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FLAC vs ALAC: What's the Difference and How to Choose Between Them

Author by Michelle

May 19th, 2020

When mentioning FLAC vs ALAC, what most people might think of is two separate music formats, but a more fitting image may be that of two similar audio formats that are used in different devices. The biggest distinction lies in their supporting devices, though subtle differences still exist. Read on to know more details! In case you need to convert between them, here's a tool provided for you:

Part 1. What are FLAC and ALAC?

FLAC: Short for Free Lossless Audio Codec, FLAC is an audio coding format for lossless compression of digital audio. Despite being compressed, it remains lossless, which means that FLAC can retain the original sound quality while taking up less space. As an open format with royalty-free licensing, it is supported by different operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

ALAC: Also known as Apple Lossless Audio Codec, ALAC is another audio coding format developed by Apple Inc. for lossless compression of digital audio. Very similar to FLAC, but only supported on Apple products.

Also read: FLAC vs WAV | OGG vs FLAC | DSD vs FLAC | 320kbps vs FLAC | AIFF vs FLAC

Part 2. What's the Difference Between FLAC and ALAC?

In Apple Lossless vs FLAC, there are several aspects needed to look into as to see the differences between FLAC and ALAC.

Apple Lossless vs FLAC

1.File Extension

FLAC: .flac

ALAC: .m4a, .caf

2.Sound Quality

Since both are lossless compressed audios, their sound quality is related to the original recording, which means that when both FLAC and ALAC are made from the same original source, they have the same sound quality - that of the original file.

3.Compression Ratio and File Size

FLAC has a better compression ratio than ALAC (FLAC: 57%, ALAC: 57.8%), hence has a relatively smaller size than ALAC.

Note: The compression ratio is compressed size/uncompressed size * 100. So, lower is better.

4.Supported Programs

FLAC can be played on most music apps except on iTunes while ALAC can be played only on the limited apps on iOS, such as iTunes.

Part 3. FLAC vs ALAC: How to Make the Choice?

From Part 2, we come to know that FLAC and ALAC have the same audio quality and about-the-same file size. The only difference that matters lies in the devices, which could be the criteria to divide audiophiles into two groups: one is the Apple user who would likely prefer ALAC to FLAC, and the other is non-Apple users who may find FLAC a more versatile format. In all, neither FLAC nor ALAC wins in the ALAC vs FLAC battle for it is up to the individual’s own taste.

Part 4. Extra: How to Convert FLAC to ALAC and Vice Versa?

If you are now in a need to convert FLAC to ALAC, or ALAC to FLAC, this recommended FLAC/ALAC Converter - WonderFox Free HD Video Converter might be a help(It's 100% clean and free). Follow the how-tos to get more related information:

Import FLAC/ALAC File

Step 1. Import FLAC/ALAC File into Video Converter

Before start, please free downloadfree download the software.

Run the program and click “Converter” on the home screen. In Video Converter, hit “Add Files” to select your file, then click “Open” to import. Or you can straightly drag and drop your file into this program.

Choose the Output Format

Step 2. Choose the Desired Output Format

Hit the format icon on the upper right. Under the Audio tab, choose FLAC or ALAC. You are free to choose any other common formats and devices under corresponding sections if you want.

Start Conversion

Step 3. Begin the Conversion

Before conversion, you can click on the inverted triangle in the bottom area to choose an output path for your file. Or you can skip it to directly hit the “Run” button to begin the conversion process.

At last...

Both ALAC and FLAC are supreme audio formats to enjoy music. The choice between them is only a matter of personal preference. I hope this article could dispel some of your doubts, and if you find this article helpful, please feel free to share it!

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