Simple & Effective Conversion Software

To our computerphiles:

I am slowly but inexorably tiptoeing into computer audio waters. and need software to convert downloaded FLAC or other codec files into Apple Lossless,so I can play songs through iTunes and load my iPod. The only other use I might have for such software is ripping/burning, although as far as I can tell, iTunes works just fine.

Should I get dbPoweramp? MediaMonkey? JRiver? I do not want to be overwhelmed with unnecessary complexity nor pay for utilities I will not use.

Thank you for your help.

If you are going to be resampling the files in software, use any application with the iZotope 64-bit algorithm. I use Wave Editor, which is a Mac program.

If all you are going to be doing is changing the envelope (FLAC to Apple Lossless for example), Audacity is free and I believe it does that. I use Amadeus Pro, which costs $40.
XLD or Max. I think XLD is the simpler of the two. Both are free.
I use Xact on my MAC server system. It will convert FLAC to other formats.
DBpoweramp has a batch converter that will do an entire collection in one shot. It's a bit odd in that it wont replace the files, so you will need to do some clean up afterwards. It's about as easy as it gets. I'm not sure the transfer is what it should be however. I am also considering switching to a Mac mini (just for music) I have about 5000 ripped FLAC titles and dont really feel like re-ripping but I want to go with the Apple lossless format. My plan is to get a spare 2TB drive and copy the entire collection to it and let her rip ... so to speak. I will test it out for a while and see how it sounds. The computer side of me thinks it's a pretty straight forward conversion ... lossless should be lossless and the data should remain pretty much untouched. The audio freak side is a bit more worried. I have a feeling it will take some time to make this jump. Anyone out there who has made this transition and did the A/B sound test this would be a great time to chime in. I can do a small test (10-20 titles) and report back but I wont have the Mac mini until February.
Thanks for advice, but I do not know whether in converting from FLAC to ALAC I am going to be "resampling the files in software" nor do I know what "changing the envelope" means, although it sounds like that is what I will be doing.

I have some downloads that are in FLAC which have been ripped from CD's, and others will be hi-rez I plan to download from sites like HDTracks.

Hi Neal, sorry if the jargon was off-putting.

Resampling the files means changing their resolution, for example making a 16/44 file out of a 24/96 file (which you would have to do to a hi-res music file if you wanted to listen to it on an iPod, for instance).

Changing the envelope, well, if you imagine a format like FLAC, WAV or AIFF as the wrapper, the music info is the candy bar. Changing from one to the other of these does not touch the music info, only the coding format.
Thanks for the clarification, Tobias. I am reasonably computer literate but not so much on music and codecs, etc.

I thought iTunes could accommodate hi res downloads if they were in ALAC format? Or is that true, but an iPod cannot take them?

Now you can tell why I have been reluctant to convert to computer audio. Too many layers of complication.


Neal, iTunes can indeed take in hi-res formats. I have both 24/88 and 24/96 in mine.

It will not play them back at those higher resolutions except from the computer, and then only if you have a sound card or external box that can handle them. I have used a M-Audio Audiophile USB device to do this, and now an Apogee Duet or an Apogee Mini-DAC. These last two use FireWire.

The iPod can't handle any resolution higher than CD: 16/44. I have reprocessed a few high-res files ( downsampling from 24/88 to 16/44 ) on my PowerBook to get that music onto the iPod. I did the downsampling using Wave Editor software, then imported the resulting files using iTunes.

It's possible to have the same music in two different formats in your iTunes library, but better to give the versions names which distinguish them.
Thank you, Tobias. This clarifies.

I have a W4S DAC2 which can handle hi rez.

Will try dbPoweramp to convert FLAC downloads to ALAC and then try and play from computer to DAC and see if anything explodes -- or if any sound comes out.