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Best programs/utilities for audio format conversions
Old 6 days ago
Gear Head

Best programs/utilities for audio format conversions

What computer-program(s) do you use for converting audiofiles to/from other formats? Both MacOS and Win.

I don't remember seeing a thread discussing this and I might be interesting to hear and learn about other tools that one doesn't know yet.

More often then one would think, I encounter the need for conversion between audio formats. Party by myself, but also from that non-audio people asking me to convert for them. I suppose I'm not alone with this.

Today more than ever, we're living in a world where 4K video is soon regarded as 'regular quality' and even the slightest noticeable change between an original and a copy awakens people's rage. People are quite aware and their ears are getting better.

And we ourselves should be quite interested in having our favourites and our own work played back at us with as little degradation as possible. But frankly, one of the best formats is also the least one used: uncompressed PCM. Instead, 99% of what we hear - online as well as offline - is lossy audio with less than 250kbps quality.

But finding utilities that does this conversion to/from PCM for us (and who wouldn't prefer if one 1 software did this all for us), it isn't that easy. At least I don't think so.
Using script-based conversion is much more cumbersome than GUI for individual jobs, and some formats - ALAC and AAC for example - still aren't fully free formats to use for anyone who makes audio conversion programs. Plus proprietary programs in turn often hesitate to include open source formats like FLAC and Lame in their conversion capabilities.

And if you'd involve the bottomless swamp-discussion of which conversion filters/method is slightly better than which (and don't think that needs to be debated here) then we'd have a proper chaos going.

I wish there was a good program that would do it all. So I’m a little curious to tap into how other people do this and relates to it?

What program(s) or software utilities do you use to convert to/from different audio formats?

I can start out: I'm on Reaper and I always render to WAV/AIF first. I don't render direkt to MP3 from the mix, because I wanna hear that the render came out right first, so I have a good original from which to make copies to other formats from. Virtual instruments and other tools in a DAW sometimes do hickups when rendering, and it's also a question if pre-processing can be needed before converting. Dithering for example, volume revisions or changes in panning width etc. I see the coversion as a second process.

Using Reaper for this, in its default state, gives you the option of converting to FLAC, DDP, MP3, Wavpack, a few different OGG types, and of course to convert from any of these formats to WAV/AIF.

On top of that, I've just been trying FFMPEG but that one is using a few questionable selection of filters, plus it's scripting only - unless one puts up with any of the baby-like GUIs that are out there for it and removes all your control.
Old 6 days ago
Gear Nut
I've no idea about the "best", but like yourself I use Reaper and have had found no need for anything else for several years.

Also similar to yourself I tend to render a mix to a 32 bit floating point master, then use that to render out different delivery formats. Sometimes I'll use a master project with several songs in it for this, other times I'll use the batch converter directly on the 32 bit floating point WAV files.

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