How to play/convert FLAC files in iTunes

UPDATE: I have created Fluke which makes playing FLACs through iTunes on a Mac much easier. Neither Fluke nor the instructions will work for Windows users though, sorry. Winamp?

Some time ago I had acquired a collection of certain Beatles recordings in FLAC format (65 pounds of Beatles vinyls on my shelf keep me guilt-free), and since the only lossless format iPods would play was Apple Lossless, converting to that format was my only option. Now, while I support the great idea of open lossless that is FLAC, Apple has really been a bitch about implementing it into iTunes. There have been rumours support for it will be present when Leopard comes along, but I think we’ll more likely see native support for WMA files than FLAC.Before today, the method I used to use was: I would take the album in FLAC, put it through xACT which would convert it to .AIFF, effectively doubling the number of song files on my hard drive and getting rid of all the tags entirely; then importing those .aiff files into iTunes, tagging them by hand a little bit, converting the result to Apple Lossless, getting rid of the intermediate .aiff files, and then putting everything through iEatBrainz, the automatic tagging software which bases its algorithm on a checksum of the audiofile, and not the length of all tracks like iTunes does. Now, on their website, the creators of iEatBrainz failed to mention that it doesn’t fucking work most of the time, so I would end up tagging almost everything by hand.Today, I got seriously pissed off at not being able to instantly listen to A Hard Day’s Night, and instead of ripping the LP like I wanted to, I found a workaround for this. Here is what you do.


300 Responses to “How to play/convert FLAC files in iTunes”

  1. 1 David June 17, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for publishing those top tips. I just by pure chance got sent a whole bunch of FLACs not knowing what to do. They are now on my iTunes library thanks to you.

  2. 2 64er June 17, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you very much! Clear, precise and amusing.

  3. 3 earpick June 17, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Glad it helped you guys out!

  4. 4 Kertbert June 23, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Is this a recipe for Mac users only? Seems clear until I try to put into practice in Windows.

  5. 5 earpick June 23, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    I’m fairly certain it is. I haven’t seen very many plugins for iTunes on Windows.

    You know, if you are a student a buy a Mac now, you can get a Nano for free ;D.

  6. 6 chavaloo June 25, 2007 at 2:57 am

    I’m running OS X 10.4.6 Tiger, and I don’t have the same library folders as you. Are you running a different version of OS X?

  7. 7 earpick June 25, 2007 at 3:58 am

    I am running 10.4.9 (still hasitating to upgrade over to 4.10) but it should not matter – the library folders have been the same since Jaguar (10.2) if not earlier.

    Which folders can’t you find? They should all be there.

  8. 8 chavaloo June 25, 2007 at 11:55 am

    I don’t have Library/Quicktime or Library/Components for some odd reason.

  9. 9 Shaz June 25, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    I realize that this is pretty much for Macs only, but do you know of a way I can convert .flac files to open them with iTunes on a PC?
    Cheers in advance.

  10. 10 earpick June 25, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Library/Components may not be there indeed, I had to create that folder on my machine. I followed a number of help files for all the plugins you need to download, and one of them mentioned that the Xiph component has to reside under Library/components. I think they were just mistaken, but I created that folder on my machine anyway just to be on the safe side.
    The QuickTime folder, however, should be there. To double check, go into your finder, then go to the Go menu and choose Go to Folder. Then in the dialogue that pops up punch in “/library/quicktime”. It should get you to the folder. If it says Folder Not Found then something’s wrong – OS X can’t function without that folder, really.

    I think the problem is that you went to the home folder and looked under Library there, and not in the root folder of your Mac.

  11. 11 earpick June 25, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    As to FLAC on Windows, Winamp has a plugin available. And if you want to play the files in iTunes, there is a download available on the Xiph page:

    I have not tested it personally, but it seems to do the same thing it does on the Mac, ie. add playback capabilities to QuickTime on Windows. Since iTunes uses QuickTime for playback, it should theoretically work. Just installing Xiph on its own on the Mac side clearly isn’t enough, so I’m not sure if you have to do more to make it all work. When I was using Windows more, I would just convert FLACs to .wavs, then import them into iTunes, convert to Apple Lossless, and then tag the resultant files with Tag&Rename. The latter, unlike iEatBrainz, can be relied on for retrieving all the tags correctly.

  12. 13 Munyore July 1, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    thanks saved me lot of heartache can now listen to my lossless files on my ipod without having to delete my flac files

  13. 14 July 3, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Your instructions were succinct, amusing and worked perfectly. Thank you, I adore you, you’ve saved me lots of time and made my ears very happy. Best wishes.

  14. 15 earpick July 3, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Wow, looks like people found this post useful. Hooray! Mission accomplished. Have fun with your FLACs!

  15. 16 Sean July 22, 2007 at 1:25 am

    Thanks for the great help.

  16. 17 nick July 26, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    truly amazed and very appreciative of what you’ve done

  17. 18 Neil July 27, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    i’m not one for emotional gushing, but i’m teetering on the edge after such a life-enhancing post. cheers bloke

  18. 19 earpick July 27, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    Oh wow, the magnitude of replies. Thanks a lot everyone. Glad to help out.

  19. 20 Gib August 3, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks from Canada – how can I buy you a pint?! Any tips on converting .bup, .ifo, .vob over to quicktime and or itunes, cheers!

  20. 21 robin August 10, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    ahh this is fabulous!

  21. 22 earpick August 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    You can probably Xpress Post the pint over. And if you’re in Vankoover, then you can just drop it off.

    I do prefer wine though.

  22. 23 Tanya August 12, 2007 at 2:06 am

    I must be a little slow, but I got through steps 1 – 7 perfectly. The file played via Quicktime and everything. Then, I dropped the file onto SetOggS, which immediately gave me the message:

    Setting ‘OggS’ FSType on ‘/Users/Diane/TV/The Beatles – Revolver/The Beatles – Revolver – 02. Eleanor Rigby.flac’… done.

    I quit SetOggS and dragged the file onto the iTunes icon… And nothing! Do you think you could help a damsel in distress? Thanks in advance. :)

  23. 24 earpick August 12, 2007 at 2:56 am

    So far sounds like you did everything correctly. Try opening iTunes and dragging the file onto the “Library” item on the list on the left within iTunes. See if you get a dark edge around it. If you do, as soon as you drop the file it should get copied or added into the library, depending on how you have iTunes set up.

  24. 25 David Hall August 14, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Hi, Your explanation was easy to understand. I tried twice all the way through and all I got was a horrible droning sound on three different files I downloaded.I’ forwarding the link in case you have time to see if the files are bad, but others have apparently downloaded them with no difficulty.

    If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them. Ibelieve all of my software is up to date, my Powerbook G4 is about 5 years old, but has had good care, has plenty of gig space, about 20 left,and I’m running 10.4.10.

    Thanks, Dave

  25. 26 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Dave – tried your file. After dragging the Intro flac file onto SetOggS, and then onto iTunes, it played just fine. Odd. I wonder if one of the libraries doesn’t work as well on PowerPC? Hard to tell at this point. It’s obviously one of the components misbehaving. Make sure you have the latest components as well as QuickTime and iTunes.

  26. 27 RnO August 18, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Thx man, great explanation of how to do this.

  27. 28 Ran August 18, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you soooo much. One rare example of making an operation easily understandable, quickly and fun. Keep up with the good work.

  28. 29 Marco August 19, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Or to make things really easy……….FOR MACS (at least)
    ….go to versiontracker & just download MacFlac…its freeware

    I keep mine in Apps……….you just drag your files in & it will decode ( gives a choice of AIFF or WAV…when decoded drag into itunes………..pretty sure also that you get to keep the FAC files aswell……….chose shared ?or itunes as output directory & it will double up the files…giving FLAC & AIFF

  29. 30 Marco August 19, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    I forgot …it will also ENCODE any to FLAC if you want

  30. 31 Marco August 19, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    & for the guy in Canada looking to open .vob .bup files
    Toast Titanium will open & burn them to a dvd or as a imagefile that you can then open directly on the computer w/out burning 1st

  31. 32 earpick August 20, 2007 at 2:07 am

    Marco – I used to decode the FLAC files myself. In fact that was the whole problem. When doing it the way I described you get to keep the tags and instantly convert to Apple Lossless or MP3 without needing to do double conversion, manual retagging or fiddling with files outside of iTunes. All you have to do once you go through the guide is drop the files onto SetOggS, and then drag them into iTunes. Voila.

  32. 33 Dwardo August 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Great instructions, beautifully written – worked like a charm. If only everyone wrote step-by-steps like this!

  33. 34 earpick August 23, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks. I suppose I’ll try to write more of ’em. Doing technical support teaches you to be more precise in your wording.

  34. 35 DFrav August 27, 2007 at 4:48 am

    Wow!! What a simple solution. Am I glad I came across this thread. I have been struggling with this for weeks. By your instructions, I was playing flac in my iPod in less than 5 min.


  35. 36 Mark September 2, 2007 at 3:33 am

    Thanks for the guide / solution!

    I found that putting the components in /Library/Quicktime/ (and not /Library/Components/ or ~/anything) worked just fine. Also, I (am pretty sure I) didn’t have to restart – just quit and re-open QuickTime / iTunes. (This on an intel MBP.)

    Now the question is: How to have the (video) iPod auto-downsample, like the shuffle does?

  36. 37 earpick September 2, 2007 at 3:49 am

    I have been looking for an answer to that question myself. I will post if I figure it out.

  37. 38 earpick September 2, 2007 at 3:50 am

    And where on Kingsway are you? Not by Boundary by any chance? =)

  38. 39 Dominic September 3, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Good work. I’d got as far as Step 1 myself, but then drawn a blank.
    I know how hard it is to write clear instructions – you’ve done a great job.
    Heartfelt thanks from Tokyo

  39. 40 earpick September 3, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks. That was actually pretty fun to write =)

  40. 41 Gordon September 4, 2007 at 2:19 am

    Works Great, except for the following: I tried two albums. On one the order of the songs is messed up, track numbers are gone. Clicking the Album column does nothing. On the other the artist and album info is gone, but the track order is right, they are still numbered. I tried getting CD track names under “Advanced”, but it says you have to import using iTunes. If I try to import under “File” it only lets me select one song at a time. Also, in the folder with the flacs there are lyrics and album covers. Is this of any use to iTunes? Should I just get them via an Itunes store account, which I don’t currently have? Is there another way? Lastly, when I select the whole folder, with lyrics, cue, covers, etc., and drag that to iTunes it makes two copies of the flacs. Not really a problem, just weird.

  41. 42 earpick September 4, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Sounds like the FLAC tag problems. Precisely why I suggested converting to Apple Lossless. AS is the iTunes native format it know well what to do with.

    As to the artwork, you can assign it manually or get an iTunes account (you’ll need to punch in a credit card number or you can get a gift card). Lyrics are trickier, and as of now I only know how to add those manually.

    Two copies of FLACs – sounds like you’re dragging the playlist files along with the FLACs, so iTunes goes “okay, here are some FLACs. Wait, a playlist, it could be A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ALBUM, I’ll import it too!”. Machines are dumb. Right now anyway. Don’t really care for when they get smart, I’ll be dead by then.

  42. 43 Ryan September 5, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Very excited to hear about natively playing FLAC in iTunes, but that’s the ONE step I can’t get to work! They all sound great through Quicktime, but as soon as I drag the files into iTunes (any icon, or the actual window itself) iTunes quits and I get an “iTunes has quit unexpectedly” message box. Any ideas as to what might be going on? I have iTunes 7.3.2…

  43. 44 wondergirl September 5, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Well, I have to say that I was quite tickled to find this handy dandy guide for the pain-in-the-arse FLAC v.iTunes issue! But then I scrolled down a little further and my joy turned to sadness, as I realized this is an instructional guide for all the cool kids with macs!!

    But I’ve bookmarked you anyway because my vaio laptop just took it’s 4th trip to the laptop doctor (laptomotrist?) and will, no doubt, need some ridiculous repair like say….oh, IT’S 3RD MOTHERBOARD REPLACEMENT (in it’s brief 2 year life!!) Damn Sony’s ihateyouihateyouihateyou!

    So pending the results of the diagnostics, I will be most likely on the market for my new notebook–which will be a macbook pro (I’ve already priced it with all the pretty little bells and whistles that I want–gimmie the biggest and fastest baby!). So, someday I’ll be like all the other hipsters! Someday, I’ll be cool too!

    p.s. we have that free nano deal here at IU too, but it seems a bit moot since they max capacity at 8gig, is it? How many lossless do you think we could fit on one of those bad boys? :P It’s bad enough that I can’t add an album to my 60gig ipod without taking something off to make room… and I don’t have a lossless lp on it! And now oink is slowly turning me into an audio snob…I was bad enough just being a music snob, but now I shall hate on your music and scoff at your bitrates!

  44. 45 earpick September 5, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Welcome, my friend, welcome to the machine.

    Teaser trailer – you will miss Windows eventually.


  45. 46 Ryan September 5, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    How weird is that that another B-Towner posted right after me? haha… anyway. Any ideas as to whats going on with the iTunes step?

  46. 47 wondergirl September 6, 2007 at 3:29 am

    Wow, Bloomington too, eh? Weird. Really weird. Where is this site’s home base anyway?

    Will I really miss windows…as in maybe I shouldn’t get a mac? Oh now I’m confused!

  47. 48 earpick September 6, 2007 at 5:40 am

    You’ll miss it for the certain charm in all the time you spend in fixing it. Macs seem almost too easy. I personally can’t use my computer if it doesn’t crap out every week, so I installed XP on my MacBook. Now I just get my share of blue screens and life is good.

    And the home base would be Vancouver CA.

  48. 49 wondergirl September 7, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Haha! Well, I think I’ll be able to live without those “charming” blue screens! It will be a struggle, but I’ll get through it one stress-less day at a time…

  49. 50 wondergirl September 7, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    But in the meantime if you love figuring out all the windows kinks, how about figuring out how to convert flac to Apple Lossless?!

    …I’ll be your best friend!!

  50. 51 earpick September 7, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Under Windows? I don’t know how to do it as easily as this guide explains.

    Basically, the way I did it on Win is I would use the FLAC converter tool available on the official FLAC website, batch-convert everything into WAV’s, import them into iTunes, convert to Apple Lossless within iTunes (Preferences>Advanced>Import> change the codec from MP3 to Apple Lossless if you haven’t already), and then use something like Tag & Replace, a utility for tagging music, to retrieve the tags for the album.

  51. 52 wondergirl September 7, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Well that doesn’t sound hard at all. Is there a loss of quality when converting to wav–I suppose not if itunes can convert it back into apple lossless?

    And this is a completely rookie question, but I just asked this on oink too, what is “tagging”? Is that just the “info” for the songs (artist/album/track names)? Or something more technical?

  52. 53 earpick September 7, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    There is no loss of quality because WAV is a lossless format, and so is FLAC, and so is Apple Lossless.

    And yep, you got it. Tags are metadata within each song that contains artist, song, year and other information, so when you play the song the player, iTunes, Winamp or whatever you prefer, will tell you what song is playing. Otherwise, all you would see is the filename which isn’t of much help.

    If you use iTunes, right click on a song and choose Get Info. That’s where you edit the tags.

  53. 54 Mark September 8, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Worked like a charm! Thanks for figuring it all out, so I didn’t have to!

  54. 55 Garey September 10, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you so very much for the demystification. I was able to search my entire drive for .flac files and from the found set, drag it to “Set OggS” icon. In one fell swoop the library was iTunes enabled. Then from that same found set, I was able to drag the flacs to a new playlist in iTunes. I was able to complete the conversion process of multiple files in multiple directories in less than 2 mins …and then after waiting for iTunes to catch up, push play!
    Thanks again
    Now I can FLAC-out my entire CD library.

  55. 56 steve September 16, 2007 at 10:11 am

    It works like a charm, thanks. However, after conversion to aiff there is a significant reduction in volume, ie play the imported flac file then the converted aiff file with the same volume settings and the flac file is much louder. Any idea why and what to do to avoid it?

  56. 57 Kim September 16, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Works like a charm. Great tutorial! Too bad it doesn’t work with airport express! Suppose that it doesn’t support .flac.

  57. 58 dmcormond September 18, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    This worked perfectly for me, thanks!

  58. 59 maxLOVER September 18, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    cool workaround but a bit too long.

    why not just use “Max” from sbooth?:

    workaround would be: drag your flac onto max, choose apple lossless as output and let max automatically put the converted files into itunes. that’s no more than two clicks for me! and btw: no problem with lost tags this way…

  59. 60 earpick September 18, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Haven’t heard of Max, hmm. For what I do that indeed might be the best way to go. Not sure about people who want to keep their library in .flac format.

  60. 61 Spherehead September 19, 2007 at 6:52 am

    This is the only program one should ever need to convert just about any audio format to any other:

  61. 62 earpick September 19, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Assuming you’re running an ugly Windows box of course =).

  62. 63 Scoot Dog September 25, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Damn you are Good!


  63. 64 Randy W September 28, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks greatly, worked like a champ!

  64. 65 Bundy September 29, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Very useful walkthrough, worked for me! Thanks a lot!

  65. 66 earpick September 29, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Glad it worked for ya guys!

  66. 67 Kristian October 3, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    I have a problem. Everything works as described but when I´m finally playing the converted flacs I wont hear anything. I´m running mac os 10.4 on a intel macbook. Did I miss something?

  67. 68 earpick October 3, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Are the speakers on? =)

    Ok, I’ll assume they are. Then, do you know for Sure that your FLAC files are ok? Do they play in QuickTime? Otherwise make sure you have all the latest system updates. Not sure if it’ll help but you never know. There have been a few fresh QT updates lately.

  68. 69 treyshaf October 5, 2007 at 2:28 am

    KUDOS to you for providing clear and simple instructions to follow. You have brought pleasure to my ears without frustrating me beyond belief before hand!

  69. 70 Chris October 5, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Why not use Media Monkey instead. It plays flac files and converts to mp3 or whatever on-the-fly to your ipod.

  70. 71 earpick October 5, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the comments! Preciate it.

    As to Media Monkey, the whole point of the guide is to import the songs without any conversion, or do so into the Apple Lossless format if you want to play it on your iPod

  71. 72 Steve Irwin October 8, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Brilliant! I didn’t even know I hated mp3 until I got these new flac files running today.

  72. 74 Paul October 9, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Works great, thanks!

    BTW, rebooting when you install software is a Windows thing, an artifact of Windows’ poor design – not necessary on a UNIX machine like the Macintosh.

  73. 75 earpick October 9, 2007 at 6:14 am

    Actually the component you install in the guide is for QuickTime which is a separate layer of the operating system just like Aqua, Carbon, Java and the rest. To reinitialize it you need to reboot the machine.

  74. 76 sarasotajoe October 23, 2007 at 2:14 am

    My components folder in OS 10.4.10 is in ~/Library/Audio/Plugins/Components

    If you just look in ~Library/ you won’t find it.

  75. 77 nick October 23, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    and again this has done the job :)

  76. 78 Phil October 25, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Top work mate :) massive kudos!

  77. 79 Pete October 26, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Hi, I’ve done all that you said and read most of the back and forth to try to resolve the issues I’ve had thus far. First, I too, don’t seem to have a quicktime directory in library…anywhere. I am able to open the .flac file and it appears to be playing, but get no sound, either from QT player or iTunes. Any thoughts?

  78. 80 andrew October 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    You don’t need to have a Quicktime folder pre-existing in your Library. The system just looks for the folder when it’s loading components; there’s no difference between an empty folder there and no folder at all. SO, when you install the components, if there isn’t a folder there already, just make one. This is true for all shit that you have to install in your Library Folder.

  79. 81 dekelly November 2, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    You are the bomb. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. I didn’t know where to start. And it did make me smell nice!

  80. 82 Vincent November 9, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks! It worked flawlessly.

  81. 83 earpick November 9, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for the feedback guys. Have fun FLACcing

  82. 85 Gui Pita November 19, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Thanks for writing and publishing this! Worked perfectly. :-)

  83. 86 JP November 20, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    I am running Leopard and I am trying to do step 1 but there is no components folder or quicktime folders in the library. Is this from Leopard or my doing?

  84. 87 earpick November 20, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    I would imagine it would be the same for Leopard as it is for Tiger. But to be honest I’m not sure – I still haven’t switched over as a number of apps I use aren’t Leopaready.

  85. 88 Davo November 24, 2007 at 4:45 am

    So, has anyone actually got the quicktime plug-in to work with Itunes on Windows?

    There is hope!

  86. 89 Boomee November 25, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Thanks! WOrked like a charm as everyone now knows. But… I can’t play the songs through my remote speakers after importing. Any ideas why this process disables that feature? Thanks again.

  87. 90 earpick November 25, 2007 at 10:49 am

    This is a known issue. AirPort doens’t support FLAC. But there is a utility by Rogue Ameoba called AirFoil ( that will do the trick. It costs moneys though.

  88. 91 Davo November 27, 2007 at 1:36 am

    Cause I can’t make it work. Guessing got to do with FLAC and SetOgg .dmg files.


  89. 92 William G November 28, 2007 at 1:40 am

    i got Van the Man flac files to play finally.
    thank you very much!

  90. 93 Gareth G November 28, 2007 at 7:36 am

    Great tips! Worked like a charm, I’d been looking for a way to deal with this FOREVER!

  91. 94 JL December 2, 2007 at 9:05 am

    I simply dragged the FLAC files into a TOAST window for creating an audio cd. 2) saved as a disc image. 3) Then mounted the disc image from within toast. You will then see an audio CD icon mount on your desktop) Then open Itunes and it should automatically recognize the CD and could then import to whatever music format i wanted to!

    Hope this helps or offers an alternate option for people who already have toast.


    PS: Since Toast is for PC and MAC Im sure it should work similarly for PC users.

  92. 95 Frantz December 3, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks a lot, great tips…
    I still have a little problem : I’ve got a lot FLAC of albums with only one FLAC file and a CUE sheet…
    Is there a way to import CUE sheets into iTunes without splitting into tracks first ?

  93. 96 earpick December 3, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    I’m afraid there is no way to import the CUE sheets and keep the song as a single file. I was looking for a solution like that myself, perhaps involving track bookmarks of some sort or something.

    Thankfully, iTunes now has the skipless playback so you can safely split the file into multiple songs using something like CUE splitter, or, like JL explained above, convert the flac file into a disc image, mount it and import using iTunes.

  94. 97 Indii December 3, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Yup, no reboot required, but quit iTunes/Quicktime after installing the components if it doesn’t work for ya.

  95. 98 Frantz December 4, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for your answer but it’s not working. CUE Splitter do not handle FLAC files and Toast only take CUE sheets when it’s associated with a BIN file, and if you input the FLAC file, you’ll have a one track audio cd.

    So is there another Mac solution than convert every FLAC to AIFF (or WAV) and manually edit each CUE file ?

  96. 99 earpick December 4, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I think you’re doing it wrong. Don’t just mount the FLAC file – create a new audio CD and drag the flac+cue into it, then create a disc image instead of burning the disc. Mount THAT and see if iTunes shows you more than 1 track =).

  97. 100 Frantz December 5, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Thanks again for your answer.
    Toast Titanium v8.0.3 do not handle cue sheets for audio cd.
    When I create a new audio cd and drag the flac and the cue file into it, I got an error window telling me that this kind of file is not supported and that the .cue file has been skipped…

  98. 101 Frantz December 5, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I switched Toast language to English to take a window shot :

  99. 102 James G December 12, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Thank you for your GREAT instructions. It worked perfectly. I thought I was screwed when I realized I accidentally ordered FLAC as a format option when I purchased the music online.


  100. 103 Davo December 13, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Anyone made it work in Windows itunes?


  101. 104 powerpc December 17, 2007 at 1:10 am

    works on Leopard OS X 10.5.1 with iTunes 7.5 (19).
    If you can’t find ~/Library/Components just create the directory.
    thanks to earpick for the tutorial!!!

  102. 105 earpick December 17, 2007 at 1:12 am

    ‘er we go. Perfect. Thanks!

    I’m still on Tiger, some of the apps I use are scared of the new cat.

  103. 106 sean December 17, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    You are tres cool. Thanks.

    I ignored the Components folder instruction and everything works fine. Cheers!

  104. 107 sean December 17, 2007 at 12:15 pm


    Use XLD, it opens Cue files and their corresponding flacs whether it’s one joined flac file or multiple. It’s also free.

    If you prefer paying try Fission by Rogue Amoeba it does the same thing but with a shitload of options and is very pretty!

  105. 108 Brian December 19, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Thanks for these tips! The process worked perfectly.

    iTunes had to chug a bit on my G4 to get the FLACs going though – just a warning that if you see the beachball after you add the files to iTunes, don’t panic!

    Some additional comments (a previous poster made these points as well):

    – I only had to place the components in my root folder (i.e., Hard Drive: /Library/Quicktime/ )

    – Restarting quicktime is sufficient.

    Running an iBook 1.42GHz PowerPC G4, OS 10.4.8, 1.5 GB RAM

    I’m off to do the same thing to my G5.


  106. 109 nilsel December 27, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you very much for this great how-to! Works perfectly on 10.4.11 PPC (server), with latest quicktime (7.3.1) & iTunes (7.5(19)).

  107. 110 David S. December 28, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Thanks, worked awesome-ly.

  108. 111 marty402000 December 28, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    I tried the process 3 times and cant get it to work. Im running a Mac Book Pro 2.33 17″ with leopard. Any help would be apreciated!

  109. 112 Sergejs December 29, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Thank you very much for the tutorial, it works like a charm in Leopard.

  110. 113 wtfmoose64 December 30, 2007 at 12:52 am

    Thanks man! good stuff, and pleasantly presented!

  111. 114 earpick December 30, 2007 at 12:54 am

    Very welcome people. Glad this is of use. Clearly everyone’s got tons of FLACs lying around, all legal too :P

  112. 115 Todd December 31, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Wow… this worked… made my day. Happy New Year.

  113. 116 jose January 1, 2008 at 5:00 am

    tah for that — works great.

    as a refugee from oink, i just need somewhere to download some more flacs from!

  114. 117 Leftoff January 5, 2008 at 12:49 am

    very nice, intuitive instruction like the mac itself. Thank you…and flac indeed sounds twice as good as mp3…what’s the tech reasoning behind this, as I’m new to the format.

  115. 118 earpick January 5, 2008 at 1:20 am

    The twice as good thing is debatable, but the basic difference is that audio in FLAC format (or Apple Lossless) is kept.. well.. lossless (Free Lossless Audio Codec). Meaning, it sounds exactly like the CD or original media it was ripped from. Unlike an MP3 which uses audible [to some freaks like me] audio compression to bring the filesize down.

  116. 119 Solo500 January 5, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Thanks. I will chime in with the others and say that your instructions were concise, effective and amusing to boot.

  117. 120 earpick January 5, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Thanks! Now get ’em Flacs playin

  118. 121 markpith January 7, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Thanks, worked perfectly on my 10.5.1 machine.

  119. 122 V January 7, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Most excellent. Wasted an hour trying to figure this out before coming across your how-to. Great work man! If only all my problems could be solved this easily by someone else…

  120. 124 earpick January 8, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Errr.. Yeah, sure. As long as you don’t want an iPod, don’t care about what an app looks like, don’t edit tags, and generally don’t do things that people who listen to music do.

  121. 125 saktiitkas January 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    when i drag flacs onto set oggs the dialogue says failed for all files. what am i doing wrong?

  122. 126 earpick January 9, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    No idea. Tried different flacs?

  123. 127 Lofidelity January 10, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Thank you, I smell nicer now.

  124. 128 B January 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Go check out MAX!

    I created FLAC and OGG VORBIS files of imported Blossom Dearie French vinyls back in the day that I thought iPods would eventually play. Needless to say, Apple wants to keep that bizarre reliance on AAC… so no FLAC.

    MAX converted all the FLAC files in a batch without a blink.

    Plus I outputted the files to the superior (to iTunes) LAME VBR MP3s in the same breath for my iPhone where space is critical.

    And because it’s opensource it’s FREEEEEEE!

  125. 129 earpick January 10, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    LAME is still an MP3 codec which is lossy. The point of FLAC and Apple Lossless is to keep the quality of the file identical to that from a CD or whatever original source the audio came from.

    Also, LAME vs. AAC is a debate I won’t go into =). To my ears AAC sounds better. Purely on paper, it’s a more efficient codec as well, closer to OGG than it is to MP3.

  126. 130 JeffK January 13, 2008 at 2:59 am

    How do you import the FLAC’s using itunes so you can get the cd track names from bootlegs you download?

  127. 131 JeffK January 13, 2008 at 3:52 am

    I don’t mean cd tracks I mean the song titles. When I click in itunes to retrieve the song titles it states you must import using itunes

  128. 132 earpick January 13, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Oh those… You just might have to type em out.

  129. 133 stang January 14, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Hey, really appreciate your guide as it has allowed many people to listen to superior sound.
    However, I ran into a problem and would be grateful if you could shed some light.
    Everything has been working very smoothly for about a day or two and just today all my flac files have started to play without sound.
    I added new flac files and since then my flac audio have no sound in itunes and QT.
    How should i go about fixing this up?

  130. 134 some guy named jim January 16, 2008 at 1:43 am

    so if you want to listen to FLAC on your ipod you should use rockbox.

  131. 135 earpick January 16, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Assuming your iPod isn’t a Classic, a 3rd gen nano, a shuffle or a Touch that is.

    And if you don’t want to mess with firmware flushing, stick to converting to Apple Lossless. Besides it has no problems storing tags and accepts artwork unlike the FLACs. And who doesn’t like to play with CoverFlow!

  132. 136 daveJoyce January 18, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Hi man wonderful, Even I could follow your brilliantly easy instructions. Thanks very much.

  133. 137 briguy January 24, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Hi . . . I followed your instructions and all has worked fine on my powermac. Just couple of simple questions, after importing the flacs into i-tunes it lists it as a “quicktime movie” file? All other info like song name, artist, album, genre were there except for the track numbers (though in the original flac the files are labeled with the track number included). Could some flacs be tagged without the track #’s? Lastly, for kicks I converted in tunes the same songs to AAC and it kept all the information – this is normal yeah?


  134. 138 earpick January 24, 2008 at 1:04 am

    1 – yes, looks like the FLACs just weren’t tagged with a track number. It’s up to whom you get FLACs from. You can get them fully tagged or, more often, incompletely or even completely untagged.

    2 – Normal for it to keep all the info, yes. That’s actually the whole point of doing it this way – if you want to convert to any other format but FLAC you get to keep all the existing tags. Otherwise, with most conversion tools which convert to WAV or AIFF you loose the tags.

  135. 139 Zarilion January 24, 2008 at 4:51 am

    Thank you soo much! Amusing and great guide!

  136. 140 Usoppi January 24, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Hi, I add some explanations to this workaround for newbies. Earpick’s way is made of two ideas. That’s very popular among people that manage movie files on iTunes (indeed). So if you understand why this workaroud works like a charm, you can manage more files on iTunes.

    Idea One, adding QuickTime Component to play files by QuickTime. -> Step 1,2,4-6
    Idea Two, set filetype to what iTunes can accept. -> Step 3,7-8

    In this case, you add QT components to import & play FLAC files on QickTime (XiphQT and FLAC import), and set filetype “OggS” by Set OggS.

    Adding components to play many kinds of files is very clear and understandable idea, but why you have to “set filetype”? It is because iTunes uses Carbon API, it means iTunes know what file to accept by filetype (this is very Classic way…now iTunes know suffix as well). So if you change filetype that iTunes can accept and you have right QT components installed, iTunes can add your files and play like mp3 or AAC.

    You can do the same trick if you have movies that iTunes can’t play like DivX. If you have .divx file (from Stage6 or somewhere), you should install Perian (QT components for many movie codecs: freeware) and set filetype to “MooV”(QuickTime Movie), you can add DivX movies to iTunes and play it.

    So, for Step 3,7-8 (Set OggS), you can choose other applications that can change filetype like;
    FileBuddy (shareware)
    iLikeYouMore (freeware)
    and so on.

    Hope this explanation helps someone ;-)

  137. 141 earpick January 24, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Great explanation. And while I’m the type of guy who always needs to know why and how something works as opposed to just how to do it, a year of working at an Apple store taught me that most people just don’t wanna know. Which is pretty sad because it’s soooo fascinating (ok, maybe 2-3 ‘o’s less fascinating than that).
    But hey, life’s a bitch and then you die. So I didn’t bother. Thanks for explaining it to other nerds like us =).

  138. 142 Ray January 26, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Hi, many thanks for this idea; it worked perfectly. One problem: I took my converted .flac files and put them into playlists, but when I try to burn those playlists I get an error message that reads “There are no items to burn in this playlist. Add items to the playlist before burning. Check the checkboxes next to the items you wish to burn.” This is weird because there ARE files in the playlist, and they are checked. When I click on them I can listen to them, so I don’t know why iTunes won’t burn them. Any ideas?

    And thanks again for the suggestion.

  139. 143 earpick January 26, 2008 at 3:33 am

    I have a pretty good guess why, and the explanation lies in Usoppi’s comment – iTunes basically treats FLACs as movie clips without video. Hence they’re not really ‘songs’ to iTunes at all. The solution would be to convert to Apple Lossless or MP3 or something. I convert everything to AL anyhow but that’s just me cause I have an iPod and am generally an Apple whore.

  140. 144 Ray January 26, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Earpick;

    Thanks for the tip; I’ll give it a shot. And thanks again for this idea!

  141. 145 Ray January 26, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Earpick,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I converted my files to Apple lossless with no luck, and then MP3 with no luck. I get the same error message. Have you tried to burn these files at all? Any luck? Thanks…

  142. 146 earpick January 26, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I have to burn them yes. Once they’re Apple Lossless files they should burn fine. Hmmmm…

  143. 147 eric January 30, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for this! It worked like a charm.

  144. 149 David February 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Thank Very Much for this excellent “how to” works just like a bought one!! You Rock and so does itunes now..

  145. 150 earpick February 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    What do you mean, like a bought one? People are charging for stuff like this??! Terrible.

  146. 151 Clifford February 3, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Works fine for me apart from the artwork. The tab is not greyed out (as is lyrics) but dragging in artwork doesn’t appear. any ideas?

  147. 152 Clifford February 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Just to answer my own question. First, you must convert the Quicktime files to Apple Lossless to import artwork, secondly don’t forget (as I did), that if you are working in a playlist the Apple Lossless files will appear in your main library, not that playlist!

  148. 153 earpick February 4, 2008 at 3:05 am

    I mentioned it in the post – there are certain problems when playing FLACs through iTunes. Artwork is one of them. Converting to Apple Lossless solves the problem. Up to you though

  149. 154 SmirmLisseCiC February 7, 2008 at 3:39 am

    Nice site keep it up!


  150. 155 More praise, from Halifax this time... February 7, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    This just worked! I followed all your instructions– possibly, as mentioned by others above, the best instructions i have ever followed– And it worked! And it was easy! And I am listening to the sweet sound of bob dylan’s voice AS WE SPEAK. Type. And I have never patched anything before, or made any program work that didn’t work. I’ve tried once or twice, but never been successful. Seriously, I almost couldn’t believe it when everything worked perfectly and I realized that you’d just walked me though this very complicated procedure… and I wasn’t even confused. Also… the instructions were quite charming, on top of it all. Thanks SO much!

  151. 156 Joshua Bloom February 7, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    This is awesome! Works fine under leopard with iTunes 7.6

    Great instructions.
    Thanks again.

  152. 157 holly February 9, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I searched to try and figure this out and finally came to your great website. It worked perfectly without putting the components in ~/Library/Components because I didn’t have this folder. Now I have some .shn files. Is there a way to get these files in itunes or do I need to convert to wav first? Also, just curious but what is for? Thanks again!

  153. 158 Claus Conrad February 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Perfect, a great time saver. Thanks for finding this painless solution!!

  154. 159 Tester February 14, 2008 at 9:34 am

    I’m using MusicBoxTool ( fast and convenient…

  155. 160 JK February 15, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    thanks so much for this, life saver

  156. 161 Dave February 16, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks! Stupid apple and their lack of flac.. Now to go through the arduous task of re-titling all these tracks and adding artwork.

  157. 162 Andrew February 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I have my FLAC files organized in folders and subfolder based on artist name and album name. So far I’ve only been able to drag the actual .flac files onto OggS. Is it possible to drag the parent folder instead? I have thousands of folders, so it’s not practical to navigate through each one and drag the files therein.


  158. 163 Jeff February 20, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Philip Glass is making high-quality, repetitive minimalist couplets of joy in my ears, and it’s all thanks to you!

  159. 164 John February 26, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Many many thanks, so good! Faultless.

  160. 165 Chris Niles March 1, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Wow. Great tutorial, man. I really appreciate it.

    Just a few thoughts and clarifications. When installing Quicktime components, you do not need to restart. Just close any applications that might be using Quicktime before installing the components. Also, for all those who are having issues importing the .flac files into iTunes, I had to actually go to File<Import and select the .flac files. Dragging them onto the iTunes icon, trying to “Open With” iTunes, or dragging them into the iTunes source list or library didn’t work. But, I was able to select them all at once, so no biggie.

  161. 166 SOLAT319 March 3, 2008 at 4:58 am

    I followed your instructions and it worked for the first file. But when I tried it again, I got the “fail” message from Set Oggs. Have any idea why?

  162. 167 Mike March 7, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    I did everything EXACTLY as you said and it worked perfectly – thanks.

  163. 168 Jeremy Cherfas March 10, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you very much for this useful and foolproof guide.

  164. 169 Callipso March 12, 2008 at 10:46 am

    You may also try media converter TuneCab

  165. 170 Jeremy March 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    You’re awesome dude. Thanks. Worked perfectly.

  166. 171 Robert March 18, 2008 at 6:48 am


    everything went as you described, but once i got flac file into itunes, it played at low frequency and distorted (and very loud). then i realized problem. these flac files are at 88.2k/24 bit. converting to apple lossless just made a smaller distorted file.

    i had gotten these files from the linn website, where they sell various levels of file quality from their catalog of linn produced music.

    it seems some other conversion is necessary for high bit-sampled files. however, i appreciate the method of importing. thanks for your help and any suggestions.

  167. 172 steve March 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you so much helped me a lot!!

  168. 173 joshi March 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks! very helpful! you’re a real pro :)

  169. 174 Achim Voermanek March 21, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Hi all,

    I just put the three files recommended in this blog into one .dmg file and published it here:

    Achim Voermanek

  170. 175 earpick March 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Much appreciated Achim. I will update the post with a link since the links to the files described dying was one of my concerns in the long run. Kudos

  171. 176 Valery April 3, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks, this was very helpful. Eddie Bo and Miles Davis here I come.

  172. 177 HoratioDUKEz April 4, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I use Max as previously stated by someone….I converted my massive library of .flac to apple lossless!! Didn’t lose any tags!!! didn’t even lose album art!!!! If your interested Max can also convert to a crap load of other formats!

  173. 178 phidelity April 5, 2008 at 12:26 am

    The wit and humor made this walk through even more enjoyable.
    Now I can stop opening Traktor to play my flac files

  174. 179 mbnc April 7, 2008 at 1:32 am

    OK, how do I record LP albums (lot of them) to digital lossless format on a windows pc? I would like to store them on external hard drive, and buy an ipod (160 or 320 GB) to download onto in lossless format. I already have a USB turntable. Do I need a specific quality soundcard in my pc? What free program will convert wav to flac? And then, how do I convert flac to apple lossless on a pc (sorry not a mac)? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  175. 180 mbnc April 7, 2008 at 2:11 am

    I want to record all my LP albums to digital format. I want to store them in FLAC on an external hard drive. I have a USB turntable hooked up to my Dell PC. Do I need a specific sound card in the PC to do a reasonable job of converting analog to digital? Which program should I use to record to the PC (Audacity?). If the files are recorded as wav, how do I convert them to FLAC (what program converts wav to flac)? I would ultimately like to put the entire LP collection onto 160 GB (or 320 GB) ipod, so I will then need to convert from FLAC to apple lossless or mp4. Can anyone tell me exactly what free (hopefully) software I need to do all this? Thanks.

  176. 181 Bobby April 7, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for the info, turns out the Maz program mentioned above seems to be a much cleaner and flexible method, though. Downloaded quickly, worked flawlessly, highly recommended.

  177. 182 Bobby April 7, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    sorry, should be Max program.

  178. 183 earpick April 7, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    If you want to convert your FLACs, for sure. Not so much if you want to play them natively though.

  179. 184 leChameleon April 8, 2008 at 9:25 am

    The original objective to play FLAC files directly through iTunes without loosing any audio quality. This is the same intention of playing Apple’s Lossless files.

    I don’t see any information posted here as to the end quality of all these “conversions” from one format to another. Is any quality being lost? The workaround using the Ogg workaround through QuickTime seems like a lot of work with no proof that after all said and done no quality is lost.

    I don’t know why one wouldn’t just download and install FLAC Frontend and *decode* their FLAC files directly to WAV files then import the WAV files into Apple’s Lossless format. I can guarantee that that method works and does not loose any quality. I’ve even verified this using Adobe Audition 2.0.

    There is no real benefit of keeping the same file FLAC and some other format on one’s hdd.


  180. 185 leChameleon April 8, 2008 at 9:58 am

    ## mbnc April 7, 2008 at 1:32 am
    ## OK, how do I record LP albums (lot of them) to digital lossless
    ## format on a windows pc?

    mbnc, check out Hydrogenaudio Forums
    You’ll find very good information documented step by step on what’s required to transfer your vinyl LP’s using your PC/Mac/Linux/Unix machine to some audio file format of your choosing mp3, m4a, wav, etc…

    There is quite a bit to this and depending on your expectations of the end quality and what equipment and software you have will make all the difference.

    Good luck,

  181. 186 leChameleon April 8, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Here’s a quick user guide for some who desire to convert FLAC files to some other format to be played in iTunes (PC/Mac/Linu/Unix).

    1. Download and install the *FLAC Frontend* application from at a minimum for the hardware you’ll be using.

    2. Once installed invoke the FLAC Frontend application and add the FLAC files by clicking the Add Files button or dragging and dropping them into the main Files window.

    3. Press the Decode button to decode the FLAC files into WAV files. By default they will appear in the same folder/directory that the FLAC files originated.

    4. Invoke iTunes and select File -> Add Folder to Library then navigate and select the folder where the WAV files reside. Depending on your settings in iTunes this may or may not make another copy of the WAV files into the …/iTunes Music// folder. If so they can be removed later.

    5. In iTunes you should now see the WAV files residing in the Library under Music. They will not contain any naming at this point so I’d suggest you enter the correct meta data (file names, track names, etc…) at this time. Note: Do not attempt to add artwork to WAV files. You can add artwork to the other file format you’ll be converting the WAV files to one of the file formats supported by iTunes conversion. m4a and Apple Lossless are what I use (if you so choose as iTunes plays WAV files. They take up a considerable amount of hard disk space which is why everyone wants their music in other file formats).

    6. Select the WAV files and using iTunes convert them to the file format of your choice. Once converted you can add the artwork so the picture can be displayed in iTunes, your iPod, etc…

    7. If you prefer you can delete the WAV files after the conversion has been completed.

    After testing many file format converters this is proven to be the cleanest and most cost effective way we’ve found. Converting FLAC files using foobar and many other applications has proven to drop or distort the end result.

    For those who may be new at this another thing to remember is when you’re about to convert FLAC files to some other format. If your end goal is to store as many songs on your iPod then using Apple’s default conversion at 128kbps is OK. You will loose some audio quality but that’s part of the trade-off. If you want better quality then I’d recommend 192kbps or 320kbps however this will increase the file size. Lastly if you have the disk space and do not wish to loose any quality Apple’s Lossless format is the choice for you.

    Hope this helps some… More help on and other forums too.


  182. 187 earpick April 8, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    1 . Apple Lossless files are fully compliant with iTunes, ie. the artwork, all tags and problem-free playback on iPods and the Mac itself are guaranteed (I’m not sure about you people but when I try to play FLACs natively my Mac ‘thinks’ for a little bit before getting to playback – not so with ALossless).

    2. The file formats are lossless – yes, converting from lossless to lossless is lossless.

    3. The ultimate flaw of doing it the way you suggest is exactly why I wrote this guide – conversion from FLAC to WAV to MP3/lossless is tedious, time consuming, and all meta-data in the files is hopelessly lost. After sifting through dozens of albums and tagging them all by hand I decided there are other things I want to do in life. And besides, if you want to strictly convert and don’t care about playback, then Max, the conversion app mentioned here in the comments, is a much faster way of doing the same thing.

    If I have some time to kill outside of working and playing Railroad Tycoon I shall compare my Apple Lossless files to the original FLACs and see if they match

  183. 188 blutanium April 9, 2008 at 6:51 am

    you should do this for a living, you know teaching people little cracks like this… you could make a killing…

    thanks for the tips, this should be really usefull in the future..

  184. 189 robert April 10, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    tried your suggestions and could not get it to work. I am using a iMac with Leopard.

  185. 190 earpick April 10, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Works fine for everybody else… Work through the instructions again.

  186. 191 spawnrip April 13, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Thanx man! It worked from the start! This is the real shit! :)

  187. 192 tiscarabee April 14, 2008 at 8:06 am

    earpick… a big thank for this how-to, really clear and useful.
    Nothing’s better than itunes today, and i’m so worry about that…
    FLAC inside is a big gift who fludify my life… thank’s again :)

  188. 193 Matt April 15, 2008 at 6:52 am

    I followed everything perfectly. When I try to play the files in Quicktime they open but won’t play. I added the files to iTunes and they are in the Library. When i try to play them iTunes skips to the next song until it gets to another song. If I try to convert to Apple Lossless (or any other format) there is an error.

    What could I be missing?

  189. 194 Geira April 16, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Playing in iTunes works fine (except for some Ryan Adams tracks from that sould like a 45rpm single played on 33 1/3 – sound OK in VLC though). Unfortunately the metadata handling for FLAC files don’t work very well – whenever I try to change the title or track #, iTunes crashes with the following debug report:

    Thread 0 Crashed:
    0 org.xiph.xiph-qt.xiphqt 0x18a3ae0f FindPage + 271
    1 org.xiph.xiph-qt.xiphqt 0x18a41b90 find_last_page_GP + 71
    2 org.xiph.xiph-qt.xiphqt 0x18a3cd04 GetLastFileGP + 237
    3 org.xiph.xiph-qt.xiphqt 0x18a3e8ea OggImportDataRef + 468
    4 …ple.CoreServices.CarbonCore 0x90cd0c66 CallComponentFunctionCommon + 1048

    Sounds to me like a bug in the XIPH metadata handler, which means using iTunes to administer a FLAC collection without conversion is not very practical.

  190. 195 anna April 16, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    thanks so much! I followed the directions perfectly and can now here all my live concert files!

    And I wrote one heck of a nice note to iTunes trying to convince them that they need to allow FLAC formats. If they allow MP3, what’s so wrong with FLAC?

    And I’m working with the latest Leopard, so these tips still apply!

  191. 196 earpick April 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Ah yes. The comments box. I sent them a few emails as well. Would love to know if anybody actually reads them. I’ve given iTunes interface improvement suggestions in the past and they did address them so, never know.. FLAC is a fairly unpopular format however (let’s face it, those of us with live show recordings and downloaded CD rips aren’t exactly Apple’s target audience here) so the chances are about as high as them bundling OS X Lion with Firefox.

    Or Seamonkey (what kind of a frigging name is that??!!)

  192. 197 Tyler April 17, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    You can just use Open Source Firmware like Rockbox to play open source media codecs like flac and ogg on your media devices like an ipod.
    But you would probably have to use Linux to transfer the songs though I do not know how to do that in windows. I use Amarok to transfer the songs and Kaudiocreator for ripping the audio cds.

  193. 198 Li April 18, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Thank you, Thank you.

  194. 199 tat April 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks a lot for this article!
    worked just perfectly. You’re genius! :)

    Thank youuu!

  195. 200 Markus April 21, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Great! Thanks =) No I finally can enjoy my Hannah Montana songs in looseless quality in itunes^^

  196. 201 Kamadeca April 22, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Thanks so much for this, I just went through your detail steps, and everything worked as you said it would. Not bad for an old geazer.

    Keep up the good work.

    By the way do you have something to convert “ape” files?


  197. 202 earpick April 22, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Hey there old geazer =)

    I’m not yet aware of a native way to playback APE files but the converter app Max mentioned in a few comments here does the job quite well. Despite the extremely imaginative name, it’s a pretty nice piece of software, and will also convert FLACs if you choose to convert instead of playing natively. Give it a go, it’s fairly simple to use. Otherwise I can write a guide for it too hah.

  198. 203 lumpy April 23, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Hi Earpick, thanks for the write-up!

    I’ve been using MAX to do conversions straight from FLAC to Apple Lossless prior to importing the (newly).m4a files into iTunes. My basic method had been download live recording in FLAC; Tag files using “TAG”; convert to .m4a using MAX; import to iTunes (which auto-copies to a RAID setup).

    I’m curious to see if this way is quicker/easier – and also to see how the Logitech Squeezebox and software deal with these files…I’ll let you know.

    If I don’t have to convert the FLAC files to apple lossless at any point, I think you’ve really saved me some time!

  199. 204 earpick April 23, 2008 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for the responses people! Appreciate it. Glad 15 minutes of my time helped so many of you out.

  200. 205 lumpy April 23, 2008 at 6:17 am

    SO – because of iTunes inability to deal with these altered FLAC files (no track numbers carried over when importing; no ability to alter track names after import) – I’m back to my old plan: download > TAG > MAX > iTunes.

  201. 206 earpick April 23, 2008 at 6:19 am

    MAX is supposed to have a link to the MusicBrainz database. No idea how well that works but if it’s anything like iEatBrainz it’s totally useless.

  202. 207 janstadler April 25, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Huge amounts of Thanks for this crackplan to you from Prague, Czech Republic,for an audiophile like me, this is just the right pleasure, I am sooo happy right now…

  203. 208 janstadler April 25, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    … and i was thinking about saving time importing numbers of my FLAC files, so i created simple, but very useful automator workflow.

    1. copy the setoggs (snakeicon) file to your applications folder
    2. start this workflow
    3. wait for iTunes to convert the files
    4. play’n’enjoy

    unfotunately i don’t have any ftp or space on the net at the moment, anybody has some ideas how to share it?

  204. 209 SK April 25, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    i followed all the steps and when i drop the flac in to clear oggS i get the following “Resetting FSType on ‘/Users/seankelley/Desktop/01 Signs of life.flac’… done.”
    iTunes does nothing when i try to drag the file in or import it.
    running MAC OSX 10.4.11

    ANY HELP??

  205. 210 earpick April 25, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Looks like setOggS has done its job correctly. What version of iTunes? Also how are you importing the tracks into iTunes – by dragging the song onto the dock icon?

  206. 211 SK April 25, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    i tried dragging it on to the dock icon and dragging it in to my library

  207. 212 earpick April 25, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Assuming you tried other FLAC files, I’d say something went awry while following the steps in the guide. Make sure you did everything right.

    I’m gonna see if I can carve out time and come up with some sort of install script which installs all the components automatically.

  208. 213 SK April 25, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    OK teh file does play in Quicktime so i think i followed all the steps right up until getting it into iTunes. Thanks for your help!!!!

  209. 214 hiddemannetje April 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    thanks a bunch! followed your instructions and works great! your the best!

  210. 215 Money Ideas April 28, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Oh man, all this just to listen a couple of songs?!It sounds too complicated to me.

  211. 216 sean April 28, 2008 at 2:10 am

    OK I redid all the steps and did get all my files in to iTunes however they arent being transfered to my iPod. It is saying unsupported fiel type. Does anybody have a fix for this?

  212. 217 sean April 28, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Nevermind i figured it out. Had to convert to Applelossles after putting in to iTunes. Thanks this is a great post!!!!

  213. 218 craig April 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I use Max
    It converts flac to Apple lossless with all metadata and adds to iTunes library in one step. No hassle..

  214. 219 Courtney May 1, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    THANK YOU. really appreciate your help.

  215. 220 Andre Lucero May 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Wonderful! Listening to Christian Prommer’s Drumlesson Vol. 1 in all its FLACky glory! Thanks so much!

  216. 221 arlopickens May 2, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Flawless! Thanks for the great info!

  217. 222 Oliver Melton May 4, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Using Switch (for Mac) to convert audio files is really easy too.

  218. 223 Lucy May 6, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    what a coincidence, I wanted to play FLAC files containing The Beatles as well! Except I downloaded With the Beatles.

  219. 224 Alex° May 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks man, your tutorial was awesome. Works like a charm ;)
    I’ve got one question though related to similar stuff…Obviously you’re an audiophile, so I was wondering whether you might know what the heck to do in this case:

    most of my audio files are mp3 192kbs encoded. Till recently when I found some plugins to improve iTunes, like SRS iWow and Volume Logic, the playback quality was so dull, I didn’t even notice the discontinuity of the sound quality. After I installed them and heard how awful mp3 sounds, I instantly uninstalled them and decided to stay blind but happy :)
    And the problem is not the sound system for sure. I’m using a Multi-Channel AV-Receiver THX (Pioneer 1016) and proper speakers connected via optical cable to my MBP laptop.


  220. 225 trukadero May 8, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    @craig, @et al…

    Just used Max ( and similarly found it really easy. I do appreciate the work that went into creating the tutorial on this page though.


  221. 226 ben May 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Amazing tutorial! Thanks for the help.

  222. 227 earpick May 14, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Hey you guys. One of the commenters here sent me over an Automator script, and I got an idea of writing a small AppleScript which automates the entire process, with everything packaged into a single PKG file easy installation. Now I’m far from an AppleScript guru so give me time. But I have a more Mac-like solution for this coming up.

  223. 228 earpick May 15, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Ok you guys. Inspired by the ideas some of you have had and pleasantly surprised by how many people found this guide useful (and funny! wtf?!) I came up with Fluke:

    Just download and use it. Fluke basically combines all the steps outlined in the guide, and makes it all as easy as opening the FLACs with it. I went a little crazy and made sure it’s all super pretty but hopefully it was worth the game. Let me know what you think.

  224. 229 aj June 22, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructions. I can’t wait to try out Fluke, is there another site to download it from? The original link to the applescript is not working.

  225. 230 earpick June 23, 2008 at 5:33 am

    I’m in the process of moving the site to a new better server. Should be up by tomorrow!

  226. 231 Dionisio Aimore Coelho July 31, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Thanks a lot for the fine explanations!
    Now,I’m happy with iTunes, it’s almost complete!
    Best regards.

  227. 232 Smack August 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I can’t figure out step one. haha.

  228. 233 Erik September 7, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Great instructions, but Itunes still wont import and convert after step 8. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks


  229. 234 M$4LYFEKNEEYA October 30, 2008 at 1:56 am

    You know, if the MAC slogan “It just works” were so damn true, why is there a website called macfixit?

  230. 235 David B. October 31, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You should write instruction manuals. Best guide I’ve ever found.

  231. 236 koh November 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I tried out your tutorial way back and decided to visit again because I bought a new mac and helped me solve this flac deal again. Thanks!

    I noticed Fluke too but the link for it isn’t working for me; I’d love to give it a try…

  232. 237 Nic Miles November 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Rock and Roll matie, bloody excellent – cheers!

  233. 238 Joe November 16, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Thanks a lot for this info, man. You made it easy for a non-IT guy like me.

  234. 239 hi January 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    well keep it easy:
    here is all what you need to play FLACs, natively without touching the original at all. All is auto-drived !!!

    Just drag & drop your FLACs on this utility and from now on you can use them inside iTunes.

  235. 240 teddy z January 20, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    is it possible to ask fluke, or to include flukein a larger automator workflow, allowing an automatic, sequenced selection of flac files to be converted by fluke, rather than converting by selecting them one by one?
    thanks for the fantastic tool!

  236. 241 earpick January 20, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I was gonna add a folder adding mechanism next, but fluke can already pick up a bunch of a files. Just select all album’s songs and drag them onto Fluke. Tadaa

  237. 242 Geoff February 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Your software for allowing flac files to be imported into itunes on macbookpro worked really well. However, I still cannot transfer these files to my ipod. I read above that itunes converts the files to mp3 so they can be transferred but I cannot find how to do this.
    any help? thanks

  238. 243 cute June 13, 2009 at 8:17 am

    im using a rockbox for my apple ipod 3rd generation. i want to back the software to itunes. what will i do? tnx

  239. 244 Bashayer August 22, 2009 at 5:20 am

    you are the GOD of flacs ! hahaha thanks

  240. 245 Clive August 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    What is the point of Flac? Why encode in flac? The majority of the music listening world has ipods, Ipods don’t play flac so what is the point? Surely it’s just another file format obsacle that most people neither need nor want!

  241. 246 earpick August 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    That is a broad question and one that could get a lot of flaming started but to sum up:
    * the world could enjoy more open non-proprietary interchangeable formats. Apple goes out of business tomorrow – what are we to do with Apple Lossless then? Will it really stick around much after?
    * iPods are not meant for lossless music nor are iPods and iTunes the only target device and player. Let me go play that Apple Lossless album on my Zune or in Windows Media Player. Oh wait, I can’t.
    * Nobody’s forcing you to use FLAC. Unless, of course, what your *real* issue here is the fact that you don’t want to pay for CDs and prefer torrenting (i.e. stealing) music but now you’re frustrated that all those lossless releases out there don’t play too well in iTunes.

  242. 247 Jill September 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks so much for these instructions! I usually buy all my tunes, but one album wasn’t available in Canada (Gorillaz Gorillaz) so I ended up getting flac files instead…glad I can actually listen to them now.

  243. 248 Marcus September 17, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Hello, I’ve done all this on OS X 10.6.1 and It works up till the point where I have to drag the files onto the Set OggS. I get this error:

    Setting ‘OggS’ FSType on ‘/Users/User/Desktop/Filepath’… failed. (?!)

    (I have replace my username and filepath)

    I did manage to drag one of the albums into iTunes, but the rest won’t work. Seems very strange to me as they’re all ripped in the same way.

  244. 249 Marcus September 17, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Oh wow, I managed to do a really strange fix. I downloaded an app called Fluke, that’s and apple script that imports .flac files into iTunes, and I get errors when importing. But after trying to import I can drag them into itunes :D

    Thank you for this tutorial!

  245. 250 kz September 22, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Thanks so much for those tips!! Working like a charm

  246. 251 Matt J October 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I have a Vista Pro Sony laptop and just got a Sony VGP-XL1b 200 disc cd changer to rip my cds. My hard drive broke and I lost all my music so I got the changer to re rip my 500+ CDs.
    My question is how should I rip them if I want to have a lossless version to archive and maybe hook into a very good stereo and also a version that will play on a PS3 and a version that would sound best on an Ipod/Iphone? FLAC, WAV and Mp3? Thanks. I have spent days researching this and have not found the answer. It amazes me that with the billions of internet users this question has not been answered before and that it is so complicated in the first place.

  247. 252 YORA November 26, 2009 at 6:33 am




    ITS SO EFFIN CRYPTIC – when it doesn’t need to be !


  248. 253 adrienne February 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    that’s a cool application, fluke, I just can’t get it to work yet. I click “open with fluke”, then “yes I want to import to itunes”, then a screen with something with “oggs” and “fail” pops up and disappears quickly again. itunes does open but no flacs there…
    do you know what’s going wrong?
    I’m using a brand new macbook pro.
    THANKS! adrienne

  249. 254 derived February 25, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I don’t know what’s up with the images again..

    This site is dead now, guys. Try instead. There you should be able to find the latest 0.2.5 beta.

  250. 255 mediafire search March 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

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  251. 256 Aren April 6, 2010 at 2:12 am

    hey, I am using a mac with newest version of itunes. I have some .flac files and used fluke but It didn’t work. It says are you sure you want to import to itunes, i say yes, i see the text fly by, then it switches windows automatically to itunes… but nothing gets imported??? Waaazzzzuuuup?


  252. 257 Amin April 27, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Thank you! This is awesome!

  253. 258 NeverSeeYourFaceAgain May 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Thanks SO much for your amazing program, but can you add the function of adding album covers on itunes too? :( pleaseeeeee

  254. 259 Rukishou July 8, 2010 at 9:26 am

    You say it won’t work for Winamp, but could it still work with iTunes on Windows – or is it completely unusable on Windows? :(

  255. 260 earpick July 8, 2010 at 10:05 am

    The latter, I’m afraid.

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  257. 262 Jack November 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I’m getting an error, script error. not working with 10.6.4 & iTunes 10.0.1 or what?

  258. 263 Janise Colin February 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I am glad that I observed this website , just the right information that I was looking for! .

  259. 264 healthybaby October 31, 2011 at 4:56 am

    In order to import FLAC to iTunes, import FLAC to iTunes 10.4.1, iTunes Match, and stream FLAC to iCloud, a recommended solution is to convert FLAC to Apple friendly audio formats so that you can play FLAC with iTunes, iPad, iPhone and iPod, etc.

    If you care the quality of the output audio, converting FLAC to Apple Lossless audio is recommended. You can visit this guide for converting FLAC to Apple Lossless then import FLAC to iTunes for enjoy or for sync.

    If you do not care about the quality of the music, you can convert FLAC to MP3, a versatile audio format across system and devices then import the converted FLAC files to iTunes.

    Step by Step Guide on How to Convert FLAC to Import FLAC to iTunes at

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    Step-by-Step guide on how to convert FLAC to MP3, WAV, AAC or Apple Lossless ALAC for play FLAC with iTunes:

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