Music entertainment has been continuously evolving in the recent years. As the audio encoding technology keeps developing, the MP3 format is not enough for people who want to have ultimate music enjoyment. To get a better audio playback performance, more and more people would choose the FLAC format for their music and audio files. However, although the FLAC format can provide us a better audio quality, the compatibility of the format has always been a problem for users. So in today’s article, we will take a look at some of the best music players with FLAC support in 2023.

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Part 1: Best Music Players with FLAC Support

SanDisk Clip Sport Series

If you want to have a well-designed, light-weighted and sound-quality-oriented music player, then the SanDisk Clip Sport Series might be a good option for you. SanDisk is an American manufacturer of flash memory products, including memory cards and readers, USB flash drives, and solid-state drives. It was established in 1988 and added the native FLAC support to their MP3 player as early as in 2009. SanDisk Clip Sport currently has 4GB and 8GB capacity available and with up to 5 color options as well. And the most important, with FLAC support and other audio formats like MP3, WMA (NO DRM), AAC, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and Audible (DRM only). Price starts from $39.99 for 4GB model. SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is the advanced version of SanDisk Clip Sport and with the max capacity up to 16GB plus FLAC support as well as other audio formats mentioned above.

Selling Points:

Multiple colors available
Great storage ability by the SanDisk’s technology
Various capacity options

Cowon PLENUE 2 and Cowon PLENUE M2 from JetAudio

JetAudio provides great FLAC portable player twins just like SanDisk. Cowon PLENUE 2 and Cowon PLENUE M2 provide high definition sound quality and evolution beyond your imagination. These are high-everything FLAC portable players with 24bit/192kHz high definition sound, highest performance Burr-Brown PCM1795DAC, high performance amplifier and high speed 128GB internal memory. Not mention the powerful support of FLAC and other popular audio formats like DXD/DSD(DFF, DSF), FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, APE, MP3, WMA, OGG, WV,TTA, DCF etc. COWON Plenue M2 32GB Black currently is selling for $134.99. Price is obviously higher than SanDisk but with bigger and better screen, bigger capacity, excellent FLAC support and industry-like outfit design.

Selling Points:

High audio definition support
Multiple high-quality audio formats support
Big capacity up to 128GB available.

Onkyo DP-X1A

Onkyo DP-X1A is a powerful portable music player with a variety of audio formats support. The player is built with a full version of Android 5.1, and has complete support for features like Wi-Fi connectivity and the Google Play Store. Onkyo DP-X1A has two audio ports – one headphone jack and one balanced output for those interested in a cleaner and overall better-quality sound. Additionally, the device has an easy-to-use volume wheel, as well as physical playback buttons and two microSD card slots for those with a sizable collection of music. Overall, the Onkyo is a great and professional choice for all of your high-quality FLAC music files.

Selling Points:

Professional design with a convenient volume wheel
Two microSD card slots
Easy-to-use Android operating system

iPod Touch

iPod Touch is definitely the go-to option for Apple users. As a member in the iOS ecosystem, iPod Touch can cooperate perfectly with your other Apple devices like iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. With the ability to store up to 128 gigabytes of your favorite tunes, plus smartphone-like functionality including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and access to the Apple App Store, there is no better iPod for casual listeners and those who don’t want to carry a smartphone or drain its battery. Although iPod Touch is designed for casual listeners and doesn’t provide many advanced audios playback support, the device is still recommended for your FLAC audio files as it’s smart, easy-to-use and light-weighted.

Selling Points:

User-friendly iOS operating system
Great entertainment extendibility
Great portability

Sony NW-A45 Walkman

As a professional music player, Sony NW-A45 Walkman is packed with 16GB of built-in storage and a slick touchscreen UI. The product comes in multiple colors that will definitely suit your taste. For audiophiles, the NW-A45 supports Hi-Res playback, plus DSEE H can help restore lossy files back to a near lossless state. What’s more, Sony's Walkman also comes with an S-Master HX digital amp that's powerful enough to drive some relatively high-impedance headphones. With the powerful audio decoding ability, the Sony NW-A45 starts at around $149, which is reasonable for high-end portable FLAC audio player devices.

Selling Points:

Outstanding user interface
Powerful HX digital amp
Expandable memory card slot

Part 2: Free Flac Player Software

Although the portable FLAC player devices introduced above can player your FLAC audio files quite efficiently, they also have their own unique drawbacks. Some of them are too expensive, others are not powerful in certain functions. So in addition to the players in the above, there is one more product that can play all FLAC audio files perfectly for free: Leawo Blu-ray Player.

As one of the best media players that works on both Windows and Mac operating system, Leawo Blu-ray Player is the first choice for a lot of professional users to play FLAC files as well as more than 180+ other audio and video files because with the powerful decoding technology. The 100% free media player can play almost every digital video format. In addition, the player application can also play Blu-ray/DVD across region, and open all kinds of DVD materials in form of disc, ISO image or folder. In the premium version of Leawo Blu-ray Player, you can even convert your Blu-ray or DVD to a lossless digital MKV video, which is very convenient for Blu-ray or DVD lovers.

In terms of the audio playback ability, Leawo Blu-ray Player supports not only the MP3 and FLAC format, but also most of the popular high-quality audio formats like AAC, AC3, APE, DTS, M4A, MID, MKA, MP2, MPA, OGG and many more. The audio playback quality that Leawo Blu-ray Player can provide is also excellent. Here are the main features you can expect from this free media player application.

Why to Choose Leawo Blu-ray Player

Perfect playback for high quality media files
User-oriented playback control
Stereo Audio Enjoyment
Complete Dolby, DTS, AAC, TrueHD, DTS-HD (including 5.1, 7.1 channels) support
Full lossless-format support

Part 3: FLAC Introduction and FLAC&MP3 Comparison

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, as what it indicates, lossless is the most important feature of FLAC. FLAC file is a file which contains audio samples compressed with the FLAC audio encoding algorithm, which is a very good, open-source, lossless, audio codec.

As one of the popular and lossless audio formats, FLAC is always used to compare with another very common audio format in use, which is MP3. So, let’s have a closer look at these two audio formats from different aspects.

The biggest difference: FLAC is lossless while MP3 is lossy. Lossless audio formats keep all the audio quality of the original source while lossy one compresses the files for space savings; therefore, the sound quality will be slightly affected in this case.

Since FLAC is lossless as mentioned above, which keeps all the audio quality of the original source and makes FLAC the ideal audio format to store your music in lossless style. On the contrary, MP3 is a lossy but common audio format around. It’s well-supported by a lot of music download sites and portable devices, MP3 is definitely No.1 for the audiences if people are talking about the music thing.

Bonus: How to Play FLAC Music on My Phone

Besides playing the FLAC music with a professional music player or with a free player application on PC, there are still a lot of people would love to have a third option, which is to play the music on their smartphones. However, not all smart phones can directly play FLAC music. In order to make your FLAC music playable on your phone, you need to either install a player app that is compatible with the FLAC format, or convert the FLAC audio file to MP3 before transferring it to your phone.

You can find some FLAC compatible music player apps on both Android and iOS operating system. For Android users, you can try PowerAmp Player, which has a pretty good user interface, VLC for Android which is famous for its decoding ability, or many other options. For iOS users, the options are kind of limited. As far as I know of, VOX Music Player is one of the few that works.

If you don’t want to take time to find a proper app, or you are not willing to pay for a decent FLAC player app, converting FLAC to MP3 in advance is also a good choice. There are may great audio converter applications like Leawo Video Converter on both Windows and Mac system. By converting your FLAC audio file to MP3, you should be able to play it on your phone without any problem.