Good news everyone! We now accept all high-resolution audio formats when you’re uploading your music for distribution with Record Union. From now on you don’t need to worry about the size of your audio files, and nothing can stop you from uploading your next bangers in WAV 48 kHz/24-bit and FLAC. But what’s the difference between WAV and FLAC? Keep reading to find out!
As you probably already know, there are massive differences between MP3 and WAV/FLAC when it comes to audio quality. And while there might not be such striking differences between WAV and FLAC when you’re on the listening end, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are saving, storing, and converting your music files.
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a compressed lossless digital audio coding format with an open format and royalty-free licensing. Lossless means that you can compress the audio format without compromising on the quality of the original sound. WAV (Waveform Audio File Format, pronounced “wave”) is a standard audio file format developed by IBM and Microsoft. Although WAV can contain compressed audio, most of the time it’s uncompressed audio in pulse code modulation (PCM) format. Since FLAC is losslessly compressed in a mathematical way, this means that FLAC files will be much smaller than the WAV files with PCM-encoded audio. Unlike FLAC, WAV is not compressed and it is the exact copy of the audio.
Choosing between WAV and FLAC means choosing between compressed and uncompressed formats. Converting an audio file into FLAC means that you’ll compress it to take up less space compared to WAV but you don’t need to compromise when it comes to the sound quality. Digital audio compressed by FLAC’s algorithm can be reduced by 50 percent or more of its original size. If you need to save some space, FLAC is definitely your friend.
One of the major differences between the two formats is that FLAC is available for free and it can be modified because it’s an open-source format, while WAV is patented by Microsoft. This means that you can access FLAC’s code used to achieve compression and play around with it. A downside of FLAC is that it’s not supported by Apple, hence, for example, it’s not compatible with iTunes.
Okay, so WAV or FLAC? As you can see, the two file formats are very similar, only that one is compressed and the other one isn’t. Which one to go with? No worries, it will probably come down to either personal preferences or the amount of storage you have.