Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Encode, convert MP3 or WAV


Free and easy way to rip audio CD's

If you're a newbie and you want to rip your audio CD's to your PC, just download the open source program called Cdex. After you have downloaded the program just open Cdex and you will be greeted by the simple interface.

On the right side of the program you will see 6 icons. The first icon is a one-click button to extract CD tracks to WAV. The second button will extract CD tracks to compressed audio file (MP3). The third button will extract a section of the CD to WAV or compressed audio file.

The fourth button can convert WAV files to compressed audio files. The fifth button converts compressed audio files to WAV. The last button gets the album information from remote CDDB.

Now, put your audio CD in your CD drive, Cdex will hopefully detect your CD (you can check this by clicking "convert" on the toolbar, if "extract CD..." is active then you're ready to go). Now if it did not detect your CD press F4, select the CD drive tab and configure your CD-rom drive.

After Cdex detects your audio CD just click on the extract CD buttons described above, and that's all there is to it. With one click you will have a WAV version or MP3 version of your CD.

Cdex can also convert your music files

To convert your WAV file to MP3 just press F11, choose the file or files you want to convert then click the convert button.

Converting MP3 to WAV is just as simple. Just press F12, choose the file you want to convert then click the convert button.

You can also convert MP3 and WAV files to other formats like Ogg Vorbis.

Hey, you can re-encode your MP3's as well

Now if you have an MP3 player with limited space, like my 256mb iRiver player, you can re-encode your MP3 to a lower bitrate If you don't mind losing sound quality. I purposely researched how to lower the file size of MP3's so that my sister can fit a lot of music in the 64mb memory card of her cell phone. Cdex is a real space-saver imagine having a 3 meg song down-sized to about 400kb. Here's how you can reduce the MP3 size:

First you need to configure Cdex, so press F4. Click the "generic tab." In the generic page, check "normalize volume." This will keep your volume normal even after the MP3 has been down-sized. After you do that, click on the "encoder" tab.

In the encoder options set the "version" to MPEG-1, then set the "bitrate min" to 32.

The last step is to set the "mode" to mono. Setting the mode to mono will avoid the annoying humming sound you get from converting stereo sound MP3's to a lower bitrate. That's the end of configuration.

To re-encode the MP3, click "convert" on the toolbar. Choose "re-encode compressed audio file" and choose the MP3 file(s) you want to down-size. Just click on convert and that's it. I also need to inform you that your converted or re-encoded files will be saved on a different folder, leaving the original files untouched for back-up purposes. Though you can configure everything on this app.

I'm sure that Cdex has other uses that I've not touched on in this post. That's the beauty of open source software, you just don't know what new feature will be added on the next release of the program.
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