Moving forward from the earliest days of Edison cylinders in the late 1880s, there is a long list of consumer audio formats that garnered popular support, while many others disappeared without a trace. The 78 RPM record, 45 single, and LP all enjoyed mass acceptance. Reel-to reel tape never took off, but 4- and 8-track cartridges had a good run, then the cassette hit the big time. A higher-quality analog cassette format, the Elcasette, arrived with much fanfare yet never caught on. Later, the two consumer digital tape formats, DAT and DCC, fizzled. The CD almost killed the LP in … Read more
The Gigaom Web site reported on December 20 that Pono announced it won't be showing at the CES show in Las Vegas in January.
I first heard about Neil Young's Pono music system more than a couple of years ago, and it was supposed to roll out a few months later. Rumors continued to circulate about an imminent debut, then fade away. Young showed a Pono music player prototype on the David Letterman show in September 2012, and it seemed like the launch was within reach.
Like everybody else I'm still unsure about how the Pono music … Read more
FLAC audio files sound great, but not every app or device supports FLAC and they take up a lot of storage space. Sometimes, you just want the convenience of MP3s, which are supported by many more apps and devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Mobile devices are often short on space, so even if they support FLAC, using MP3 files make a lot of sense.
Free FLAC to MP3 quickly and effectively converts your files, but it comes with some additional junk. While completely basic, the program operates as intended and supports batch conversions.
When you're downloading this program, it will hit you with quite a few junkware programs. If you're not careful it will take over your browser with toolbars and other nasty add-on programs. You can opt out of each one, but the program doesn't make it easy for you to avoid walking away clean. If you make it through that minefield, Free FLAC to MP3 works well enough. It … Read more
Switch Audio Converter for Mac lets you change any format of audio into MP3 format and vice versa in a matter of seconds. The application supports batch converting and has many other more advanced features.
Switch Audio Converter for Mac comes with a 14-day free trial, after which some extra features will expire. At around 1.4MB the application downloaded very quickly and was easy to install. The interface might seem slightly overwhelming at first as there are a lot of options, but ultimately it proved easy to use. It's very quick to select single files or a whole … Read more
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It's a free, open source standard for compressing audio files. It's popular because it's lossless: Storing your tunes as FLAC files preserves their quality better than more "lossy" standards, including MP3s. While many media players handle FLAC files, plenty of portable devices don't. If you store digital music as FLAC files but your portable player doesn't play them, you'll need to convert them to MP3s first. For that job, you'll need a tool like PolySoft's Free FLAC to MP3 Converter. It's totally … Read more
A great-sounding recording will sound its best only when it's properly mastered to LP, SACD, DVD-Audio, or a high-resolution file. Those formats will reveal the full glory of the music in ways that lower-resolution formats like MP3 or analog cassette always miss. But if you didn't have access to the high-resolution file to compare it with, a great recording will still sound pretty terrific as an AAC, M4A, or 320kbps MP3 file, because the recording's innate quality would shine through. On the other hand, a heavily compressed, processed and crude recording will always sound heavily compressed, processed … Read more
There are a lot of great programs available to rip CDs to MP3, AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, etc., but most require you to re-rip your CD if you want to save the rip to a different file format. If you have a large CD collection, ripping your CDs twice could take an excruciatingly long time.
dBpoweramp for Windows (XP/Vista/7/8), is a very fast and accurate audio CD ripper that supports ripping to multiple encoders. If you want to rip your CDs to FLAC for archiving and to MP3 for use on an iPod or smartphone, dbPoweramp can … Read more
Just like canned beer, MP3s are cheap, convenient, and sold just about everywhere, but the quality doesn't hold up well under scrutiny. If you want to hear every detail in your music -- every breath, every strum, every rattle -- then a lossless format such as FLAC is the way to go.
The Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) is capable of reducing the size of uncompressed audio sources by 40 percent to 50 percent without any degradation in sound quality. You can find free programs for Mac, Windows, and Linux that will play and rip FLAC files, but finding a FLAC-compatible MP3 player isn't quite so easy.
It's possible that you already own a FLAC-compatible audio player and don't realize it -- check your manufacturer's support page for firmware updates that could enable FLAC and provide other improvements. If you own an older iPod, the open-source Rockbox firmware offers FLAC audio playback, custom EQ, games, and tons of little surprises. Meanwhile if you own an iPod Touch or an iPhone, there are several apps available from the App Store that will let you play and upload FLAC files. Read our FLAC FAQ here.… Read more
In the late 1990s, one of the original portable music file formats -- the MP3 -- was causing quite a bit of bother. It had earned itself a reputation as a pirate format, and this was mainly due to the sharing site Napster, which was at the height of its notoriety. While MP3 inevitably prevailed, there is a much better choice for high-quality music, and it's gaining in popularity.
FLAC is a musical file format that offers bit-perfect copies of CDs at half the size, and is compatible with many phones (including the iPhone -- with an app), MP3 … Read more