I don’t see the point of FLAC. Converting files just to save 35% in space doesn’t seem very productive. As for sound quality, most people can’t tell the difference between a 256 kbps mp3 file and the WAV file when using a portable player. I guess he doesn’t object to the sound quality of higher bitrate mp3 files, but might want to transport WAV files from one pc to another, or else to listen to them on the player but avoid going through the step of converting the WAV files to mp3. While FLAC may be said to be able to produce a WAV file exactly identical to the one that produced it, those doing serious work don’t want to risk it just to save 35% in space. The time used to convert files and reconvert them to WAV is also a factor.
There are many reasons to prefer FLAC over Wav and high bitrate MP3:
- FLAC is smaller than Wav. May not be a big difference when you’re talking about an 8GB player, but when you’ve ripped 3000 CDs (as I have) it adds up to a lot of space (300-400GB).
- You can’t tag wav files, making them impractical for use with pretty much any kind of music library software or portable player.
- Assuming you got a bit-perfect rip (EAC/dbPoweramp), you can perfectly recreate the original CD from FLAC files. You can’t do that with any lossless format.
- If you only have lossy files, you can’t transcode to another codec/bitrate without significant additional loss. From my FLAC files I can transcode to as many different formats as I like and change my mind as often as I like. With lossy files you’re pretty much stuck with whatever format you originally chose.
- Storage always gets bigger and cheaper. In a few years when we have affordable 250GB flash players, many people who ripped all their CDs to a lossy format might regret that choice.
- FLAC is computationally very simple to decode. It takes less CPU than most lossy formats and less disk access than a wav.
Not sure what you mean by “While FLAC may be said to be able to produce a WAV file exactly identical to the one that produced it, those doing serious work don’t want to risk it just to save 35% in space”. I would consider archiving 3000 CDs serious work. And what do you mean by “risk it”? Are you suggesting that FLAC isn’t lossless?
Sonar, SoundForge, Audacity and others all support FLAC import/export. Ableton Live actually allows you to directly work with FLAC without import/export. Same goes for Traktor. I would say some “serious” works gets done in those apps.
Now, whether FLAC is really ideal for a 8GB flash player is debatable. Even after FLAC support is added to the Fuze, I’ll still probably transcode to MP3 for space reasons. But you were asking about “the point” of FLAC, of which there are many. A given person may or may not care about those points, but that doesn’t make them any less valid.