec – with an emphasis on the word “lossless” (as opposed to the “lossy” quality of MP3), meaning, “without loss in quality.” If the MP3 format is a patented digital audio, FLAC is considered to be non-proprietary and in most cases, independent and clear from patents. With those qualities associated with FLAC files, you cannot blame most audiophiles and music enthusiasts to switch from MP3 to FLAC.
But FLAC remains to be in the background compared to MP3, albeit the fact that it can offer high quality audio sound. Why? There are also downsides when it comes to FLAC. For one thing, FLAC files cannot be played in iTunes so if you are a die-hard Apple fan, then you will find this extremely discouraging. FLAC files play in Windows Media Player and Winamp though.
Another reason why many people shrugged off FLAC files is that they take up too much space, with a FLAC audio file taking up to 43 MB compared to MP3’s average 3 MB size. Some people prefer to skimp on storage space and sacrifice music quality. One must consider, however, that compared to downloading movies from sites like Netflix, the amount of bandwidth and storage space required for music is trivial. Even the highest quality audio contains less data than a decent video stream. This makes opting for MP3’s a false economy in todays bandwidth rich world.
Still, if you find quality audio important to you then you’ll discover that you’re not really interested in compressed music files. After all, you can always buy extra hard drives – they are cheap these days. So make the switch to FLAC file formats, grab a cold beer from the fridge, and settle in for some quality music appreciation today!
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