A FLAC file, short for Free Lossless Audio Codec, is a compressed audio file that maintains the same quality as the original source despite often being less than 50 percent of the original file size. The files are free and distributed to users under an open-source license, hence the “Free” and “Lossless” terminology, but typically surpass common audio formats like AAC and MP3 when it comes to sheer audio fidelity. Simply put, they sound better and require less space.
However, while nearly all audio devices and multimedia players support MP3 playback, only a handful of them currently support FLAC files. Here’s our guide on how to convert a FLAC to MP3, so format incompatibility is a thing of the past. It may not sound as nice, but at least you can play it.
Freemake offers software with multiple options for managing music files and converting them to whatever you need. It’s fully compatible with Windows 10, simple to download (the “free download” buttons are a great starting point), and highly versatile.
Once you have downloaded the program, open it and import your audio files by clicking on the +Audio button and finding the files on your hard drive. Chose what format you want the files converted into, where you want them, and then convert away. You can reconvert them at any time after you’ve download the files, too. Like many modern converters, Freemake allows you to adjust channels, bitrate, and sample rate (among other things) for quality control. You can also upload music to Google Drive or Dropbox for cloud sharing, merging songs, and more.
Audicity is a different sort of choice for those who want more of a full audio suite to manage their songs and sound. It’s a free, open source program that’s great for managing a large, customized library with many different sound formats. With it, you can record live audio, record any playback, convert all your old formats (we mean old, like tapes and records), cut and splice audio files, add many different effects, and more. That’s all in addition to editing and converting formats including WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis. Basically, if you have a bunch of audio to convert to digital formats, this is the way to go.
All2MP3 remains a swift but simple converter for Mac computers. Download the program, open it, and start adding music files—it’s that simple. It can convert more than 50 different audio/video formats, including FLAC, WAV, WMA, AIFF, and others. Once you have your list ready, specify the quality that you’re interested in (a general or bitrate slider, depending on your preference), whether or not you want to trash the old files, and then convert away. It’s one of the easiest downloadable tools we’ve ever tried.
The one issue here is that while the program is really good at converting to MP3, it…doesn’t really do anything else. There’s not much extra audio management here, but if you only want to deal with one conversion project, it’s still a great choice.
MediaHuman’s free Audio Converter has a fuller interface that’s friendlier for navigating by song or album if you’re a music lover. There are very Mac-like menus to adjust notifications, change how the converter works, and create commands (as well as search for cover art and add songs to iTunes, which are less important but still handy). The program handles FLAC, MP3, ALAC, WMA, WavPack, M4A and more.
To get started, just add a FLAC file using the big + button (we also like the drag-and-drop option), deal with CUE files if necessary, select MP3 in the drop-down button, and you’re ready to convert. There are options for changing the bitrate here as well, and the multiple customization options really make this tool shine if you have a very specific idea about how you want to convert.