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Why FLAC?

Unlike lossy compression formats such as MP3, Opus, and Ogg Vorbis, lossless compression formats like FLAC retain all audio data from the original source. This means that if you properly set up a program like Exact Audio Copy to securely rip CDs, you can have assurance that your Flac files contain the exact same data that was written to the CD -- or if the CD is damaged severely enough that it can't be read perfectly, you can know for certain that your rip is faulty.

When MP3s first became popular in the late '90s, they were the only feasible way to listen to digital music from a hard drive, as capacities at the time were generally still under 10GB. Today, new hard drives are usually multiple Terabytes, enough to hold all but the largest music collections without needing a drop in quality. Even though most people can't hear the difference between the original source and a well-encoded, high-bitrate lossy file, there's no longer a need to use lossy formats for home listening.

Lossy formats still have their place for mobile devices. Cell phones and portable music players are still constrained in how much space they have, and especially on phones, people want free space available to take photos and video. One side effect of the way many people use these devices is that they're often commuting or at the gym, or in other noisy environments. Because of this, the acceptable quality is often lower, so more music can fit on a device, as opposed to ripping a CD collection to a high-bitrate MP3 suitable for home listening, and using those MP3s for mobile use as well.

FlacSquisher helps you manage these two collections of music -- you can use your Flac collection for home listening at full quality, and you can encode a collection of MP3, Opus, or Ogg Vorbis files for mobile use. If you later need more space, you can delete the lossy files and re-encode at a lower bitrate.

Where can I get FLAC files?

Besides using secure-ripping programs to create backups of your CDs, you can also find that many online music stores offer Flac files for download. The official Flac website has an extensive list, but I'd like to recognize specific musicians who I have purchased music from, or downloaded freely-available music from, in Flac format