About Audio Formats

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)

All of our downloads are available in lossless, DRM-free FLAC format. FLAC stands out as one of most widely supported lossless audio codecs, and Furious Artisans has opted to encode our catalog exclusively in FLAC. As a courtesy, we also provide a pre-transcoded Apple Lossless (ALC) version for all full album purchases. Apple Lossless provides lossless quality audio in iTunes and native playback support for Apple hardware. The downloads page for your order will have links for both formats.

Bit rates

The bottom of each album's track list details the FLAC file's bitrate for that album: 16-bit is CD Quality, and 24-bit, sometimes known as "Studio Master" quality is the full hi-resolution audio that is recorded and heard in the studio, and would be similar in quality to a DVD-Audio disc. 

File Size & Downloading

Although FLAC and Apple Lossless files are compressed, they are still significantly larger than MP3 files, so they will take longer to download. Your downloads page will not expire, so you can return to it when you have time to download your purchased files. Each file may be downloaded up to 10 times, to allow ample room for possible corruption of the download.  FLAC files have a self-verification feature, so you can check to make sure there were no errors during download. For more on verifying your downloaded files click here. Single track purchases are FLAC only, and can be converted to any format. See below for easy conversion instructions.

Playing FLAC files

Furious Artisans recommends the program Decibel, from sbooth for the highest quality audio playback. Decibel processes all audio using 64-bit floating-point precision, providing the highest possible playback quality for files sampled at all bit depths.  There are also many players available for multiple operating systems. See the FLAC site for a complete listing: http://flac.sourceforge.net/download.html

Converting Flac files

Converting Flac

FLAC can be converted (without any degradation of the file) to all formats, including Apple Lossless (ALC), MP3, AAC, WMA, Wav, and AIFF. FLAC files are CD quality or better (depending on bit-rate and sample rate), so when you purchase audio files from us you are getting the same quality as you would if you purchased a physical CD. You can then convert the audio to whatever format you prefer, and which works with your setup or device.

Mac Users

Note that if you purchase a full album, you will be able to download the Apple Lossless version which will play in iTunes.

iTunes does not support FLAC by default, but can be enabled using Fluke. There is also a script which allows iTunes integration with Decibel (see the Decibel page).

If you wish to convert your FLAC files to Apple Lossless (or any other preferred format) the easiest way is with the free soundfile converter application called Max.

Please see the following instructions for setting the correct preferences and Max will quickly convert FLAC downloads to the Apple Lossless format and, at the same time, import the files into iTunes.

Go to Max > Preferences > Formats

  • in the list of 'Available output formats' double-click on 'MPEG4 Audio'
  • in the window that opens select 'Apple Lossless' and then click on OK
  • in the 'Configured output formats' list ensure that only 'MPEG4 Audio (Apple Lossless) is selected with a tick.

Now in the same Preferences window click on 'iTunes' (in the top right corner)

  • select 'Use iTunes compatibility mode'
  • select 'Add output files to iTunes library'
  • close the Preferences window.

Now whenever you need to convert FLAC files and add them to your iTunes library just

  • drag and drop your FLAC Downloads onto the Max 'File Conversion' window
  • click on 'Convert'

Please note that 24-bit Apple Lossless flles will play on an iPod but the player has not been optimized to read such large files using the battery, so we recommend connecting the player to a power source before playing 24-bit ALC files.

PC Users

Note that if you purchase a full album, you will be able to download the Apple Lossless version which will play in iTunes.

If you are on PC, and wish to convert the FLAC files to WMA, MP3,  Apple Lossless or other format, please see the list of converters on the FLAC website. Here are some recommendations:

dBpoweramp Music Converter
Germanix Transcoder
Media Monkey (free version can convert FLAC)

See this link for more info, or if you are on a different operating system:
How to play, decode, and rip FLAC files on any computer

Verifying Your Downloaded Files

If you download a full album in FLAC format, first make sure that you can successfully unzip the archive. Once the archive is extracted follow the instructions below to verify the files:

On Mac using xACT:

  1. Open xACT
  2. Hit the checksum tab
  3. Hit the add button and navigate to the folder you have the flac files in.
  4. Select all of the files in the folder.
  5. Click the checksum button.
  6. Click the 'Verify' option.

When it is done, an new output window will pop up listing every flac file with and OK next to it (hopefully). If there is a problem with a file, it will say "Error reading checksum. file may be missing or corrupt" next to the file. If this is the case, you can return to your downloads page and click on FLAC > Tracks button to download just the corrupted track(s).

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