FLAC How-To

Hopefully all new shows in the future put on the tracker will be in FLAC format. FLAC has many advantages over SHN that everyone has been using, most importantly (to most people at least) smaller file sizes (which means quicker downloads, less storage space needed and that's always good). It also has the benefit of being currently in development (which means it'll get better) unlike SHN, which hasn't been developed for quite a while. FLAC also supports 24-bit audio (think DVD-Audio) and will be expandable in the future, as technology improves. It may not wow you now, but in 2 or 3 years you'll be glad you're already with us on the FLAC thing when you're able to download wonderful sounding DVD-audio surround mixes of concerts. FLAC is just as easy to work with as SHN was, but just to be clear on everything, here's a walkthrough.

To decode or play FLAC files, you will need to install the appropriate FLAC program for your operating system. All versions of FLAC are available here:

http://flac.sourceforge.net/download.html

For Windows, I recommend downloading "FLAC 1.1.0 for Windows with installer", unless you're really command-line savvy. If you do not have Nero on your computer***, it will give you a message saying the Nero ROM is not on your computer, blah blah. You can just click "OK" and continue installing FLAC and it will work fine. The only added bonus Nero gives you is being able to burn FLAC files as an audio cd (playable on any cd player) without having to decompress them. It will also install a nice Winamp2 plugin (if possible) and allow you to listen to FLAC files directly in Winamp without having to decompress them also. (very very handy).

Once you have FLAC installed, open FLAC frontend. To convert the FLAC files to WAV, you'll need to click on "Add Files", and select the FLAC files you want from the CD or your hard drive (be sure to specify the output directory). Then just click on "Decode", and let it run the output looks like...

 

 

!

This.

When they're all done, you're done and you're ready to burn.

To test FLAC files for completeness, "Add Files" the ones you want to test, and then click on "Test". The only thing you need to be aware of is that FLAC files do not have an md5 that tests the fileset as a whole, so if you're missing an entire file it will NOT tell you. It can't hurt to always double-check the files you have against the text file or fingerprint file to make sure you have the entire show. As long as all the files say "ok", you're good to go. If any of them don't, you probably didn't download the whole show, or your download was somehow corrupted. Delete the bad files and re-start the download and you should be good after that.

If you have Nero installed, you can install (and sometimes the installer for FLAC will install it for you) a plugin to burn FLAC files directly to audio disc without having to burn them. For Nero6, the plugin directory is "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Ahead\AudioPlugins". Others are in "C:\Program Files\Ahead\Shared\AudioPlugins". It's probably related to whatever version of Nero you're using, so if you try to drag and drop FLAC files into an audio disc and it doesn't work, you've probably got the plugin in the wrong folder. The plugin's filename is nxMyFLA.dll, so find it and copy it to the right folder.

The FLAC plugin, as well as some for other file formats is at http://neroplugins.cd-rw.org/.

Questions? Comments? Please post in the forum.