How to burn an audio CD from .flac files in Windows

by Ross McKillop on September 26, 2006

Windows

This tutorial will take you step-by-step through burning (recording) audio CD’s from .flac files, in Windows..

You have quite a few choices when it comes to creating audio CD’s from flac files. You can pay for a program like Nero, which is a feature-rich CD/DVD burning utility, or you can use CDBurnerXP Pro, which is a freeware CD/DVD burning utility. What’s the catch, you ask? With Nero you can do it all in one step – with CDBurner XP Pro you have to do it in two steps. Either way – it’s all outlined below.

The free route:

Step 1. Download and install Winamp, the Flac with library support plug-in for Winamp, and CDBurnerXP Pro. Each installation is very straight forward (you’ll mostly click Next a bunch of times)
Step 2. Decoding .flac files with Winamp
Step 3. Creating an audio CD with CDBurner XP Pro

The I-paid-for-Nero route:

How to burn flac files straight to audio CDs using Nero


Decoding .flac files with Winamp

  1. Open Winamp and select Options and then Preferences… (note: if you’re using the “classic version” skin, open the Winamp Preferences by clicking the Control and p keys on your keyboard)
  2. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  3. Select Output from the Plug-ins section of the left window, and then select Nullsoft Disk Writer. Click Configure.
  4. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  5. Click the Directory: button so you can choose a location to save the .wav files
  6. setting up winamp

  7. Navigate to the folder you want to save the .wav files in. I usually save them in the same folder as the .flac files.
  8. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  9. Click OK to return to the Preferences window, and then Close to return to Winamp. Now select File -> Play file… and navigate to the folder with your .flac files. Select all of the .flac files by single-clicking the first file, holding down the Shift key on your keyboard, and then single-clicking the last file. When all of the files are selected, click Open
  10. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

  11. Press the Play button. Winamp will now decode the .flac files and turn them into .wav files. It typically takes about 20 seconds to convert a 5 minute song, but this depends on how “fast” your PC is.

    Once Winamp is done decoding the files, make sure to set the Plug-ins -> Output back to DirectSound output, or the next time you try to play a file using Winamp, it will decode that file instead.

    Check to make sure all of the .wav files were created.

  12. setting up winamp
    Click to enlarge

Creating an audio CD with CDBurner XP Pro

Now you’ll use the .wav files you created in the above steps to burn an audio CD.

  1. Open CDBurner XP Pro and select Click here to… Create a new Audio-CD … from the menu

  2. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro
    click to enlarge

  3. Make sure that your CD (or DVD) Recordable drive is selected
  4. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro

  5. Use the left column to navigate to the folder that contains all of the .wav files
  6. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro

  7. Select each of the .wav files from the right column (hold down the Control key to select multiple files) and then click Add
  8. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro

  9. If you’re recording a concert, you’ll probably want to create a ‘gapless’ CD (no pauses between tracks). Click the small arrow next to Burn and choose Burn and let me choose settings. If you do want a two second pause between each track, just click the Burn button

  10. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro
    click to enlarge

  11. This step is only required if you want to create a gapless CD. Select Disc At Once and then click Write disc

  12. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro
    click to enlarge

  13. That’s it – you’re done. After the CD has burned, give it a listen and if you’re happy, you can delete the .wav files. Happy burning!

How to burn flac files straight to audio CDs using Nero

Depending on your version of Nero, you may already be able to burn .flac files straight to an audio CD. Open Nero and create a New Audio CD. Drag the .flac files directly into Nero the same way you would with .wav or .mp3 files. If Nero doesn’t report any errors, you should be able to click Burn and create the CD.

If Nero does report an error, you need to download and install the Nero Mega Plugin Pack (which is free). After it’s installed, try dragging the flac files directly into Nero again and this time you shouldn’t get any errors.

To create a gapless (no pauses between tracks) CD with Nero, follow these steps:

  1. After you drag the audio files into Nero, right click on any of them and select Compilation Properties

  2. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro
    click to enlarge

  3. Choose the Audio CD tab, and then place a check in the box labeled No pause between tracks. Click OK

  4. create an audio cd with cdburner xp pro
    click to enlarge

  5. Make sure that the Pause is set to 0:00:00 in the track listing. The very first track must have a 2 second pause, so don’t worry about that one.
  6. burn flac to audio with nero gapless

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  • Alan

    If you are going to go down the free route, get it over and done with with one freeware program:
    Burnatonce
    Supports FLAC Audio CD burning out of the box. It is all you need.

  • http://www.simplehelp.net Ross

    Alan,

    Man you’re going to make me re-write this whole thing :)

    That software looks great – I’ll give it a try in the next few days. Thanks!

    Ross

  • http://www.tabon.info Ben

    Great tutorial. Thank you.

  • hotemetoot

    It might be a lot easyer to use Burrrn, also freeware and it burns flac in a one step program.
    Best choice I know.
    Or use EAC if there are non compliant wavsheets included with the flac tracks, but than you have to decode flac to wav before burning.

  • Michelle

    Thank you for the tutorial. It was very easy to understand.

  • eric henry

    Thanks a million. Easy to understand tutorial.

  • Peter

    so flac to cd? does this process create any loss? or is the end product the finalised cd still lossless?

  • NENO

    HOW TO BURN FLAC FILES TO DVD?THANK YOU!

  • yuvraj

    does writing of flac to cd cause any downfall in quality?

  • Fatih

    Great tutorial.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.themonkeyreview.com Munke

    You will not lose any quality in your FLAC files if you burn to CD, but it won’t play in a cd player unless it has FLAC capabilities

    Burning these to DVD is as simple as highlighting them and sending them to the DVD with the right click function. It won’t play in a player that doesn’t support FLAC however.

    You will need to follow the steps above if you want to convert the FLAC to play in any player. Hope this helps!

  • Elvin Sledge

    Your information says FLAC files can be burned using Nero. I have Nero 7 and it does not see the FLAC files. I followed the link to the plugin you suggested and did not find it. And Tech Support at Nero says the poduct does not yet support the FLAC format. Before I add yet another audio player/converter… is the above true?

  • Sergo

    thx man

  • Chris

    Very nice instructions.I downloaded the plugin for nero suite and it did work.Burned and it played the audio cd on my home player and car audio player no problem-thank you!

  • bing suarez

    But what about those ape files? I get them as one large file. I can burn them using sonic into audio cds but only as one continuous song. I need the song breaks. how do i do it?

    thanks

  • JJ

    Install newest APE, download Medieval CUE splitter and split APE. Then burn by using NERO or whatever

  • justcheez

    thanks for the great tutorial.

  • Vivio

    Thanks for the tutorial. Good job!

  • http://www.thinkgardner.com Daniel

    I love CDburnerXP pro and recently came across .Flac files – thanks for the introduction into how to burn this format to CD.

  • Dave

    Thanks a million, been having trouble with those pesky Flac files.

  • Matracas

    Thanks for the tip on the NERO Megapack…I use Nero V6 and did not have many file type options.

  • zugu

    Excellent tutorial! Just what I was looking for.

  • http://cdburnerxp.se Floele

    As of Version 4.0 of CDBurnerXP, it supports FLAC files natively and doesn’t require any Winamp or other tools to convert them before burning.

  • Ollie Woodall

    Great Tutorial on converting Flac to Wav using Winamp. Ta!

  • http://www.spillav.moo.no Mike Harrington

    Great!! This helped me a lot!!!

  • http://www.asmodean.net Raul

    This tutorial was very good. Although there are other tools which can do the job in just one step, it’s still very useful. This is similar to doing anything on the computer. At first it may take 2 or 3 utilities to get a certain task done, but someone eventually writes a program to do it all for you with one step. Once again, great job!

  • Jules

    Cheers for the info on the nero plugin pack :D I had never heard of Flac files until today LOL and I’m a network engineer LOL

  • Gabriel Sharp

    Thanks for the info man. It was greet help, just what I needed.

  • amberp

    thank you! this is exactly what i was looking for you. you, my dear, are awesome.

  • http://nottelling Erik Computer Technician Copenhagen

    Of all the time I search the net for help – I found this tutorial first, and it was EXACTLY what I was lookig for.

    BTW, you should mention any CD burning program will do, and I used Nero 7.

    Right now I’m have an old blast of Pat Benatar’s Greatest Hits because of it.

    Thanks again.

  • Ricky

    Do you need a special CD Player to play .WAV files??

  • MJ

    Hi,

    I first want to thank you for the info on converting the flac files so I can burn a cd. I have a question though…I have a number of cds I downloaded which contain only one flac file for the whole cd. Is there a way to separate each track? I have a cue and a flac file for each cd album I downloaded. I’d really prefer to have each track listed, instead of one huge 75 minute track haha!

  • Mike

    Very helpfull thanks heaps!

  • Rachel

    Your tutorial was great, but I still don’t understand something and hope you can help. I want to burn two CDs worth of music in lossless format onto one CD. I converted the WAV files to Apple Lossless format, which I thought took up less room than WAV, but when I tried to fit both CDs onto one, the time was exactly the same as WAV format and I was unable to do it. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

  • Brian

    Thanks for all the help! This website was very clear and extremely useful.

  • vinhddc

    Thank you very much.

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  • DarkSide

    @Rachel

    You answered your own question right in your post.

    TIME!! Not size :)

  • ted

    I love seeing the Gov’t Mule being burned- what an awesome band to be enjoyed in FLAC format.

  • Greg

    You rock !
    Thanks !

  • http://mozillafirefox brent

    thank you easy to follow

  • http://www.goaway.com andrew

    awesome guide man. worked great on vista.

  • joec

    thanks, I was pulling my hair out, this was a huge help

  • Musty

    thanks man really appreciate it!;)

  • Julia

    Thanks a lot!

  • http://www.flac.com Marc

    Very good trick!

  • http://www.patricklap.hu.tl/ Plap

    thx

  • Nick

    I just burned flac to a cd with nero 9 and i explored the cd and the files show up as 2 KB tracks and im wondering what happened to my flac

  • Brian

    Thanks for this help, we now know how to burn .flac to cd. But can you do the reverse. Say I goto Bestbuy and buy the new Slipknot cd, can I upload cd-to-.flac on the pc?

  • Sean19a7x

    @Brian

    Yes, just download DBpoweramp and your good to go.

  • http://sophisticality.com sophie

    thanks so much! easy fast and free, what else could one ask for?

  • http://n/a Madeline

    Thanks— that was super duper easy.

  • Blaze

    Thanks so much

  • http://www.xoundboy.com Ben R

    Hi, thanks for the tutorial. It was exactly what I was looking for.

  • Racine

    thanks a lot, now I’am happy !!!!! :)

  • krnewman

    I did not know you could do this. This is really a cool hack. thanks, much.

  • Jonas Johannesen

    NICE ! Thank you so much for this help. You are GOD ! I’ve been looking for easy .flac converting for a long time. This stuff is gold !

  • Spiros

    Thank you very much!

  • Lakef

    Thanks so much ! It’s very helpfull tutorial! great!

  • Suebee

    Does Winamp work with Vista?

  • Bill

    I installed the Nero Megapack and Nero still can’t read the .flac files………

    ………..other than that it’s a good tutorial.

    I can only assume I’m doing something wrong, however I have no trouble converting .mp3 files to audio CDs with Nero 7 even before I installed the Mega Pack.

  • jonathan

    Great tutorial, but the mega codec pack for nero contains a virus.

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  • eftersa

    I do not normally leave comments but i did feel really joy after i went throug your process. Thank You

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  • Matt

    Thanks dude, it’s refreshing to have a tutorial that gets straight to the point in a concise manner. Muchos appreciado!

  • Andrew

    or you could just use dBpoweramp CD Writer.
    1) Install dBpoweramp CD Writer
    2) Drag n Drop ANY audio file onto it (even .mid files works too!)
    3) Press Burn CD!
    4) Wait for conversion and burning to complete…
    5) Done!
    I know technically there’s only 2 steps, drag n drop and press burn cd but i thought the n00bs might appreciate the extra info.
    Ok… Bye!

  • Andrew

    Oh by the way dBpoweramp isn’t exactly free, but heck it can run without installation (just install it in Virtual PC or VMWare and then drag and drop the installed files onto your host machine) and no i am not and don’t work for spoon (dBpoweramp’s developer)!

    Just to let you know, dBpoweramp does a lot more than just burning, you can also use dBpoweramp CD Ripper to rip CDs securely (with quality that some say rivals that of EAC, that also has a n00b proof GUI) and dBpoweramp Music Converter to convert pretty much any audio file to any format.

    Ok now I’ll shut up and go back to work on my “Free PC Software Tips & Tricks” website…

  • Ben

    Just want to say… Thank you!

  • Jeff Glotzer

    Nero 7 essentials with template packs, updates for newest Nero 7, and the download Mega Pack, does nothing. Crashes out on flac files on the net. Tried everything, nothing worked.

  • Andrew

    Jeff Glotzer why don’t you just use dBpoweramp? You can find it “on the net” too and it can burn ALL audio files in existence to CDs.
    All you gotta do is “drag n drop” the files you want and press “Burn CD”. Even my grandma could do that.

    For a list of all supported formats go here:
    http://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central.htm

    P.S. You know it’s always a good idea to skim through the comments whenever you’re stuck on something. Chances are if you’re having problems other people might be having them too.

  • Tibcsi

    Very Thanks! This howto is great! I have Nero, but it can’t read flac. Winamp convert them to wav files correctly (this is a built-in fuction now, I think.) Thanks again!

  • Aqua

    Thanks!!!
    This was exactly what I was looking for :)

    p.s.
    Very Merry Xmas Everyone! :)

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  • tomtom

    hi,
    Is it also posible for us to burn .flac files on a dvd using nero softwear?
    so most of the dvd players can playback the dvd.

  • http://nylon.net nylon

    CDBurnerXP reads FLAC and can create an audio CD without needing Winamp to decode them. A great program!

  • JDS

    you’re the best. thanks for taking the time.

  • Orgazmo

    Thank you for the tutorial, it was easy to follow and very helpful!

  • Billie Jean

    Thanks for the tips on how to use Nero for burning an Audio CD from individual flac files

  • seiceanul

    thanks man. i just got the original Dark Side of The Moon LP version. my car was waiting for this for a couple of months now :P

  • The Facejacker

    Thanks. Didn’t think it would be that easy

  • Jom

    Thanks a lot man. It is so helpful.

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  • Stephen Sylvester

    Thanks I got flac files and you finally helped me figure out how to burn them.

  • http://www.kovpack.com/ kovpack

    the program is ok, but i converted .flac files into .wav with AIMP2. just select files in the playlist, sent them via plug-in to some folder in .wav format and then burn those .wav files on cd.

  • Billybluff

    Being a non-audiophile, why is it important to remove the 2 second intervals between tracks? My cd player (SONY-791) uses this interval to select a specified track

  • Ross

    @Billybluff –

    It’s only important if you’re burning a concert CD, because a 2 second gap interrupts the recording. If you’re burning a CD with just mixed tracks, studio tracks or a “regular” album, leave the 2 second pause.

  • Phillip

    Yep; this works. There is a free burning program called burrrn which you can toss your FLAC files into and it converts them to wav (window wave sound format) just like this program and then burns – so it knocks out the 2nd step. I use FLAC frontend to test my flac files and you can decode from FLAC to wav, or encode from wav to FLAC with this program also. Great if you want to share your good quality audios.

    Both FLAC frontend and burrrn are open source and free, plain interface, light on resources and easy to use. My problem was that burrrn would not accept myFLAC files, even though FLAC frontend told me the files were good. I found the above and finally got my flac files to disc. I used the winamp with the plugin to convert and then just used burrn to put to disc. Many burning programs will handle wav files. Thanks to the author here though as it does work

  • Sophie

    Thanks for writing this up. I never knew there were plugins available for Nero, and now it burns FLAC like a charm. Cheers!

  • Valanor

    For anyone using the nero method nero 8+ will have to use this: http://www.free-codecs.com/Cole2k_Media_Nero_Audio_Plugin_Pack_download.htm instead of the plugin pack

  • Tabosa

    Amizade, seu método é muito complicado e as pessoas não tem dias inteiros pra fazer tanta manobra. existe um programinha excelente, freewere (de graça): Format Factory que faz essa conversão de FLAC para WAV em segundos sem usar tanta maracutaia… Agora sejamos francos, tente arranjar um keygen ou o serial do perograma: Apen Audio CD Burner, pois ele pega arquivos FLAC e queima já direto para CD Audio… “DIRETÃO”… só que é pago. Já vasculhei toda WEB atrás de um Keygen, serial ou pach… e nada…!!! Estou louco por esse programa mas sou daqueles que acham que de graça é mais gostoso…Valeu…!!!

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  • Sergi

    Thank you Ross, this tutorial was very useful for me.
    I am very grateful to you.

  • Agh – Bar – Madonna

    Well, to be truthful, if somebody does not know how to burn ‘their’ .FLACs, it is most likely 9 out of 10 times that they pirated the music and can’t figure out how to burn the CD, but for the honest one, it is just not knowing how to back-convert their .FLAC archives to CD. Thank you, my gratitude does not know the walls of the glass!

  • Late

    Thank you!

  • terf

    Thanks for a great guide!

  • http://www.simplehelp.net Ross McKillop

    Agh – Bar – Madonna –

    Actually the live music community (those who record concerts by artists who allow audio taping) use .flac as a standard. So there are a lot of people who download completely legal .flac files and have no idea what they are or what to do with them. This tutorial is aimed for those folks, not for people who ‘pirate’ .flac’s.

    Also, a lot of bands that are now selling their music directly in digital format, offer .flac as a format. It’s becoming a much more popular file format as broadband becomes faster and expands to more and more markets etc.

  • John

    You helped me out a lot man thanks.

  • Thomas

    The correct, current URL for the WinAmp plugin is http://www.winamp.com/plugin/flac-plugin-with-library-support/143614 (as of June 26, 2011)

  • Stephanie

    Thank you! Worked like a charm!

  • Oliver

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this.

  • Dave

    thx been searching forever worked but when i play it seems to lag/drag song

  • Happy Harry

    Thanks Ross! Been trying to figure out how to record The Wall concerts to CD. I’m so excited to try this when I get chance. Once these FLAC files are converted and burned to CD, can you somehow put them into an MP3 player? But anywho, getting them to CD is my first step. Thanks man!!

  • Montytje

    thank you very much for introducing the winamp flac to wave conversion!

  • JustinJ

    Ross thanks so much. You just solved my dilemma in a very short amount of time. Thanks again. Now can rock out to my Springsteen concert CDs at work.

  • zisun

    try flacCDburner

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  • cc_ketch

    imgburn is my favorite program for .flac to audio cd burning

  • kyle carrington

    Do not take this advice it is pure hell trying to figure it out.

  • https://www.facebook.com/sharif.sircar sharif sircar

    thanks for the info