Step 3. You can now play Flac files, but only in VLC. If you prefer to stick with WMP, download and install the Direct Show filters. Launch WMP and open the sample files. You’ll find that you can now listen to Flac files in WMP and various other audio formats will also have become available.
Step 4. Note that Flac files still won’t show up in WMP’s library. To correct this, install the upgrade. Reports suggest that this works differently on some PCs; if Flac files still don’t appear in the library, delete all the library entries (but not the files themselves) and allow WMP to rebuild its directory.
Step 5. If WMP still refuses to include your new files in the library, it’s possible that the library has become corrupted. This can be resolved using the appropriate troubleshooter. Type Troubleshooting into the Start menu Search box and select ‘Troubleshooting’. Select View All, then ‘Windows Media Player Library’. Follow the steps given.
Step 6. By now, you should be able to listen to Flac files in WMP or VLC. Chances are, however, the only Flac files you have are the two test samples. Your favourite MP3 download store might offer Flac, but other sites specialise in lossless, high-bitrate audio. Take a look at hdtracks.com and 7digital.com.
Step 7. Flac downloads are still a rarity, but you can rip CDs using the format. You’ll be limited by the CD’s 16bit, 44.1kHz sampling rate; even so, by using Flac instead of MP3 you’ll preserve a CD’s audio quality. In WMP, select Tools, Options. Select WAV (lossless) under Format on the Rip Music tab.
Step 8. Rip tracks from CD in the same way as you would if you were storing them in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. If you’re making new, higher-quality rips of tracks that you’ve previously ripped in another format, things will get less confusing if you rip them to a different folder.
Step 9. Your WAV files can now be played in WMP in just the same way as MP3 or WMA - hopefully you’ll notice an improvement in audio quality. If you struggle to notice a difference, however, it may be that your audio hardware isn’t up to scratch.
Step 10. Before continuing, take a look at your WAV files in Windows Explorer. You’ll find they’re huge. While MP3 files are typically 2MB to 4MB, depending on the length and bitrate, WAV tracks will often be around 40MB. If you’re happy with storing such large files, skip to Step 14 for advice on recording your own lossless audio.
Step 11. Flac files are typically around 50 percent the size of WAV files of the same sampling rate, but sound just as good. If you want to save disk space, convert your WAV files to Flac. Download and unzip FlicFlac. There’s no need to install the program; simply double-click FlicFlac to launch it.
Step 12. In FlicFlac, ensure the ‘to Flac’ button is depressed and ‘Delete input file’ selected. Click within the area labelled ‘Select or Drop Files’. When the ‘Select a file to convert’ window opens, select the file(s) you want to convert. We recommend you convert multiple files simultaneously, one album at a time.
Step 13. Having converted WAV to Flac, it’s likely that your files will be missing the artist information and album artwork. If this happens, right-click the album in WMP’s library and select ‘Find album info’. If it doesn’t find it automatically, enter the name of the album when the Search box appears and select it from the results.
Step 14. Windows’ Sound Recorder lets you record high-quality audio from a microphone. Click Start, Control Panel, ‘Hardware and Sound’, ‘Manage audio devices’. Select the microphone and choose Properties on the Recording tab, then select a sampling rate on the Advanced tab. After recording, convert the WAV file to Flac.