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Lossless audio FAQ & Links


What is lossless audio? Lossless audio files are .flac, .shn, .ape and other files that have been compressed just like .mp3 files. But unlike .mp3 files they are compressed without a loss in quality. They can be decompressed to the original wave files. To ensure that the lossless audio files are undamaged checksums like .md5 files (shn) or .ffp.txt files (flac) are used.
What do I do with lossless audio files?
  • Play them with winamp. But you need special plugins (shn, flac).
  • Burn audio cds that are of the exact quality as the original. Plugins for Nero let you burn audio cds directly from lossless audio files without decompressing them.
  • Decompress them to use your favourite program to burn audio cds.
What is the difference between the formats and which one should I use?
  • The main difference is the compression rate. But some formats (like flac) let you save other information similar to mp3 tags.
  • The most common format is probably shn (read this FAQ). Personally I prefer flac (FAQ, Info). In the end it is up to you...
What other programs do I need? When ripping an audio cd (copying it to your harddrive) read errors may occure because of scratches on the cd etc. To minimize the risk of errors I strongly recommend a programm called Exact Audio Copy for ripping CDs.


What else do I need to know?


  • Never ever use .mp3 files or other lossy formats to create lossless audio files.
  • Use the naming convention.
  • Only create a lossless audio set of a specific live recording if it is not available yet or if the one available is of an inferior quality.


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