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Converting FLAC to ALAC

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm trying to convert FLAC files into ALAC via iTunes/Fluke, but after converting the FLAC files into ALAC, they get a horrendous sound, as if someone turned up subwoofers to max volume producing an annoying, distorting sound.  


So I'm wondering, is it a problem with iTunes coding? Is there any other programs out there? 


There are some FLACs that I can properly convert, usually those with low bit rate.

post #2 of 11



have you tried decompressing them into WAV as an intermediate stage (that you can listen to), then compressing them into ALAC (using iTunes)?


It's all lossless, after all. ;)




post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Interesting, no I have not. I'll try that, but I'm curious what's the reason behind it? If they are all lossless, why can't we just go FLAC -> ALAC?


Also, I just noticed a drastic reduction in size/bit rate when going from FLAC -> WAV

46.1MB/3273 kbps Bit Rate -> 10.8MB/768 kbps Bit Rate.


Then from WAV -> ALAC:

10.8MB/768 kbps Bit Rate -> 3.1MB/216 kbps.


Seems like that's not the ideal route, as I get a huge reduction in file size/quality.


Ok, turns out that going form FLAC -> WAV via iTunes still gives me this loud distortion sound. The song is hardly recognizable. Could it be iTunes/Fluke is just a bad program to use for converting?


Edit: Well it also seems like iTunes/Fluke aren't able to play some of my FLACs properly in the first place. They sound as if they are played out of one of those heavily modified cars with a trunk containing a giant subwoofer.


I normally use Songbird (Mac) for my FLACs and so far it's been wonderful in taming these FLACs. Does this mean Songbird is superior to iTunes/Fluke, or is there some other underlying problem? 


It sucks that iPhones aren't able to simply play Flacs - it would've saved me a lot of trouble.

Edited by KeVan - 4/5/12 at 9:33am
post #4 of 11

I used a program called switch to do my flac to alac.  Hope you kept a separate backup directory if it goes wrong!



Edited by davidcotton - 4/5/12 at 10:52am
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by davidcotton View Post

I used a program called switch to do my flac to alac.  Hope you kept a separate backup directory if it goes wrong!




ALAC is .m4a right? If so, how come I just got a drastic decrease in size/bit rate when using Switch. Or is this just the way it is (ALAC being a super compressed lossless)?


I tried to convert .wav to ALAC via iTunes, and it pumped out an ALAC with 35MB and 750 kbps from a 125MB, 2500 kbps .wav file.


I also tried to get a .m4a via Switch directly from the .flac but the file size/bit rate was just too pitiful. It was 5mb and 120 kbps. I'm guessing this .m4a isn't a lossless .m4a file.


Well at least converting .flac to .wav via Switch and then .wav to .m4a via iTunes sort of did the trick. But I'm still a bit skeptical about the low size/bit rate of the .m4a from iTunes.

Edited by KeVan - 4/5/12 at 12:46pm
post #6 of 11

I have used a utility called XLD, which converts from and to a variety of formats It converted flac to alac and it played nicely in iTunes.

post #7 of 11
Sounds like the programs you've been using fail to properly decode your FLACs, which I assume are either high res (24/96 or something) or multichannel (5.1). Converting FLAC to ALAC should result in slightly larger filesizes. DO NOT DELETE YOUR FLACS until you've sorted it out.

Try to find out the exact properties of your FLAC files, and find a program that can properly convert them. I know nothing about Macs so I'm afraid I can't help more than that.
post #8 of 11

I too use XLD for call my Flac to Apple Lossless conversions. 


I am not sure why your files are all weird, perhaps a re-install of the program or perhaps something is wrong with your flac files?

post #9 of 11
I've been using a program called Max for years to convert flac to alac with great results. It also handles anything else you can throw at it.

Check it out here: http://sbooth.org/Max/
post #10 of 11

I use XLD to convert FLAC to ALAC.  It works well.  For the record - The Onkyo HF Player iPhone app plays Flac files, and 24/96 files with no issue.  Costs $10.  There are a few apps out there for Macs that play flac.  Songbird as noted, VOX for pretty simple, others....  I'm using Amarra, which was around $70, but I also bought the Amarra for Tidal app at the same time, a show special as I recall.  Sounds great, a bit finicky to use.  Again, XLD to convert works well.

Edited by aamefford - 11/27/16 at 1:41pm
post #11 of 11

Another XLD user here for FLAC to iTunes compatible ALAC. No issues at all. I personally don't trust iTunes to do much but be the UI for my library. 

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