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How to convert FLAC files to MP3

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Last modified: 23.08.2016

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FLAC and MP3

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a very popular codec for lossless audio compression used in audio files with the .flac extension. After decompressing such files is obtained the original audio stream, so quality of audio is exactly the same as in the source material. Therefore FLAC files are great for archiving audio CDs.

Unfortunately, this solution also has its weaknesses - FLAC files are relatively large. FLAC compression reduces the file size by about 40-60% compared to the starting material, while lossy audio compressors (such as MP3, WMA, AAC) usually achieve much higher compression ratio (up to 90%), and with appropriately selected compression parameters the loss of sound quality will be very small.

FLAC files are very common on the Internet: many music services provides the songs stored in FLAC files, also in programs to exchange files over P2P (peer-to-peer) you can find a large number of such files. You can also easily create your own FLAC files, eg by ripping Audio CD using Exact Audio Copy or another ripper that supports FLAC compression, or by converting audio files to FLAC using Pazera Free Audio Extractor or other audio converter.

FLAC files can be played using almost any modern software player (eg VLC, MPlayer), also more and more fixed and portable players supports FLAC compression. However, if your player does not support FLAC, or you have a limited amount of free space in the memory (hard disk, SD card, etc.), then the best solution is to convert FLAC files to MP3 format. MP3 is currently the most popular audio compression format, supported by almost every software and portable players and most new fixed players.

More information on FLAC compression can be found at flac.sourceforge.net and Wikipedia.

Conversion FLAC to MP3 using Pazera FLAC to MP3 Converter

This tutorial shows step-by-step how to convert FLAC files to MP3 format using Pazera FLAC to MP3 Converter.

This program is completely free (for personal and commercial use) and you can download it here.

1. Starting the program and adding FLAC files to the processing list

When you install and run the program, the main window will appear.

The main window of the Pazera FLAC to MP3 Converter
The main window of the Pazera FLAC to MP3 Converter

To convert FLAC files, you must first add them to the processing list. To do this, click the Add files button and specify the desired FLAC files. They appear on the list. Files can also be added using drag and drop.

2. Setting parameters of the FLAC to MP3 conversion

When you add FLAC files to the list, the next step is to set the output format to MP3 in the Audio section.

The next step is to select the desired bitrate of MP3 files. This parameter determines the quality of the sound that will be saved in MP3 files. The higher bitrate, the better quality. You can select desired bitrate value from the Bitrate list or you can choose one of the predefined LAME settings (presets). By default the program will use the Standard LAME preset, which is a good compromise between sound quality and file size.

If you use one of the LAME presets, VBR (variable bitrate) compression is applied. Unfortunately, some older MP3 players support only MP3 files encoded at a constant bitrate - CBR. If you have such player, you must select CBR at the Bitrate mode list, then select desired audio bitrate from the Bitrate list. Preferred bitrate values are 192-320 kbit/s. If you set audio bitrate in the Auto position, the default bitrate will be used (192 kbit/s).
The highest value for the bitrate parameter is 320 kbit/s. With this setting, the sound quality loss will be very small, and the size of the generated MP3 file should be significantly smaller than the source FLAC file.

Parameters Sampling frequency and Channels (the number of audio channels in the output file) is best left in the positions Auto, then the program automatically selects the appropriate values.

Using the Volume slider you can adjust the sound level in the resulting MP3 file. When set to 100%, the volume will not change.

3. Starting conversion

When you add FLAC files to the list and set all the necessary parameters, you can already start the conversion by clicking the Convert button. The Conversion window will appear, where you can track the progress of the operation.

Conversion progress
Conversion progress

With default settings, the converted files will appear in the same directory that contains the source files. You can change output folder in the Output section. Generated MP3 files will have the same name as FLAC files, only the extension is changed to .mp3.