Lossless audio just sounds better. You can't escape that and once you've tried it then it's impossible to go back. If you're using a service like Tidal, you'll already have an app to use to listen to those sweet, high-fidelity sounds.
If you're making your own or buying FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) downloads from an online store, you'll need something to listen to them in. Here are our favorites.
Did you know that the built-in Groove Music app can play FLAC files? Until recently, I didn't. The very fact it's there in every install of Windows 10 means it's an excellent, free way to listen to your tracks.
It looks fantastic, is very easy to use and has minimal fluff. For those not using the Groove Music Pass, it'd be nice to have it detach from that entirely, but you do get the option to store your compressed music in OneDrive and stream it to your devices that way.
Groove has come along way since the early days. It's now an excellent music player that can handle more than just heavily compressed songs.
If a format exists, the likelihood is that VLC will play it. This is very much the Swiss Army Knife of media players; It can do everything.
VLC also comes in two flavors for Windows. There's the Windows 10 Store version which is built for phones, PCs, tablets and Xbox One, and there's the old-school desktop app if you'd prefer. VLC goes beyond just digital files and also allows for streaming and media conversion.
While Foobar2000 was pushing forwards with a Windows Store app to complement its existing Win32 offering, that project seems to have stalled thanks to low user count. The 'proper' app is still very much alive and kicking and is both powerful and customizable.
When you set it up you can tweak the interface to be just to your liking, and besides FLAC it'll play a whole host of other formats. It's also got a built in transcoder, support for full Unicode, tags, and gapless playback. That last one alone is reason enough to give it a try.
Windows Media Player 12
The old warhorse is still kicking along and it's also included with Windows 10 if you fancy something a little different to Groove. Compared to the new hotness, Windows Media Player does look a little dated, but it's been around long enough now that familiarity alone might be reason to stick with it.
To listen to FLAC in Windows Media Player you may need to install a codec, but other than that it's another free, built-in player that's worth consideration.
Light Media Player
Light Media Player is a Store only app and it's a very good music player for all your different formats. It is $5, making it the only paid app here, but it's impossible not to fall in love with its modern look that fits perfectly within the new Windows 10 design language.
Besides managing your library and looking glorious, Light Media Player also offers gapless playback and support for synchronized lyrics. You know, in case you want to sing along!
Those are some of the apps we like for listening to our lossless audio files, but if you've got an alternative you're particularly passionate about be sure to share it in the comments below!
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