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macOS Mojave - FLAC Support

I don’t have a preview of the OS, and was just wondering if Mojave has better support for FLAC. Such as being able to support FLAC natively in iTunes.

No, forget it. They have their ALAC equivalent.
And it is becoming very clear lately what they think of open standards.


VLC is probably the quickest option for playing FLAC files, with the bonus of being lightweight and free.

I purchased a copy of Audirvana Plus 3.x, it is a superb iTunes replacement for MacOS with the ability to add plug-ins and direct stream the audio direct bit-perfect to your DAC. Definitely worth a look.

well in their last OS, High Sierra, they added support for playing FLAC files, but with QuickTime… so…

Here is the catch. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec.

That FREE part is what apple is actively trying to avoid.

Everyone likes to point the finger at apple, but the truth is that ANYONE who tries to work with the music industry (spotify, tidal, and so on) have to actively avoid things like flac or other open standards. For what ever reason the major media corporations seem to think open standards = easier pirating.

Actually anything with the word free or open makes business lawyer’s heads spin 360 degrees and then shout pirate bay in a dead language.

Tidal does actually stream FLAC files on the Hi-Fi subscription, think it is just 320kbps MP3 on the premium one (as per Spotify).

Spotify is running on ogg vorbis as far as I know.

Oops, correct I remember that now. Been a while since I used Spotify to be fair!

I looked into that a while back. They can stream lossless, but I think a small fraction of what they do is flac. Actually a lot of their stuff seems to be ALAC.

I remember sony and another company who isn’t coming to mind threw a huge fit over FLAC. But its been eons since I have paid attention to the recording scene, so maybe they aren’t as neurotic as they used to be.

FWIW I believe you can buy flac downloads from Deutsche Grammophon.

FLAC and ALAC are both lossless codecs so you can convert between them as many times as you like without losing any quality. Even my Ivy Bridge era i5 crunches through days of music in less than an hour.

ALAC uses slightly less disk space IIRC and both are open standards so just use whichever works better for you.

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Last time I looked, iTunes only supported Apple Lossless format and did not support any 24 bit playback at all. Has that changed?

I’m not sure why you’re directing the question at me. I recommended to convert to whichever format works for the OP, so if iTunes only supports ALAC then ALAC it is.

Sorry, should have been more clear. Wondering if 24 bit support was ever added to ALAC, as converting a 24 bit FLAC to ALAC would not be lossless.

ALAC does support 24-bit audio up to 24-bit 192KHz.


Considering that ALAC is under the Apache license, this obviously isn’t true, and isn’t helpful.

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Yeah well I also worked at a recording studio for a while and we had to fight with media encoding formats and I remember what our lawyers said. Soooooo meh.

I don’t think the lawyers knew or cared about the apache license. They just knew that apple made the ALAC format and they thought it would be better protected.

I also know of another recording studio (more of a project) who is also being told to release their stuff in ALAC and not in FLAC. Soooooooooo meh?

Now there might be other reasons involved and the lawyers might just be giving us a simplified BS reason. THAT I can very much believe.

Last time I did my conversions (4 years back or so?), FLAC had smaller filesizes (depends on the setting a bit). ALAC didn’t have any settings at all, but I had to do the conversion for the same reason (iTunes to use an iPod). Gave up halfway through though since I got an android phone. But anyway, FLAC was better compression, of course I don’t know if ALAC received any updates. Also the MP4 container is kinda meh, but what can you if they don’t support FLAC…

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I think it must have unless I am completely mistaken about it not supporting 24-bit in the past. Last I was messing with it was around the same time (4ish years ago).

They’re not moving away from free software, they’re moving away from GPL-licensed software. There’s a difference.