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A format that's recently gotten a lot of attention is lossless FLAC format, which stands for free lossless audio codec. It works somewhat the same as the standard MP3 file, only it's lossless like a Zip file and is designed specifically for audio. Unlike other lossless codecs by DTS and Dolby, FLAC is non-proprietary. It is unencumbered by patents and has open-source implementation. What's more, FLAC has been adopted as a release format of choice by some of the world's biggest recording artists from Pearl Jam to Nine Inch Nails to the Eagles and even reissues from the Beatles.
FLAC supports a Bit Depth from 4 to 32 and up to 8 channels, and even though it can support any sampling rate from 1 Hz to 655,350, you don't need to specify Bit Rate, because it automatically determines it from the source file. Plus it has Cue sheet metadata block for storing CD table of contents, track, and index points. It's an excellent way to deliver the highest fidelity music file with a reasonably small file size, but it's not yet supported by all applications or players.
Although many digital audio workstations don't have a FLAC encoder built-in, there are number of players and encoders that can be downloaded for free, as well as a QuickTime Playback component and iTunes scripts.
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