Different audio and video formats available, there is often the need to inter convert amongst them — sometimes for quality and sometimes for compatibility. Here are some of the better software, that you can use to achieve the inter conversions on your Linux box.
Available via the package manager, Sound converter provides basic batch audio file conversion. Select the files or drop in an entire folder, choose the output format and bitrate from within Edit > Preferences and basically, you’re done
Gnormalize is a GTK based tool for audio conversion. In addition to converting audio (between mp3, mp4, mpc, wav, ogg, ape and flac), Gnormalize can adjust the volume of sound files to compensate for varying recording levels. You can also use Gnormalize to rip CDs, edit metadata and play your songs as well.
KDE users can try SoundKonverter. It has all the features of Gnormalize like reading tags, replay gain calculation but supports a few additional audio file formats.
OggConvert, WaoN and flac
You always have a plenty of choices at your disposal when choosing software in Linux. Here are some command line tools that are good for specific audio conversion tasks. OggConvert provides you tools to convert almost all major audio formats into Ogg. flac and WaoN are good to use use when working with Flac or mid files respectively.
Then there is SoX — Sound eXchange. Although not just a conversion tool, geeks swear by it. You just cannot write an article about sound and not mention SoX. It does some hundred different amazing things and is rightly called the “Swiss Army Knife” of sound-processing programs.
FFmpeg pretty rules the roost here. You can get all geeky and learn the command line switches or you can try WinFF. WinFF provides a frontend to FFmpeg. It works on Windows and Mac as well. It (actually FFmpeg) can be used for batch conversion of audio and video files. Just add the file(s) you wish to convert, choose the desired format, apply device presets if you desire. Once you are set, hit the Convert button and out pops the command line with one big ass command! Glad we don’t have to type in that ourselves, thanks to WinFF.
You can do pretty amazing things with WinFF or FFmpeg in general. We saw how we can use it to create actions so that you can convert video for your iPod with a right click in Nautilus. Studying the command line that WinFF pops out, you can create more of such custom actions. You can for example, write an action to extract audio out of videos, the possibilities are endless.
Handbrake is a popular multi-platform video transcoder. It can be used to convert DVDs to MP4, MKV, AVI and OGM. It offers additional features like chapter selection, burning subtitle into the picture, cropping and scaling.
If Handbrake converts your DVDs to MP4s, DeVeDe takes in video files and creates DVDs and CDs that you can run on your regular home CD/DVD players. DeVeDe is available for Windows as well.