Jason Zabowski
This article presented by
Jason Zabowski
Coppertino Inc.

"Hey! My name is Jason and Good Sound Quality means a lot for me. I’m researhcing the best Music Playback Solution and sharing my knowledge with you."

FLAC vs. MP3
Is FLAC better than MP3?



Today we are going to discuss the differences between 2 popular music formats: FLAC vs. MP3. Our aim is to make sure that when you finish reading this article you have a clear idea about these music formats and their features. And your next step will be to choose the one which suits you best!

If we were to choose only one word to describe MP3 format, it would be “lossy”. Whereas FLAC, on the opposite, would get “lossless”.


So what do these words stand for?

In simple words, they mean that some of the data is lost in MP3 file because it is a lossy format, whereas there are no losses for FLAC.

We are talking about compression rates for MP3 files vs. FLAC files here. MP3 creators decided to take away some of the sounds, which cannot be heard by the majority of the people and make the file smaller. However, some of the quality was lost during that process. On the contrary, since there is no information being lost during compression, FLAC has the original quality, even after compression.



Better quality = better sound?

From the previous paragraph, we understand that FLAC has a better quality than MP3. In fact, these two formats cannot be really compared quality-wise, because FLAC’s quality is as in an original recording, whereas MP3 cannot say so.

FLAC vs. MP3, in terms of quality, always wins. Does it mean that better quality leads to a better sound? Yes and no. The thing is that, yes, there is a very clear difference in the sound when one listens to FLAC files. But this applies only when they are using good headphones and an appropriate sound system. If the person does not have any of these, and tries to listen to FLAC files while wearing cheap headphones – the magic is lost, and sadly, FLAC may sound to them just like MP3. That’s why many people claim to hear no difference between FLAC and MP3 and it is obvious that they choose MP3 over FLAC – in addition to same quality the size is smaller! But they are so deeply mistaken. As you can see, it can be very hard to distinguish between these two formats if you are not using good headphones and sound system.

Let's try to hear the difference with the best Music Player for Mac and iPhone – VOX! Download it here.


Size matters?

It depends on what kind of person you are and what are the devices that you are using. For example, if you just want to listen to your favourite music and do not have any super sound system at home – it does not make any sense for you to buy FLAC files. If for some reason, you are running out of your laptop’s and phone’s memory, you might also consider a lossy format. However, we do not always choose the smallest size possible because it is obvious that the quality might be not so high. We believe that all of us should choose lossless formats, because we deserve the best music experience. If you love music, you should make sure that you get the most of it with the help of good headphones and other gadgets. It is like falling in love with a woman and treating her with small and big surprises every time you are together. That’s why it does not make much sense not to invest in your pleasure. Forget about the afternoon latte, save money and go get yourself that amazing sound system!


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Future of FLAC vs. MP3

If you ever decide to convert your MP3 to any other format, more data will be lost. It happens because it is a lossy format, it is not “complete” from the very beginning. Consequently, more data will be lost with every following conversion. However, this is not the case with FLAC files. When converted to WMA lossless or even to lossy MP3, no quality is lost and it can be done numerous times if needed. After all those conversions and copying, the file will stay the same, the quality will be just like in the beginning.



Playability

Nowadays MP3 can be played literally on every single device on earth. This is a great thing about it, its popularity has led to us not even doubting whether we will be able to play it on our new phone. With FLAC the situation is slightly different. Even though it is becoming more and more popular day by day, it is still not so common to see on a default music player installed on a smartphone, which can play FLAC files. It is not a very big deal though – there is a number of excellent music and media players, such as VOX music player for Mac and iPhone, which can play other lossless formats as well. More and more music players add FLAC feature to their products to meet the demand, so if you decide to go for FLAC – you might even be lost between all the available players! :) But.. Can iTunes play FLAC? - NO.


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In the battle of FLAC vs. MP3 there are no winners or losers. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages, both of them have strong armies of followers too. We think that one has to listen to both first and make a decision for himself. But don’t forget, this is a free world, no one will blame you if you continue listening to files in both formats! :)