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I recently got a new 2019 Malibu LT.

I like the Infotainment 3 interface and shuffle play with MP3 files. I have about 4,000 MP3 files of different kinds of music. The USB port accepts USB thumb drives all the way up to 256GB, the largest I have tried. But since there is no cd player, I was disappointed that FLAC files are not supported from USB drives, especially since the manual says they are supported! .WAV files can be played from USB but that is not a good solution. I have learned that the previous generation of media player from 2018 played FLAC files if they were renamed to .WAV files. That workaround does not work anymore.

In the meantime I converted all my cd's and FLAC files into high-bit rate MP3 files and play those for best possible sound quality. I realize the difference between high bit rate MP3 and .FLAC is small. But my home theater plays .FLAC and eventually I may upgrade the speakers in the Malibu. The problem with MP3 is not that the quality sounds bad, but some of the ambiance in the music has been lost from the file. The long-term result: music does not sound as enjoyable, like listening to music with too much background noise.

For now there are a couple of other workarounds to play .FLAC: 1. use Android Auto connected by USB and play the FLAC files from an Android media app. The Android device can be a phone or Tablet. 2. Any kind of media source can be connected by the 3.5mm audio jack, but this does not give a digital connection like the other methods. 3. Connect Android device by bluetooth. But bluetooth is a lossy connection so this is no better than playing lossy MP3 files direct from USB.

I'm hoping eventually a software patch will take care of this, but it may be a while.
 

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As an audio snob, I sympathize. All my music is 256 kb/s MP3 files and every time classic rock comes on, I know what it would've sounded like off the turn table and it hurts my soul a little bit.

I wouldn't hold my breath for a FLAC patch, but you never know. The demand is so low that this might be the first dedicated post (to my knowledge) asking about lossless music file support. My wife--like millions of other people--is happy streaming her music via bluetooth from spotify. Those are the people you're competing with for infotainment preferences. 😭😩
 

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I personally don't think there will be a patch for FLAC support. The closest I can think of and use myself is WMA Lossless @1000kbps. Each track is about 25-35+MB, album is typically 400-500MB itself. Truthfully I like the factory radio on the 8'' mylink (LT w/1LT package). Sounds very good with my budget JBL speakers and Kicker tweeters I installed a few years back.

Quite honestly I think it sounds better than my previous build in my last car that was a Pioneer single din DEH series, 2x Kicker amps/speakers/L5 Solo 10'' Sub, and OG Sony Xplod tweeters.
 

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So WMA lossless files are supported? I did not know that and it's worth checking out.
It sounds like you have an earlier generation of the Malibu, e.g. the MyChevy console? That version did play lossless files and that feature is GONE from the Infotainment 3 system

Hooking up my android tablet with a 64gb SD card full of FLAC files and playing them thru KODI app also works. With Android Auto it is a direct USB connection. The only problem with it is KODI does not have the nice shuffle features that the Infotainment center does.
 

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Yes its supported. I figured out by trial and error (as the owners manual doesnt mention anything about lossless). Certain formats like FLAC will not populate upon plugging in a flash drive. So I went down a tier to WMA lossless and works perfectly.

Also mine is the MyLink "2nd" gen aka 2016+ GM vehicles. I did have a 2018 Cruze as a loaner for a short bit with the radio and can confirm that one will not support WMA lossess. But regular MP3 320kb works fine.

I loaded some FLAC albums on my android phone and play on Android Auto with PowerAmp media player and sounds great as well. So that's as close to FLAC as these cars can get. Another alternative is to go the iOS route and rip music in ALAC (Apples version of FLAC). Load on to an iPhone/iPad. Plug into the car and play under CarPlay or just regular iPod mode. They both sound just as great.
 

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What's very strange about it is that .WAV files do play from a USB drive. Why do they support .WAV and MP3 but not FLAC? FLAC is a free codec and previous versions had it!
 

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FLAC supported in this car? FAT CHANCE. The audio system in my Premier can't even handle gapless playback of MP3 files, something even my $40 Sandisk mp3 player can do. If the system can't handle that then FLAC is way too esoteric to ever be supported.

Why WAV and not FLAC? Less signal processing involved is my guess.
 

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The better question. Who even uses WAV? For the music producer/composer I can understand but for the average joe I think MP3 has been the standard for a long time now.
 

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Yeah that sucks that the manual shows it plays Flac but it doesnt....smh. So I'm playing my Flac files from Galaxy Note plus using the app Poweramp via Android Auto with an AudioQuest USB cable....quality is superb!
 

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Yeah that sucks that the manual shows it plays Flac but it doesnt....smh. So I'm playing my Flac files from Galaxy Note plus using the app Poweramp via Android Auto with an AudioQuest USB cable....quality is superb!
That's a great work around!
 

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Yeah that sucks that the manual shows it plays Flac but it doesnt....smh. So I'm playing my Flac files from Galaxy Note plus using the app Poweramp via Android Auto with an AudioQuest USB cable....quality is superb!
Im not a professional audiofile by any means (casual at best) but does the USB cable really matter? Im doing the same thing as you execpt I have a Motorola g(6) 2018 model and use the OE type C cable that came with it for AA. Mine sounds very good as is already (for JBL speakers and Kicker tweeters).
 

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Im not a professional audiofile by any means (casual at best) but does the USB cable really matter? Im doing the same thing as you execpt I have a Motorola g(6) 2018 model and use the OE type C cable that came with it for AA. Mine sounds very good as is already (for JBL speakers and Kicker tweeters).
Any USB cable should sound the same, in theory.
 
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