FLAC: What it is. Why you want it. How to use it.

Posted by: admin on October 9, 2009 @ 10:10 am
Filed under: Listening, Music, Music Technology

We want you to know about FLAC files because it’s a relatively new way of downloading excellent sounding music. Sounds better than MP3, sounds as good as a CD, uses no packaging or shipping products, has all the artwork embedded. Greenleaf Music’s owner, Dave Douglas, went through this process reluctantly and came out the other side a convinced FLAC user. Now you can, too!

Downloading a Greenleaf FLAC is the same as downloading an MP3, they’re just larger files because they are uncompressed and therefore sound better. After downloading the FLAC track, here are a couple options of how to get going:

If you use iTunes, the only way to play FLACs is by using Fluke. It’s a free software available here. Right-clicking on the FLAC file and choosing Open With > Fluke will import the FLAC into your iTunes where you can then play it with no problem.

You can also convert the FLAC file using a program called Max. WAVs and AIFs are the formats used to press CDs and are supported in iTunes without any software add-on. Simply select what format you’d like to convert to in the Max > Preferences > Formats window. Then drag the file(s) into the Max window and click Convert. Those files can be added directly to your iTunes or burned to a CD that will match the sound quality of a CD you’d receive from us. (Update: Using a PC? Check out dBpoweramp for converting)

For folks not tied to iTunes, you can use a number of FLAC players out there. We recommend the recently discovered Songbird (thanks to Gary, one of our new subscribers). Songbird looks and feels like iTunes, so it’s easy to get set up.

Internet speeds are getting faster, and hard drive space is getting larger and cheaper with every second. Lossless files like FLACs are here to stay and great for folks like me who are not audiophiles but enjoy listening to quality music in the best way they can. These suggestions and directions are a good place to start. And I’ll be around to answer any questions you have as best I can.

Everyone has their own method for organizing their digital files — feel free to pass on yours in the Comments Section.


  1. Hi Jim, great article. I have to agree with you on the quality of Max. I use it to convert FLACs to AAC files at 256 and then add the files to ITunes as you have described, but I keep the FLACs in my Songbird folder. This allows me to listen to the files at the highest quality when at my computer, but take advantage of the smaller file size conversion provides for adding to an ipod.
    Since Fluke and Max are both Mac only programs, I thought I’d mention dBpoweramp for Windows users. I have been using this program for years (available in a stripped down free version or a more full featured paid version) to convert FLAC files (and many other audio file types) in Windows with great success.
    Also, although this is apparent to anyone clicking on the Songbird link, I would like to add that two of Songbird’s nicest features are that it works under Windows and Linux as well as Mac OS X, and that it is associated with Mozilla, and in fact includes a Firefox derived browser as part of the player. This allows you to access Greenleaf and download your FLAC purchases without launching a separate browser.

    Comment by Gary — October 9, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dave Douglas. Dave Douglas said: FLAC: What it is. Why you want it. How to use it. + Free FLAC download of A Single Sky at http://bit.ly/4j16xL […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention FLAC: What it is. Why you want it. How to use it. -- Topsy.com — October 9, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  3. Thanks for the PC update. With everyone I know having a Mac, I keep forgetting that those things exist! Just kidding… Apologies for the oversight.

    Love Songbird. Had an issue right at the beginning, but sussed it out quickly. Having that browser function as you described is awesome. Also, the store and the concert listings are pretty awesome, too. Still exploring the other add-ons. More this weekend I’m sure.

    Tomorrow I’m on my way to a friends to start ripping in some of my new vinyl purchases. Vinyl rips sound best as FLACs IMO.

    Comment by Jim Tuerk — October 9, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  4. […] 1 votes vote FLAC: What it is. Why you want it. How to use it. We want you to know about FLAC files because it’s a relatively new way of downloading […]

    Pingback by FLAC: What it is. Why you want it. How to use it. — October 10, 2009 @ 5:44 am

  5. hi jim

    could you help me out. im not sure how to “right click” with a mac. i should probably know how to do this.


    Comment by matt — October 16, 2009 @ 8:33 am

  6. Yo Matt. Hold down CONTROL and click the link. Cool?

    Comment by Jim Tuerk — October 16, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  7. thanks man!

    Comment by matt — October 17, 2009 @ 10:58 am

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