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How to Play FLAC Files on Mac - Guide

FLAC is an open music format with royalty-free licensing. With FLAC, audio is compressed without any loss in quality, but at half the size, making it perfect for preserving audio collections. Unfortunately, FLAC is not part of the Apple ecosystem. So you, as a Mac user, won’t be able to play this file format in iTunes. However, there are solutions such as the Elmedia music player for Mac which help you play FLAC files on Mac and countless other formats for that matter.

Top choice
Elmedia Player Free
4.8 Rank based on 131+ users, Reviews(131)
Listen FLAC on Mac with Elmedia Player

Find the Best FLAC Player for Mac

Elmedia

Elmedia Player is one of the most popular ways to play FLAC on Mac. Of course, there’s a lot more choice nowadays, but Elmedia still stands out with its smooth performance. It’s an easy-to-use Mac FLAC player with a great interface. Of course, it serves as an excellent MP3 Player for Mac as well. It’s easy to see why people consider it the best music app for Mac.

Elmedia provides a great deal of control, but the features don’t stop at that. Importantly, it provides an extensive playlist functionality, allowing a high degree of customization. You can’t deny one of the biggest advantages of this FLAC player - macOS compatibility updates, especially for later versions like Big Sur. Finally, no additional components are required to use this masterpiece of an app.

Play FLAC on Mac with Elmedia

icon pros Pros

  • Fine-tune all sound aspects via a 10-band graphic equalizer
  • Stream music from your iPhone to your Mac
  • Intelligently organize music playlists
  • Allows you to play FLAC files on Mac, as well as MP3, OGG, and various video formats

icon cons Cons

  • Not entirely free; full capabilities are unlocked by upgrading

How to Play FLAC Files on Mac using Elmedia?

1. Download Elmedia from the official website and install it on your Mac..

Install Elmedia FLAC Player on Mac

2. Play your music

To play FLAC on Mac, you need to add the files in Elmedia Player. Use either of the ways listed below:

  • Drop FLAC files on the player window or onto the dock icon.
  • Right-click a FLAC file in Finder and choose to "Open With". Select Elmedia Player from the list of apps.
  • In Elmedia, select "File" from the main menu, navigate to your file and click "Open".
Enjoy FLAC files with Elmedia

3. Don’t stop there.

There’s so much more you can do with Elmedia. Give it a chance, and a whole new world of sound will open before you.

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You can also stream FLAC files on Mac!

Elmedia is the right choice when you want to stream via DLNA or AirPlay. It will cast both image and sound to your Smart TV, providing the same options and controls you would have on your Mac. Thus, wherever you watch or listen, be it a Chromecast TV, an iPad, or even a different Mac, Elmedia Player will always ensure that you have a complete experience. For FLAC, Mac just doesn’t have any better options.

5KPlayer

Another great Mac FLAC player option. 5K should definitely be considered by music enthusiasts, because it produces consistently smooth, rich sound. After all, what would be the point of lossless music if your player couldn’t fully reproduce it? Other than that, the player incorporates some secondary features, like YouTube streaming and WiFi radio. This one isn’t as simple as it looks.

Play FLAC on Mac with 5KPlayer

icon pros Pros

  • Supports DTS multi-channel surround sound
  • Hardware Acceleration for fast FLAC playing
  • Allows you to download online videos
  • Supports AirPlay and DLNA
  • Downloads from online platforms such as YouTube, Vevo, SoundCloud, etc.

icon cons Cons

  • Complicated interface takes some time getting used to

VLC

This suggestion shouldn’t surprise you. VLC has a massive toolkit at its back, and the ability to play .flac on Mac is far from the only thing it can boast. Some go as far as to call it the best media player; we think it’s a bit extreme, but it does have one massive merit. VLC is completely free, down to the last feature. No payment is necessary to experience the app in its entirety - thus, whatever you gain from it, either way, nothing was ventured.

FLAC files on Mac with VLC

icon pros Pros

  • Can be used with mostly keyboard commands
  • No codec installation required
  • Works on macOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and iOS

icon cons Cons

  • The interface could use an update
  • Crashes occasionally
  • No music library feature

Audirvana

If you want to take it to the next level, you should try Audirvana. It’s an audio streaming and playback service that provides superior audio playback and advanced features. Apart from being able to play FLAC files on Mac, Audirvana supports other multi-channel files such as ALAC, AIFF, WAV, etc. What sets it apart is that it delivers Hi-Fi sound by applying three core solutions: Control of the Audio Flow, Noise reduction, and DAC (digital-to-analog) Adaptation. With heavy audiophiles in mind, Audirvana is arguably one of the best FLAC players Mac users can get their hands on.

Audirvana FLAC Player for Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Good UI and UX
  • Easy-to-use user support
  • Multi-channel support

icon cons Cons

  • It’s quite pricey and offers no free version

VOX

VOX is another very well known Mac FLAC player - here’s why. It’s designed for Hi-Res music and first-class sound quality. The app also comes with various advanced audio settings (e.g. a 10-band equalizer, bass audio engine, etc.). It supports a wide range of audio file formats. What’s more, it has a built-in radio with over 30K internet radio stations. The UI is stylish and easy to navigate. Some features such as gapless playback, unlimited cloud storage, playlist syncing are only available in the premium version (at $4.99/month), so do keep in mind that the free version is quite basic. Still, this is a great FLAC player Mac users would appreciate - especially heavy listeners.

VOX - Best FLAC player for Mac

icon pros Pros

  • Ideal app for music aficionados
  • 5.1 multichannel audio playback
  • Wide range of functions and customization options
  • Sync between Mac and iOS
  • Unlimited cloud storage for music

icon cons Cons

  • Most features are only available with the paid version
  • CPU-heavy
  • Basic version is too stripped

FLAC, ALAC, AAC, M4A, WMA: What’s the Difference?

First, let’s start with the lossless formats, FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), designed for high fidelity sound. These two formats are pretty much equal in terms of sound quality. The only difference comes in terms of device compatibility: ALAC is an Apple-specific format which can be played by iTunes. Of course, if you wish to play FLAC on Mac, there’s certainly a way - apps such as the Elmedia Player can do just that.

Next, on to the lossy formats. Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression. It provides lower sound quality than the lossless FLAC and ALAC above. Still, AAC actually offers better quality than MP3 at the same bitrate.

Other lossy formats include MP3 and WMA. MP3 is probably the most common one which needs no introduction, while WMA is not so widely supported (i.e. it is not compatible with iTunes). If you wish to play WMA on Mac, you need an all-around good player which supports the WMA file type.

M4A, another popular Apple file type, is usually coded with AAC, making it a lossy format. However, M4A is actually a container. This means you can choose from several different audio codecs depending on your needs. For example, if you use the ALAC audio codec for M4A, it will preserve all of the detail, while still keeping file sizes smaller. Again, to play this file type on both macOS and Windows, you can use a versatile M4A player such as Elmedia - it can open an extensive range of files.

Final words

Which audio format you choose depends on a variety of factors: what device or accessories you plan to listen to your music on; how much space you have available; etc. But ultimately, the important thing is to actually have the ability to play ALL your music, regardless of the file type, and this is when truly good music players come into play.

If you have a FLAC file on Mac, solutions such as Elmedia can play it without any effort, while also providing you with a range of additional functions and settings to make for an enjoyable experience.

FAQ

We described our selection of the 5 best FLAC players for Mac in this article. Elmedia Player is the top choice for a number of reasons. It’s an intuitive, versatile app with various perks, such as a 10-Band Equalizer, selection of playback channels for surround sound, and more. It integrates well with your Mac for a native macOS feel. Also, Elmedia works with Chromecast, AirPlay and DLNA, providing a seamless experience across all your devices.

You can. With Elmedia, this is painfully easy. It takes nothing more than a few clicks to use, and, in turn, provides an unforgettable experience. You may even end up using it for other formats, video included.

Apple chose not to support FLAC on their systems. This was probably intended to reduce competition for their own ALAC. Regardless, there are more options outside of Apple Music (formerly iTunes): Elmedia Player, Vox, and Colibri come to mind.

Take the following steps:

  1. Open your FLAC file. Then, launch the MediaHuman Audio Converter. Drag and drop the FLAC file onto the MediaHuman app window. You can also click the Add button.
  2. Split CUE. Sometimes, music in FLAC format comes in two files: the image and the cue sheet. If your file contains multiple tracks and you wish to split it into individual ones, you can do so at this step.
  3. Choose ALAC as the output format from the drop-down menu.
  4. Adjust quality. It’s best to choose the original quality in order to preserve it.
  5. Click the Convert button on the toolbar.
  6. Done!
Elmedia Player Free
Requirements: macOS 10.12+ , 103.67MB free space
Version 8.1(2848) (28 Jul, 2021) Release notes
Category: MultimediaApplication