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ALAC vs. FLAC: Which is the Best Audio Format?

Melissa Lee updated on Mar 18, 2022 to Video Converter Tips

ALAC, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec, is a term veteran Apple owners must be familiar with. As you can guess from its name, ALAC files were files used explicitly for Apple devices back in those days. Thankfully, the format is open source and royalty-free, so it is playable on other devices that accept the usage of ALAC. Meanwhile, FLAC or Free Lossless Audio Codec was developed as an open-source format that is royalty-free from the beginning. Its long history makes this format one of the most widely-used ones for storing lossless audio.

Is there any difference between those two formats? How to select the format for your audio files? This post will introduce them one by one and help you make the choice.

What is An ALAC File?

ALAC is lossless audio, which means it keeps the original data instead of using discarded data like MP3. This makes ALAC superior in terms of quality, as no sound is lost when using ALAC.

Besides its audio format, ALAC is also superior in other aspects. Since ALAC can maintain the original quality of the file, you don't need to worry about losing anything when converting it to another file format. You can also recreate your damaged physical collection by burning the ALAC file on the medium (CD or DVD) you would like to have. 

alac format

What is A FLAC File?

FLAC has similar, if not the same, perks as ALAC. FLAC is also lossless audio, meaning that it also retains the original quality of the audio. FLAC users also get other bonuses such as the information of the audio (the cover, tags, tables, cue sheets, and so on). 

The accuracy and high quality it maintains make FLAC the perfect file for editing software. It is also perfect to be used on your video. You also don't need to worry about the streaming delay, as FLAC is equipped with enough data to decode frames using sync codes and CRCs.

flac format

The Comparison of ALAC vs. FLAC

ALAC and FLAC might be similar, but they have plenty of differences users can take note of. Here are the differences between ALAC vs. FLAC:

1. First, both files have different abbreviations and file formats. ALAC is Apple Lossless Audio, while FLAC is Free Lossless Audio Codec.

2. Both of the two have different extensions. FLAC content comes with the .flac extension, while ALAC can be in the form of .alac or .m4a.

3. Apple prioritizes the usage of ALAC on all its devices. This can be seen from their announcement, stating that they would offer lossless audio in the form of ALAC starting in June 2021. So, if you are an Apple device owner, ALAC is the suggested lossless audio format for you.

4. Unlike ALAC, FLAC is lossless audio that has its "free" status from its beginning. The format developed by Xiph.Org Foundation is known for its device-friendly feature, making it more open to other devices beyond Apple. So, you don't need to be in hassle when it comes to handling FLAC in other devices.

5. The next topic we'll talk about is file size. ALAC files are approximately 5% to 12% smaller than FLAC files. FLAC stereo audio files at "CD quality" have a bitrate of around 5 megabytes per minute. FLAC has been set in such a way to prioritize file size and speed compared to other aspects of the file.

6. ALAC files can be obtained by ripping an iTunes-purchased CD. ALAC is available for purchase separately, and HDTracks and Society of Sound are the two options. You can rip the CD into FLAC files with Bluesound Vault, and FLAC files are also available via Merge Records and Beggars Group.

alac on mac

There is no winner in this ALAC vs. FLAC battle when it comes to quality. Being lossless audio, both formats maintain the high quality standard other audio files (especially mp3) are unable to have. The only difference between them is the device you use.

If you use Apple, it is best to use ALAC since ALAC is integrated into the iTunes system. Using ALAC will save you time, as iTunes' interface and other features allow you to handle ALAC files more efficiently and smoothly. 

If you use other devices besides Apple devices, it is best to go with FLAC. FLAC is more universal, and you don't need to bother converting from one file to another using FLAC.

Special Recommendation: Best Converter to Get FLAC File

EaseUS Video Converter is a wonderful converter for those who would like to get their FLAC files. Despite being built as a video converter, EaseUS Video Converter may also convert one audio file to another format and vice versa. Thanks to its audio conversion feature, you can turn your audio to FLAC format without losing quality.

An additional feature of EaseUS Video Converter is its audio extractor. Using an audio extractor, users can easily get the audio from the video they need, and the audio can be converted to FLAC. This software supports adjusting the parameter of the audio file freely, and you can customize the bitrate, frame rate, channel, etc., per your needs.

EaseUS Video Converter

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  Free Download
Windows 11/10/8/7
  Free Download
macOS 10.13 or later

Conclusion

When it comes to the ALAC vs. FLAC fight, there is no winner between the two. Both are excellent lossless audio that allows its users to enjoy high-quality music no matter when and where. Unfortunately, FLAC is not maximized for Apple devices, making it hard to manage FLAC files on iTunes.

If you need to convert your audio file to FLAC, you ought to try EaseUS Video Converter. The video converter has audio-related features that allow you to convert audio from one to another. Are you ready to get FLAC file using EaseUS Video Converter?

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