MP3 vs FLAC: The Subtle Differences [2021 Edition]

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Are you guys curious to know which one is the best audio format among MP3 vs FLAC? If yes, you have the good news.

Music is an inseparable part of our life. Without it, everything around us would be so incredibly dull and barren! It is a stepping stone into the vastness of the audio universe. But what truly defines a wholesome auditory experience?

Quality counts a lot. As debatable as it may sound, with the passage of time, the standard of music has remarkably exceeded our expectations.

There was a time when people had no choice but to stick to one single medium of listening to music. However, in the contemporary world that we live in today, we have the liberty to select from a vast range of choices!

Today we’ll look into two such forms of audio formats – MP3 and FLAC – that have transformed our audio experience altogether!

Without further ado, let’s step on it and find out what do these two audio formats have in store for us and how we can make an informative decision

FeaturesMP3FLAC
Type Lossy Lossless
ResolutionDoesn’t support higher
resolution audio
Supports high-resolution audio
File sizeThe file size is small The file size is approximately six times
larger than MP3
Audio qualityAudio quality is compromisedBetter audio quality than MP3
CompatibilityMac, Windows, Android, and Apple devicesOnly Windows and Android
StorageRequires smaller storage spaceRequires larger storage

What best suits your needs – MP3 or FLAC?

What is FLAC?

FLAC

FLAC is an acronym for Free Lossless Audio Codec, which is an audio compression format.

It is completely lossless in terms of retaining the original audio information. Hence, there is no change in the quality whatsoever in spite of being compression.

To make this stuff sound less complicated, you can also say that FLAC is a higher definition version of MP3 and it shares similar characteristics like WAV files.

What distinguishes it from MP3 or WAV is that FLAC has far better quality than MP3 and it occupies less space than WAV files. Quite a win-win situation, isn’t it?

Furthermore, FLAC files have a higher sample rate resolution than CDs and that makes it efficient.

Also, if you want to make a copy of an original audio CD, FLAC audio formats would be the perfect choice as it prints an exact copy of the audio information into your system. Plus, it occupies less space as well. Pretty cool, huh?

What is MP3?

MP3 audio

By the end of the 20th century, the digital audio world was blessed with the advent of MP3 that revolutionized the life of music lovers.

MP3 is a universal audio format that is recognized by computers, tablets, and smartphones. This is the sole reason behind its wild popularity among people who like to share and save their music.

In a slightly technical context, MP3 is termed as a digital audio code that operates on the principle of compressing and decompressing of digitized sounds.

Although unlike FLAC files, MP3 files are lossier in their attributes due to all the compression to ensure a minimal file size. It is a two-way sword as it comprises its quality as well.

Also, MP3 is inferior to its compressed audio format counterpart OGG, which occupies less space and offers better quality than the former.

Being the most popular compressed audio format, MP3 often gets compared with a popular uncompressed audio format – WAV. Two primary differences between them are – MP3 is lossy, WAV is lossless, and MP3 is smaller in size while WAV occupies a considerable amount of space!

Imagine it this way, if you want to edit and process audio files, WAV is the go-to choice whereas if you are into music distribution, MP3 is the answer for you.

How do MP3 and FLAC differ from each other?

The major differentiating factor between MP3 and FLAC is that they belong to two different categories of audio formats. MP3 is lossy and FLAC is lossless.

Even though there is a compressing involved in both of them, there is a fundamental difference. The compression in MP3 may reduce its file size but it hampers the quality exponentially. On the other hand, the compression algorithm of FLAC strictly adheres to minimizing the file size without comprising the audio information.

So, FLAC has a much better and refined sound quality than MP3. Another reason for this trait of FLAC goes to its higher sample rate and bit depth.

MP3 listening experience

In matters of conversion, if you want to convert MP3 to any other format, there will be further loss of data that directly affects your listening experience.

But if you want to convert the FLAC files into other formats such as WMA, which is lossless, or even to MP3, there is no loss in quality and it can be done multiple times as well!

With that being said, supportability is one such scenario where MP3 dominates FLAC. You don’t need a sophisticated system for MP3 files. That is why people tend to choose MP3 over FLAC by prioritizing flexibility over quality.

But if you do not want to make any exceptions when it comes to how an audio file sounds, FLAC is the adjustment worth making!

Is FLAC better than MP3?

Flac better than MP3

Speaking from a professional point of view, FLAC turns out to be better than MP3 in almost every aspect of comparison.

In order to ensure an unmatched audio experience, one has to be absolutely strict when it comes to meddling with original audio data.

FLAC guarantees that there will be no loss of audio information even after being compressed and processed which becomes extremely crucial in the music industry.

Even though it’s pretty easy to get your hand on MP3, in the long run, it is bound to suffer as quality will overtake quantity at some point in time.

At the end of the day it all comes down to one vital question – would you want more audio in less space or better audio in less space?

Conclusion

As a final verdict, it would be fair to establish that FLAC is a better option than MP3 if you are looking for an unmatched audio experience.

FLAC is something that is meant for both the common mass and audio professionals.

MP3 may be easier to share and distribute but what good would it be if it fails to justify the cause if it doesn’t sound like it is supposed to?

That’s where FLAC takes charge of the game and makes it comparatively less complicated for a decision to be made.

So it doesn’t matter if you are looking for audio files for the sole purpose of entertainment or something to work with at a production level, FLAC files won’t disappoint you!

Jennifer Max

Jws

Hi, I’m Jennifer I’m a passionate singer and an audiophile from Detroit, MI. 

I’m on a mission to help music creators to create fine music that help them position uniquely in the saturated music space.

Follow my blog for regular content :-)

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