Flac vs AAC

What is the difference between Flac at 44.1 kHz 2ch, 16 bit and AAC 44.1 257 kbps?

I have been ripping my cd to flac; but, I have some download purchases from amazon at AAC which sound similar to my ears, hence this question.

FLAC is a compressed file like a zip file on a computer, all the information is there, but it’s stored in the most efficient form.

AAC is a lossy format that throws out information.

The difference between 256 and Flac should be easily audible. If not I would question your software/implementation.

AAC is a lossy format; it works by cutting away features of the music which are less readily perceptible. It does this quite cleverly, and for many people the difference in the sound generated from an AAC file and a lossless FLAC is often not immediately apparent. The lossy files are smaller, which can be an advantage for portable devices, and they may be cheaper downloads. The FLACs are as good as you are going to get, and can always be converted to AAC/MP3 for portable devices. On a good system I can tell the difference between high bit rate lossy files and lossless ones. However the lossy ones are not so bad that they detract from my enjoyment of the actual music providing the bit rate is 192kbps or higher. The bottom line is that a lossless FLAC is a better and safer choice. I have got a LOT of 320kbps MP3 files from the time before I knew better. I still thoroughly enjoy listening to them

I would not say the difference between FLAC and AAC 256Kbps is “easily audible” in all cases. Some people have better ears than others and some recordings are better than others. I am not surprised that they sound similar because they should.

AAC 256Kbps is not a bad format at all. I still have a bunch on my system and I very much enjoy listening to them.


Thank you all for your comments. My ears feel better, the AAC downloads I have are single tracks that I really liked, but not the remainder of the album, except for the CDs I purchased. The CDs were always ripped in Flac.

I would take AAC played out of Audirvana or Jriver over Wav/Flac out of ITunes player/windows media any day.