Discovering Perl Audio Converter

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A while back I was looking for an easy way to manage my music collection. I wanted to keep high quality copies of my CD's so I figured a lossless codec like FLAC would be a good choice. The only problem was that not every device or computer supports FLAC. My solution was to keep the high quality FLAC recordings for my Linux systems, but convert to MP3 for everything else. It was in searching for an easy way to do this that I found Perl Audio Converter.

Perl Audio Converter is a great tool for converting audio files from one format to another. Need an obscure type? No problem. It supports MP2, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Shorten, Monkey Audio, FAAC (AAC/M4A/MP4), Musepack (MPC), Wavpack (WV), OptimFrog (OFR/OFS), TTA, LPAC, Kexis (KXS), AIFF, AC3, Lossless Audio (LA), BONK, AU, SND, RAW, VOC, SMP, RealAudio (RA/RAM), WAV, and WMA. You can even use it to rip directly from a CD.

I'll get into what makes the Perl Audio Converter really great in a minute, but first I should mention my affiliation with the it. Philip Lyons is the developer and I have never contributed any code to the main program, but I do maintain the Debian package. One didn't exist when I first discovered Perl Audio Converter and I decided it would be a good project to take on. One of these days I will actually get it submitted to Debian. Slackware and FreeBSD versions are also available. If you use an rpm based distro then you'll want to download the source package and run the install script.

Perl Audio Converter has multiple interfaces options available. It can be driven by running pacpl from the command line, but plug-ins for Konqueror and amaroK can provide an easier solution.

I won't rehash command line usage here since the man page covers it all, but I do want to call out the Konqueror integration because I think it is the most powerful use of the program, and the one that got me using it. Things couldn't be easier. All it takes to convert audio is to right click on a directory, file, or multiple of each.

Following the right click a PAC Convert menu will appear under Actions with a long list of audio types to choose from. Simply select one and wait for the transcode to complete. That's it.

If you need to do any audio conversion and don't need to frequently tweak the settings then Perl Audio Converter is the app for you. The time saved while transcoding will easily make up for the time it takes you to install.

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