FLAC is an audio format similar to MP3.
It stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec.
The difference between it and MP3 is that it’s “lossless”.
The audio file is still compressed in FLAC but supposedly without any loss in quality…
I’ve been meaning to test FLAC out for a while now, and finally got around to doing it last week in Ibiza (I was supposed to be on holiday but couldn’t leave “work” alone :- )
First of all, it was hard to even find a site that had anything even resembling a decent selection where I could download FLAC tunes!
PONO (Neil Youn’g site) just plain didn’t work to my surprise (despite much persistence!).
Most of the FLAC download sites seemed to be illegal free download sites…
In the end I got bored of looking and decided to just grab some old CDs at random (I haven’t bought a CD in 5 years!), choose a couple of sample tracks, convert to FLAC and MP3 formats, then do the comparison on my PUMPs.
I choose One Love by The Prodigy and Hold Your Colour by Pendulum, not for any reason in particular other than that I quite like these tracks.
Could I hear a difference?
Well… not really.
Audiophiles may be thinking that I am an idiot at this point, but there is no point in saying I could hear a significant difference because I couldn’t!
Several times during the 20 or so tests I thought to myself “oh yes, that sounds better!”.
I then immediately switched to the MP3 version and thought “oh no… that actually sounds the same!”.
Upshot? Maybe Sound Engineers and Audiophiles can hear a difference – or think they can! – but I really couldn’t.
Perhaps if you played FLAC vs MP3 on some rubbish headphones — or on concert speakers – you would hear a difference. But on my PUMPs, I couldn’t honestly say there was a difference.
Or if you were to listen to FLAC for a week and then “step back” to MP3, you might notice a difference – I’m not sure.
The point really is that there is no noticeable difference between MP3 and FLAC (when played on PUMPs)!
When you go from a ‘normal’ set of headphones to PUMP, you can immediately hear a significant difference.
With MP3 to FLAC, a difference like this simply doesn’t exist… If it’s there then it’s extremely subtle.
Will FLAC become the new standard?
I doubt it because: a) it doesn’t seem to have gained any real traction so far and; b) the reasons listed above…
Keep it PUMPed!
P.S. If you agree with me, or disagree with me, you can leave a comment below!
P.P.S. News on the new PUMP Zeus (over-ear) model VERY soon…