Overview of Devices with Manufacturer Support for Lossless AudioDec 27, 2009 Mark W. Kidd
Whether you are interested in FLAC (Free Losless Audio Codec) because it is open-source and unencumbered by software patents or because it offers total fidelity to the original recording, finding portable players which support the FLAC format can be tricky.
Unfortunately, Apple's iPods can only play FLAC media with the aid of third-party firmware which can be a steep learning curve and may jeopardize your warranty. If you already own an iPod and are interested in adding FLAC playback, check at rockbox.org to see if your model is supported and to learn more about the process of flashing third-party firmware on your iPod.
The good news for consumers in the market for a new portable audio player is that several manufacturers are heeding the growing interest in lossless audio playback, giving consumers choices at a variety of price points.
Three units in particular, SanDisk's Sansa Fuze, Samsung's P3, and JetAudio's Cowon S9, are certainly worth the attention of the music enthusiast. There are other units out there which can play FLAC media -- and more are coming onto the market all the time -- but these three have established themselves early on as providing a satisfactory user experience in addition to a commitment to lossless audio.