Sunday, October 18, 2009

Convert FLAC to MP3

Converting FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) to MP3 is a very simple process and one that can be performed using free software.

In this post I will show you the method that I use to convert FLAC files to MP3, but their are many other ways to convert a FLAC file to an MP3 using different software and most of them work equally well. This method is just what has worked reliably for me and given me excellent sound quality.

Convert FLAC to MP3 Using Foobar2000:

*Note: that most of these steps only need to be performed once, and once all the settings are in place and saved it becomes almost a two step process to convert FLAC files to MP3s.

1) You will need two pieces of free software to convert a FLAC file to a MP3 file. First click on this link and download the LAME encoder for Windows. Next, click on this link to download Foobar2000.

2) Unzip the LAME zip file and place the extracted Zip  folder in a location on your computer that you will remember.

3) Click on the downloaded Foobar2000 installer file and install Foobar2000

4) Run Foobar2000 after it has been installed

5) In Foobar2000, select "File" and then open up the FLAC tracks that you wish to convert.

6) Once your tracks have opened in Foobar they will show up in the playlist window. Highlight all the tracks that you wish to convert.

7) Right Click anywhere on the highlighted tracks and select "Convert".





8) A new window will pop up with a bunch of options. Under Output format you will see a list of a few built-in presets that Foobar2000 has provided. For conversion to MP3 you can select the  MP3 Variable Bit Rate of 190kbps. This preset will give you excellent sound quality. If you are happy with this preset than you can skip the next 5 steps and go directly to step 14. If you prefer to have your MP3 in a standard constant bit rate format than you will have to create a new preset. It's easy, just follow the next few steps.




9) To create a new preset select "More Settings" on the Converter Setup window.  A new Preferences window will open up. On this window click on the "Add New" button




10) Another window will open up called "Commandline Encoder Settings - New Preset". At the top of this window click on the drop down selection box and choose the "custom" option. You will notice that the options will now change in the window.





11) Under the Encoder section click on the browse button and locate the "lame.exe" file (it will be in the LAME folder that you unzipped in step 2). For all the other settings on this window you can copy the settings that I use from the screenshot below. These settings will convert your FLAC files to a 320kbps constant bit rate MP3. This gives you a CD quality MP3 file that 99% of the population can't tell the difference from the original source file.  If you want a smaller output file than you can change the number after the "-b" in the Parameters box from 320 to a lower bit rate (256, 128, or 64 are standard common bit rates).




12) After you have entered all your settings click "OK" and then click "Close".

13) You should now be on the "Converter Setup Page". Select your output format which will now include your new custom MP3 preset.

14) Below the Output format selection box are options for Output path, overwrite options and file naming  options. I like to name my tracks with "track #"-"Artist"-"track title" and if you do as well then you can copy the settings from the screen shot below, otherwise you can change this to whatever you wish.




15) Once you have selected all your options, just click "OK" and Foobar will start converting your FLAC files to MP3.

That's it!

Note:

- The above method will not transfer Album artwork from the FLAC file to the MP3 file, but all other ID3 tag information will be transferred.

- Once you have run through this process once, the next time you can just right click on a FLAC file in the playlist, select convert and choose "last used" and Foobar will use your last settings for file conversion.

62 comments:

  1. Awesome tutorial. Very straightforward and clearly explained. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Um I would like step #16

    Once you have all of your output settings click okay then a prompt will come up to select the lame exe file.

    Worked great! After that...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome tutorial, worked like a charm!
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Worked great! Thank you so much!

    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  5. great... it worked for me too... thanks..*_^

    ReplyDelete
  6. is there an option to delete several tags while converting flac to mp3?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for taking the time to share what you have discovered. I have been looking for a good way to do this for a while and your method works great!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the help. Really detailed & usefull tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
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