FLAC studio-grade audio files to be supported by Windows 10

HP Elitebook 2560p playing through Naim DAC-V1 USB DAC

Windows 10 could allow this HP laptop and Naim USB DAC to handle FLAC files without extra software

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Windows 10 will play your .MKV and .FLAC files all on its own | Engadget

My Comments

As I have observed through the previous Australian Audio And AV Shows, there is increased interest in high-resolution file-based audio. Here, these studio-grade recordings or remasters of classic albums from the studio master tapes are being offered as a “download-to-own” digital audio option along with the regular CDs and MP3 files.

These files would be enjoyed either through a DLNA setup involving a network media player that can handle these files or a regular computer connected to a USB DAC (essentially a USB sound module) connected to the amplifier. But the latter scenario would typically require the use of add-on software and codecs to realise the FLAC audio files for the onboard or external digital-analogue conversion devices to turn in to amplifiable audio signals.

As part of many improvements to the operating system, Microsoft is integrating into Windows 10 the necessary software to decode these high-grade digital files. This is to avoid running a third-party codec pack that may be unstable or be part of a hasty download. Instead it is software that is effectively tuned to run with the operating system and play well with Windows Media Player.

Auralic Taurus control amplifier connected to Auralic Vega DAC

Auralic USB DAC – no extra software or codecs needed to handle FLAC files from Windows 10 onwards

For audio software developers who write for Windows, there isn’t a need to “reinvent the wheel” when catering to this high-quality codec for “download-to-own” digital audio. As well, it is an attempt to make the FLAC file become the “new MP3” file for distributing file-based audio content.

Personally, I would also like to see Microsoft write the necessary codec software to allow the creation of these files so as to take some work off the hands of anyone who is creating digital-audio-workstation software for Windows. It could increase the ability for Windows to become a highly-capable multimedia creation workhorse that is on a par or better than Apple.

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