How to Convert Flac files to MP3

[Windows] Among committed audiophiles, the flac file format is a pretty popular one when it comes to audio file storage. There is a significant difference between a flac audio file and a conventional mp3 file — the standard for audio players these days, and that is sound quality. However, one can only detect that difference when using powerful audio gear, the likes of which music producers and DJs use. In contrast, an mp3 file is a compressed, small-size file that is convenient to store and carry but for which they compromise quality. Also, Flac files have a huge file-size difference, for they aren’t compressed and have a higher bitrate.

If you have downloaded or just gotten a cd full of flac music tracks and find it inconvenient to store such huge files, or want to transfer them to an audio player compatible with mp3 files but not flac, this is your guide to follow. Also note, that the method used here applies only to Windows users.

We’ll be using the free Foobar2000 media player and the LAME encoder for the conversion process.

After you have installed Foobar2000, and have it running, open the flac file(s) which you want to convert. Then right click on those tracks and select Convert → Convert to.. You’ll get a box like this:

Converter Setup

Now this is the place where you can select what conversion properties you would like to apply to the selected files. From the Output Format box, select Mp3. Then click the box beside it with three dots. Over here, you can further customize the quality of the mp3s obtained.

MP3 Settings

Slide the bar to select the quality and bitrate of the soon-to-be obtained mp3 files. Evidently, if you move the slider to the left, the file size will be lesser, comprising the quality and if you move it to the right, the files will have better quality compromising with a high file size. Make your choice. Then click OK.

Now you should be back to the Converter Setup window. Here, select an output folder and decide the file naming structure. You can also create a music mix by checking the Merge all tracks into one output file checkbox. When you’re done, click the OK button.

Now, Foobar2000 in order to convert the flac files, needs an encoder. This is where the LAME encoder we downloaded before comes into action. Whichever mirror you used to download, make sure it has a lame.exe in it (or something like lame_xx_xxx.exe) Right here, we only need the lame.exe file. Extract it from the download, and save it somewhere you will remember — the desktop for instance.

Just when you click the OK button, Foobar2000 will ask you where you have the lame.exe file stored. An explorer browser will open, through which you must find the required lame.exe file and proceed. The conversion process will then start and you will see a window like this:


Note: Playing the files while the conversion is in process can cause problems.

Further Information: Converting files from the flac format to the mp3 format will decrease the size phenomenally, but it may also cause reduction in quality. So make sure you are satisfied with the resulting files before disposing off the original flacs.

Published by

Keshav Khera

Keshav Khera is a young freelance writer from India. Alongside writing for the web, he also attends school and tries not to bunk classes. He keeps interest in music, table tennis, reading and of course, twitter (@keshav)

  • Tone

    Thank you so much for such a detailed article. I had 'googled' this conversion method & didn't find any 'free' options having read through several links in 10minutes time. Foobar2000 is great! Cheers!

    • Glad it was helpful :)

      • Jason

        slight issue, and maybe i missed something. but when i convert to mp3 its the whole album as one long track how do i change this?

  • Brett

    Thank you very much. Accurate, simple instructions, couldn’t ask for more.

  • Martha

    Wow. It worked!
    Great instructions, thank you! ^o^

  • Alan

    Thanks, this article was very clear and helped me do exactly what I needed to.

  • theDailyriposte

    Thanks Keshav. I am so pleased to be able to listen to my files now on my iphone!!

  • Bree

    Thank you. Very helpful. ^_^

  • David

    Excellent advice all software and instructions worked wery well

  • Pingback: FLAC to MP3 converter needed - Tampa Forums()

  • Delena

    Thank you very much!!! :D

  • Erika

    Worked perfectly, thanks!!!

  • Stwrt

    Foobar has put out a new version since this page was made so there were some differences but I managed to figure it out. Thanks for the help.

  • Jon

    If FooBar2000 gets any easier, there will be no need for me! Amazingly quick install, a ‘Dummies’ interface to select tracks and convert. Absolutely BRILLIANT! Many thanks for the freeby. PS: Not bad instructions either.

  • Dani

    Thanks for the easy help for a girl who would not have known how to do this lol

  • ronan

    hey thanks a bunch

  • Zach

    Worked like a charm! Fast and easy, thanks a bunch!

  • Elliot

    When i click convert i get this message: “Could not load info (Unsupported file format)”.

    Anything i’m doing wrong ?.

  • karan

    hey…m experiencing sm prob bcos of wich instead of the whole flac track, only 2/3rds of it is actually gettin converted…. any idea whats the prob??

  • Plaxtonio

    Good stuff! Very helpful.

  • Samantha

    Thank you so much for this step by step guide, I couldn’t have done it without you xx

  • Mike

    Great walkthrough, thanks a bunch.

  • Raul

    Finally I can listen to and convert the flac files. Thanks so much. Everything worked well.

  • Thanks so much for explaining it in a way us less than savvy people can still follow! Worked like a charm!

  • Tony

    Thank you very much. Worked perfectly.

  • Jason

    I am having trouble. when converting to mp3 it is one long track like the flac. is there an easy way to change this?

  • Jorge-MX

    Thank you very much, it was very useful for me (y)