Many people convert music files in FLAC to ALAC for playing in iTunes, but a few people go the other way. They want to convert Apple Lossless/ALAC to FLAC to play on more music players. So what's the difference between ALAC and FLAC? Is there any reason you should not pick ALAC but FLAC? And how to convert Apple Lossless to FLAC?
Part 1 ALAC vs. FLAC
What is the Apple Lossless (ALAC) Format?
Apple Lossless (also known as Apple Lossless Encoder, ALE, or Apple Lossless Audio Codec, ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple Inc. for lossless data compression of digital music.
Apple Lossless data is stored within an MP4 container with the filename extension .m4a. However, not all iTunes songs ended with .m4a are in ALAC format. ITunes default AAC format is also with the extension of .m4a. This can be confusing if you see a list of songs on your computer's hard drive, all with the same file extension. You won't therefore know visually which ones have been encoded with ALAC or AAC unless you enable the 'Kind' column option in iTunes. (View Options > Show Columns > Kind).
ALAC isn't as popular as FLAC but could be the ideal choice if your preferred software media player is iTunes and you use Apple hardware such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc.
What is FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)?
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It means that the music data is efficiently compressed which allows the customer to enjoy the highest quality of sound. FLAC's free and open source royalty-free nature makes it well-supported by many software applications. It is the most popular and wide-spread lossless format. FLAC tends to be more supported by third party devices and hardware where ALAC is not always supported. And this might be the reason why some people want to convert ALAC to FLAC.
Part 2 How to Convert ALAC to FLAC
It could be easy to convert ALAC to FLAC with an Apple Lossless Converter. And the tool I like is called Apple Music Converter which is an extremely useful tool for every Apple Music subscribers. It works well with iTunes library and allows you to convert Apple Lossless songs to FLAC with 16X faster speed. Another useful feature is that it can help you remove DRM from Apple Music and convert them to FLAC or common MP3. And the last but not least, it can retain all meta information of your songs and 100% keep the original quality.
It is available for both Windows and Mac. You can free download the trial version below.
After download the program, just install it on your Windows or Mac computer with instructions. iTunes will be launched automatically at the same time. All your iTunes playlist will be synced to the program too.
In the left side of the program, you can see all playlist on your iTunes library. In the right side, there are all media files in your iTunes library. Choose ALAC files you want to convert. You can also directly search the music you want to convert.
In "Output Settings" area, choose FLAC as output format. You can also customize the metadata information, such as title, author, album, track and more.
When all settings are completed, just press "Convert" button to finish the ALAC to FLAC conversion.
Should you Stick with ALAC or FLAC?
It all comes down to your personal preferences and the type of audio devices you own. If you are an Apple fan, then you should definitely choose ALAC to keep your eco-system consistent.
In case, you have a wide-range of non-Apple music devices, then I would definitely recommend giving FLAC a shot since it is the most spread lossless format out there. The choice is yours.