FLAC Players for Mac: Top 8 in 2023

When searching for the best music player for Mac, you should consider one that supports FLAC files. Your Mac is most accustomed to playing audio in file formats like MP3 and M4A, but FLAC files are also popular. FLAC is a lossless format; this means that files in this format will never lose their quality, making it a popular and safe way to store audio. Since iTunes is not a FLAC player for your Mac, here are the 8 best Mac FLAC players for all of your audio needs.

Finding the Best FLAC Player for Mac

Option 1: Elmedia Player

There are a lot of media player options available to consumers, but Elmedia Player is the best music player for Mac users. Aside from being a strong pick for a video player, Elmedia is a true multimedia player as well, having codecs that allow it to play virtually any types of audio formats. Included in this pool is FLAC, which benefits strongly from being listened to through a player which supports higher-quality audio than your default iPhone or Mac player; Elmedia more than includes this support.

Elmedia Player

As far as its interface goes, Elmedia offers strong ease of use and basic options like playlist creation, song playback speed, and an equalizer to adjust the specific qualities of your songs within the app without changing the song files themselves. Streaming options are also included, allowing you to send your music to the nearest AirPlay device. The combination of these factors make Elmedia Player both the best FLAC player for Mac and a great choice for a multimedia player for all of your video and audio playback needs.

Pros:
  • High-quality playback for virtually any audio format
  • Doubles as a multimedia player
  • Available for download from your Mac’s App Store
Cons:
  • Some minor ads are present in the free version when starting it up
Price:
  • Free
  • $19.95 (ad-free)
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)

Option 2: VOX

VOX is a Mac FLAC player that serves as a worthwhile iTunes alternative. While VOX can play a variety of different audio formats, including more common ones like MP3 and M4A, its true purpose is to play high-fidelity audio at a rate of up to four times better quality than the industry standard. VOX also supports 5.1 multichannel audio playback so that you can use it with a sound system for increased benefits if desired.

VOX

In VOX’s interface, you’ll find a small but powerful number of options, ranging from ones you’d expect to the ability to search and play SoundCloud and YouTube music. VOX also supports syncing your iTunes library, making it a strong alternative to Apple’s native audio player.

Pros:
  • High-quality audio playback
  • iPhone app
Cons:
  • Sparse interface with small graphics
Price:
  • Free
  • $4.99 per month for VOX Premium subscription
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)
  • iOS

Option 3: VLC

VLC Media Player is perhaps best-known for its video-playing capacity, but it doubles as a music player that can support almost any music file–including the FLAC format. Using VLC as a music player yields standard options, such as playlist-building and the usual navigational controls. Users will also find a dedicated media folder into which they can deposit the files they want to play with VLC in order to access these files from within VLC’s playlist tab itself.

VLC

While VLC has a fairly earned reputation for taking up more memory and battery life than other multimedia players, its built-in codecs and high audio quality mean that it will serve your purposes as a music player.

Pros:
  • Doubles as a multimedia player
  • Can play most audio formats
Cons:
  • Eats up a lot of memory and battery power while running
  • Settings can be confusing to navigate
Price:
  • Free
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)
  • Windows

Option 4: Colibri

Colibri is a paid audio player for Mac users that boasts native lossless playback for the audio files on your Mac. Colibri is a paid app, but it’s downloadable from the App Store, making it a credible purchase. Part of the reason it doesn’t have a free version is because of the swath of creative options the app gives you–including things like MIDI support and thematic customization–though some of these options may be overwhelming for more casual listeners.

Colibri

While Colibri runs in a fairly lightweight capacity, it also allows you to tweak the volume of RAM in use to meet your Mac’s needs. While this FLAC player for Mac isn’t the best one available for the average user, advanced consumers will net their money’s worth.

Pros:
  • Clean interface that doesn’t use much energy
Cons:
  • No free version
Price:
  • $9.99
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)

Option 5: 5KPlayer

5KPlayer is another multimedia player that can support FLAC files, boasting “perfect” music quality for its small range of supported audio formats. In addition to playing FLAC files automatically upon installation, 5KPlayer also hosts a dedicated media folder from which you can select the music of your choice.

5KPlayer

Switching to the main player window shows the album art and a few basic controls, though 5KPlayer’s interface is dated and often drains battery faster than is ideal. You can also stream music from YouTube within the 5KPlayer window, and music in the player can be streamed to compatible devices via AirPlay or DLNA.

Pros:
  • Multimedia player functionality
  • Plays a few different audio formats aside from FLAC
Cons:
  • Takes up a lot of memory while running
  • Overall limited in the number of audio formats it can play in comparison to other apps on this list
Price:
  • Free
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)
  • Windows

Option 6: Pine Player

Pine Player is an audio-only FLAC music player Mac users will appreciate. While Pine Player does play FLAC files without needing additional codecs, it also boasts a feature that “upconverts” MP3 files so that even your lossy file types experience better audio quality. As a result, your FLAC files will play smoothly and with a high degree of fidelity.

Pine Player

In Pine Player’s window, users can select from a wide array of playback options, including a fully realized equalizer. The detailed and small-text interface may scare off some audiophiles, but Pine Player is a decent FLAC Mac player that won’t take up too much memory while playing all of the files from your iTunes library.

Pros:
  • Available for download from your Mac’s App Store
  • Lightweight use makes Pine Player easy to run, even on low-power mode
Cons:
  • Interface is small and can be confusing
Price:
  • Free
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)

Option 7: Audirvana

Audirvana offers an enhanced listening experience for people who are interested in experiencing their music libraries at the highest possible quality, albeit for a steep price. FLAC files are often associated with live recordings from bands and higher-quality studio edits, making them a perfect fit for Audirvana’s theme. Audirvana also partners with radio, podcast, and music hosts to add to your existing library at the same high quality.

Audirvana

This experience designed by and for audiophiles has a free trial, but the full version after the time limit ends is expensive, making it less appealing than other options on this list for anyone who isn’t professionally interested in music.

Pros:
  • Music library synchronization across platforms
Cons:
  • Requires either a costly one-time use fee or a subscription to use
  • Requires the user to synchronize a music library rather than simply double-clicking or clicking and dragging music
Price:
  • $119 (one-time purchase)
  • $6.99 (monthly subscription); $69.99 (annual subscription)
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)
  • Windows

Option 8: IINA Player

IINA is, among other things, a music player for Mac that plays FLAC files. This multimedia player closely resembles your Mac’s native QuickTime app, albeit redesigned for a better user experience and more options for playback. Since IINA supports nearly every conceivable audio format, you should have no problem adding your FLAC library.

IINA

IINA’s main draw is its use of native Mac settings, including the light or dark theme to which your system defaults. It also makes full use of the Touch Bar if your Mac has one. Additionally, IINA’s music controls disappear if your mouse isn’t actively touching them, making its presentation very clean and minimal. Unfortunately, sometimes IINA’s controls aren’t visible if the player window is too small–something that can happen by default.

Pros:
  • Open-source and always free
  • Plays almost any type of audio in addition to FLAC
Cons:
  • Multimedia function can drain battery quicker than other apps on this list
  • Some UI elements disappear unless your player window is large enough
Price:
  • Free
Supported OS:
  • macOS (including Ventura)

Which Audio Format is Better to Choose?

The FLAC format exists purely to ensure that the music you listen to remains high-quality regardless of the passage of time or other factors; this means that their overall quality ceiling will be higher than that of a lossy format, like an MP3 or an M4A–both of which are common file types found in iTunes libraries. For this reason, FLAC files are best listened to through a media player that can take advantage of their quality range.

Because FLAC files are so much higher quality than MP3s or similar formats, they also take up more space on your Mac’s hard drive, with some FLAC files occupying more than five times the amount of room as an MP3 or M4A of the same song. This usually isn’t a deal-breaker for people, but if hard drive space is tight, you’re better off sticking to smaller files.

Apple also has their own lossless file format, ALAC. If you’re attached to your audio library as it is and you want to continue using iTunes as your media player, converting your files to ALAC instead of leaving them as M4A files will allow you to experience that higher audio quality and lossless perks without switching players.

Conclusion

FLAC files are a crowd favorite for a reason: Despite taking up significantly more computer memory than other common file formats, they retain audio quality on a level untouched by standard MP3 or M4A files on your Mac. As you can see, there are many media players that you can use to play your library of FLAC files in a variety of settings. Any one of the options on this list will serve you well for the future, though we prefer Elmedia Player for its flexibility and ease of use as the best FLAC player Mac users can experience.

FAQ

QuickTime can play FLAC files. However, although QuickTime is one of the best video players for Mac, its interface is limited, and attempting to open more than one FLAC file at a time will simply open multiple QuickTime windows. This is why we recommend a more user-friendly player like Elmedia.
Unfortunately, iTunes is incapable of playing FLAC files on your Mac. While you can convert a FLAC file to a different file format–MP3, M4A, or even Apple’s own lossless format, ALAC–to play it in iTunes, you won’t be able to use them with Apple’s default audio player without doing so.
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