dBpoweramp FLAC Audio Codec

FLAC is a lossless codec, meaning no audio quality is lost whilst compressing (unlike lossy codecs such as mp3 which throw audio data away), audio compressed to a lossless codec will be decoded identical to the source, think of it as zip for audio. All lossless codecs compress around 2:1 or 4:1 at best, a 3 minute audio track will be around 18 MB.

Supported by this Codec       

  • Encoding: Yes   [.flac]
  • Multi-processor Encoding: Yes   (with dBpoweramp reference)
  • Decoding: Yes   [.flac  .fla (optional)]
  • ID Tag Reading: Yes   [Vorbis Comments, id3v2, id3v1]
  • ID Tag Writing: Yes   [Vorbis Comments (default), id3v2, id3v1]
  • Unicode Tagging: Yes
  • Supports Album Art: Yes
  • Gapless Encoding & Decoding: Yes
  • Explorer Audio Popup Information: Yes
  • Explorer Columns: Yes
  • Unicode Filenames: Yes


Windows 98 or newer, dBpoweramp R12 or newer required.

 Compression Options 

Being a lossless codec there are not many options to set when compressing to FLAC:

Compression affects how much effort goes into compressing the audio, all compression modes give the same decoded audio (it is lossless after all), the higher compression levels will give a small % file size saving, but will require more time to compress and decompress. Compression Level 0 requires the least compression time, whilst Compression Level 8 the most.

After Encoding Verify Written Audio once compression is complete the compressed audio will be read and compared to the source, verifying the compression is without error (hard disk, or very unlikely codec induced).

 Codec Background  

FLAC is a acronym for Free Lossless Audio Codec, and is a popular open source cross-platform codec. FLAC falls under the Ogg banner (Vorbis, Speex and FlAC). Primarily developed by Josh Coalson.

More Details:   http://flac.sourceforge.net/                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flac 

 ID Tag Details  

FLAC mainly supports Vorbis Comments, id3v2 and id3v1 are supported for backwards compatibility:

Vorbis Comments these are present at the beginning of the file and allow Unicode tagging. Vorbis Comments are not limited to fixed fields, but a lack of standardized extended tag values (such as album art, ratings, etc) limit Vorbis Comments,

ID3v2  able to store fields of any name and any length, Unicode compatible (but not all decoders can read Unicode tags), ID3v2 can store album art & ratings.

ID3v1 limited to fixed fields of around 30 characters each: Artist, Album, Title, Comment and special numerical fields: Track Number, Genre, Year. ID3v1 tags are not Unicode compatible.

 Advanced Options  

dBpoweramp Configuration offers advanced options for this codec (dBpoweramp Configuration >> Codecs >> Advanced Options):

FLAC ID Tagging

Tag Creation sets the default tag creation type, Vorbis Comments are best for FLAC.

Vorbis Comment Mapping, sadly there are many programs which do not follow the official guidelines for Vorbis Comment tagging (in Vorbis comments 'Label' tag should be stored as 'Organization'), to cater for these programs, mappings can be switched off (so Label would be saved as Label).

FLAC Decoder

Corrupt FLAC File gives the option to ignore any errors and continue to decode the file (errors will be shown as information at the end).

Associate with .fla Files the extension .fla is also used for Flash animation, so can be a conflict of file types. If switching this option on re-run dBpoweramp Configuration.

FLAC Encoder

FLAC IDTag Padding as Vorbis Comments are at the beginning of the file it is advantageous to insert padding so if the ID Tags change then the whole file does not need rewriting. When encoding a file dBpoweramps Flac encoder will automatically set the padding to the expected ID Tag size, saving rewriting the whole file.

 Command Line  

dBpoweramp Reference allows compressions from the command-line, commands specific to this codec:

-compression-level-0       set compression levels (0 worst, 8 best, 5 default)
-compression-level-5       (default)

-verify                             verifies compressed audio (by reading back from hard disk)

Example:   "c:\program files\illustrate\dBpoweramp\coreconverter.exe" -infile="c:\afile.wav" -outfile="c:\outfile.flac" -convert_to="FLAC" -compression-level-2 -verify


Encoding:  compress and write an audio file,
Decoding:  uncompress, or read an audio file,
ID Tags:  meta data such as artist & album are embedded inside the audio file,
Lossless:  compression without audio quality loss,
Lossy:  audio quality is sacrificed (how much depends on bitrate and codec used) to achieve smaller files,
Gapless:  allows the decoder to decode audio stream without gaps (silence),
Explorer Audio Popup:  a dBpoweramp function, hold the mouse over a supported audio file and details contained are displayed,
Explorer Columns:  columns can be added to Explorer Windows such as bitrate & ID Tag elements,
Multi-processor Encoding:
 for dual processor, or multi core processors multiple files can be compressed at once fully using both (or more) CPUs.
Command Line: 
text interface, where commands are typed (start >> run >> cmd  to get to the command line)

 Version Changes  

Complete Version Changes