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)

  • MusicCrusader

    I want simply to continue the awareness here (because the lies have gone on too long regarding lossless BS) that yes you can make MP3, 4 , 10 whatever you want… JUST know you are reduced to 10% of the hard work the artist put into the end result and you have basically a THUMBNAIL of what the music really is. Don’t say you can’t tell the difference until you spend a little time with Wavs VS MP3. If you’ve never even heard a CD, this is like saying I have only eaten at McDonalds and never have eaten anything that is gourmet or even fresh. There is a lot of misinformation out there and even the Apple Lossless Codec doesn’t mean it is “like the same as” because first off the math lies: you cannot take a 50Mb file and expect to have the same resolution in 3Mb. Then it is apparent audio wise and you don’t have to be some snobby ass “audiophile” to tell. This is not a slap at anyone here this is the beginning of an awareness movement from the recording engineers inside the industry pushing back against big business that is eradicating all of the work we do. I challenge you to take a CD and make the WAVE import into itunes. Then make an MP3 listen to the whole thing, test it. Listen to how the middle or “soul” of the music is totally gone but the high end or “treble” gets bumped up in the MP3. At first you think ” hey this mp3 is exciting” but ultimately it is fatiguing soulless and a let down. It’s one of the reasons why many of us today to not really fall in love with records like we used to. Many of you hear this as “old guy angry” no no no. #1) not old, #2) not angry #3) I really am pleading for anyone to challenge my comments by trying. We make music in this industry, we send it back and fourth with the artists, they are very specific with what works , we get it finished. We convert to itunes and are appalled. It doesn’t take a big stereo system to notice either. The difference is emotional as well. It happened to me once when I wondered why I didn’t like this record anymore… I always loved it. I put in the original CD and it all came back… I realized I’d made a CD from MP3 convert and that was the most shocking revelation. Up until then I’d been storing my stuff at 320 MP3 but now, I am devastated. I have liked the FLAC Idea because it is trying to preserve everything to the best of the original ability. But it seems a bit “retarding” to want to make an MP3 of something so resolute. Really. Like saying: I’d like to take all my high res pictures and make wallet size pictures but still have to look at them 10 feet away. That’s whats happening and I’d like you all to know. Why? is this some conspiracy? hell no. Please go find anyone in the industry ( not a stupid A&R person ) and ask them. We’ve been quiet for so long because we figured ” oh man they’re not gonna buy it” but it’s past that point now and many of us are just watching as the decline of our human experience continues. I mean it. You who have only heard MP3s will have not experienced something that others have. You have missed out on an emotional component and even if it’s “non-emotional” music. I work with Apple Codec and transferring masters to apple codec. We are trying all the time to make it sound as good as possible but it’s very sad. I don’t care if people forever and ever make MP3s it’s just the lies and the general consensus that thinks something that isn’t true. If it were up to me? I’d sell MP3s for a $.10 and the album track as the original .Wav file for $.99 each. We can get into the stupid digital converters on your iphones later but let’s first stop the bleeding I say. Good day and I know most of you will tune out but this is here and hopefully printed for the rest of this website’s eternity. It was written, it was done. I do not care to engage in non-debateable facts, I am here to educate and help. You should (if you are angry) be angry at how nobody has stepped up to say anything that is a pop star or otherwise. Be angry that people do not care. Be angry that you’ve been duped. Look when you buy HD TV it looks better, when you got MP4 or 3 it got worse so what the heck right? Some of you will know who this is by some of the key words I use like ” trend towards compromise” and ” I feel like chicken little saying the sky is falling and nobody believes me” except… it is with regard to audio. I know again, nobody has read all of this because most of you posting with the desire to make MP3s at all costs are absolutely oblivious but you will see me getting out there from behind making hit records and getting the average “joe” to understand what I am talking about and the world people will voice what they want and you want what we worked hard to give you. Until Madonna or Gaga comes out and says ” thank you for your itunes purchase but if you really want to hear my record, get the CD” nobody will believe us. History will record the truth. I do not wish to endure gag orders from Apple being a public figure so please understand this is anonymous with a tremendous amount of hope and love to you all. Thank You.

  • Was a different Foobar install than shown, and I can’t figure out how to convert to mp3 but I was able to convert to WAV which is enough for my needs for what I’m doing right now for a friend.. I am far from knowing what I’m doing with a computer and ha no idea what this FLAC file even was when I downloaded it I thought there was something wrong with the files lol your help here was sooo needed and way to understand, thank you! :)