|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] audio tools
Feature: Graphics & Multimedia Audio conversion tools for Linux By Razvan
T. Coloja on February 28, 2008 (4:00:00 PM)
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Most portable audio players can play music encoded in the MP3 audio
format, but some consumers also have music in Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, MPC, or
even WMA files. How do you change from one format to another when you need
to? Here are some of the best audio conversion tools available in Linux.
One of the simplest and most elegant ways to convert audio files is by
using the audio-convert script. It makes use of Zenity to display GUI
messages and windows, but does the rest of its work from the command line.
When you type audio-convert filename, you are presented with a GUI message
asking you to choose the output type for the resulting file. You then
specify whether you want to pass the existing metadata tags to the newly
created file or would rather input them manually. In the latter case, the
script inserts the band name and album title for all the tracks after you
enter them once. You have four audio quality choices when converting to
MP3: medium (160Kbps), standard (220Kbps), extreme (264Kbps), and insane
audio-convert makes use of several CLI tools to do its job. It needs
MPlayer to decode WMA files, musepack-tools to manipulate MPC audio
files, and flac and others in order to convert files to and from Ogg,
MP3, FLAC, ACC, WAV, APE, and WMA formats. If you want to keep it simple,
use this elegant script.
SoundConverter is another lightweight tool that offers a simple but
effective GUI to convert audio files. Just specify a folder or an
individual file using drag-and-drop or the buttons from the UI and you
can convert it to MP3, Ogg, FLAC, or WAV format, using bitrates ranging
from 64 to 256Kbps in the case of the first two filetypes. Optionally,
from the Preferences window, you can specify how the resulting files
will be named and where will they reside. You can set the application
to make a folder based on an artist's name and insert subfolders using
the artist's album names that contain the actual songs. Your can select
files in three clicks, and all you have to do afterwards is wait for
the process to finish.
[Click to enlarge] Click to enlarge SoundKonverter is a Qt-based front end
to various audio converters that allows you to fine-tune the resulting
file in various ways. SoundKonverter also has a Replay Gain Tool that
can apply volume correction to files, so that they all play at the same
equal volume level.
Drag and drop files or folders containing audio files onto the main
window, then from the Simple tab select the output format: Ogg, MP3,
MP2, RM, MID, MPC, RA, or any other for which you have an encoder
installed. Next to the output format dropdown list is an Info button
that explains what benefits each of the formats provide. From the Quality
dropdown list choose a quality for the resulting files: from Low, to Very
High, to Lossless and user defined. You can specify output filenames and
directories be created using the existing metadata or a directory of your
choice. In the case of manually specifying the metadata, %b stands for
Album, %a for Artist, %n for Track Number, and %t for Title; you can hold
your mouse over the output text field for a helpful popup. The Detailed
tab allows you to set a bitrate or quality, a resampling rate, and audio
channel types (mono or stereo). To convert an MP3 album into Ogg files,
click on the Detailed tab, choose Ogg from the Convert dropdown list,
set the Quality as desired, and deselect Resample and Channels to use the
file defaults. SoundKonverter will start decoding three files at a time,
using oggenc in the background, then proceed to encoding the files as
soon as one of them has finished.
Gnormalize is a GTK application that can rip, normalize, and encode audio
files on the fly. Just select a file or a directory containing audio
files and choose an output format from the main window. If you wish to
preserve the files' encoding type and bitrate, click on normalize and
let the software do its work. If you'd rather change those properties,
from the config tab select change properties and set these option
manually. The info tab provides an ID3 tag editor that can batch-modify
MP3 and Ogg files. The rip tab, besides the ripping function, offers a
small player where you can preview your results. Gnormalize can convert
to and from MP3, MP4, MPC, Ogg, APE, FLAC, and WAV.
In addition to these multi-format tools, there's a dedicated tool for
converting almost every major audio format. OggConvert's purpose is
to provide an easy-to-handle GUI for converting different file formats
into Ogg. To use it, load a source folder, move the audio conversion bar
to pick an audio quality, specify file names and destination folders,
then click on Convert.
And then there's the CLI way; you don't need all those GUI tools to
do the encoding when you have so many command-line alternatives. All
of the above utilities are just front ends that use lame, oggenc,
ffmpeg, mppenc, MPlayer, and other applications that can be run from the
console. Use lame file.wav file.mp3 to quickly create an MP3 file out of
a WAV. Use lame -b 320 file.wav file.mp3 to manually set the bitrate
to 320. You can create 212Kbps MPC files by using mppenc --xtreme
inputfile.wav outputfile.mpc. To convert WAV files to MID, use Waon:
waon -i inputfile.wav -o outputfile.mid. The flac utility can convert a
WAV or AIFF file into Ogg FLAC or native FLAC files: flac -8 inputfile
outputfile, where the number represents the compression level. It can
vary from 0 (fastest) to 8 (best).
Linux has a tool for almost every audio format you come across. If you
can't find one in your distribution's repositories, you can find it on
Razvan T. Coloja has published more than 150 Linux and IT-related articles
in print and online magazines. He is an editor for a Romanian magazine
and one of the maintainers and editors of www.mylro.org, a Romanian
Linux/OSS portal and community.
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