How to: Make FLAC encoded music play in iTunes
I came into possession of a large collection of FLAC encoded music files and they wouldn’t play unaided in Apple’s jukebox software. That’s a problem because all of the other music, movie, etc. files my wife, children and I have are stored, managed and played in iTunes.
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a codec (compressor-decompressor) which allows digital audio to be losslessly compressed such that file size is reduced without any information being lost. Digital audio compressed by FLAC’s algorithm can typically be reduced to 50 to 60 percent of its original size, and decompressed into an identical copy of the original audio data — Wikipedia.
Now, if I wanted to mix those naughty FLAC files with my existing iTunes library and listen without converting them, there’s Fluke for Mac. However, using this free iTunes plugin presents two problems — 1.) FLAC files still can’t be played on an iPad, iPhone or iPod and 2.) Fluke is 32-bit only (See also: How to: Turn on iTunes visualizers in OS X Lion), which is a bummer for OS X Lion users like me.
The preferable alternative for me turned out to be converting those FLAC files into one of Apple’s ubiquitous formats (i.e. Lossless or AAC) and a free tool for doing that is Stephen Booth’s Max (image above). Though it’s a little long in the tooth, Max can and does convert between the MP3, FLAC, Ogg FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Monkey’s Audio, WavPack, AAC and Apple Lossless formats, includes Growl notification support and is free.
Know of a better way to make FLAC encoded files playback universally on Apple devices? Share your story and a link in the comments below…