Chrome Browser Adds Support for High-Res FLAC Audio Files

If you're not particularly picky about sound quality, you're probably satisfied with the audio output you get from listening to standard MP3s or streaming services. However, audiophiles have long preferred FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files, which provide CD-quality audio. With Chrome version 56, which is available now in beta and coming to everyone very soon, Google's browser gains the ability to play FLAC.

I test played a FLAC file in the browser and it worked flawlessly. All I had to do was drag the file into the Chrome window or open it by hitting CTRL + O and a small player appeared in the center of the screen.

I downloaded a 35-second sample song that was available in both M4A (similar to MP3) and FLAC formats. I don't have a sensitive ear for music, but I was able to tell the difference between the two files. For example, a UFO space sound appeared to be coming from different directions on the FLAC version but was just part of the general foreground on the M4A copy. 

FLAC fans know that Chrome is hardly the first piece of software to play FLACs. Windows 10 comes with support built-in so you can open FLACs in Windows Media Player or a slew of other media programs. Modern smartphones also support FLAC out of the box or via apps. However, if you want to play one of these files in your Chrome browser, you'll now be able to do so.

9to5Google, which first reported the story, predicts that Chrome 56 will appear as an automatic update for all users within the next week. However, if you want to play FLACs in Chrome right now, you can join Chrome's Beta or Dev channels (Dev is even fresher than Beta) right now.

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Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.