There are many audio conversion applications available. We’re advocates of open source software and Fre:ac is one of our favorite utilities out there. Fre:ac is a free audio converter with support for various popular formats and encoders. It converts freely between MP3, M4A/AAC, FLAC, WMA, Opus, Ogg Vorbis, Speex, Monkey’s Audio (APE), WavPack, WAV, and other formats.
Note: We highly recommend that you perform a full backup of your MP3 library before working with or manipulating your files. This way, you can revert back to your original versions of tracks if you are unhappy with the results. Live365 accepts no liability or responsibility for any unintended outcomes of using this third-party, unaffiliated software. We suggest you conduct a test conversion of a few single files before processing a large batch so that you can observe the outcomes before proceeding.
Please maintain regular backups of your master audio files.
Note: Fre:ac v1.1.x versions are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD. This tutorial will only cover the functionality for Windows OS. For instructions on how to use Fre:ac on the other supported operating systems please access their Advanced User Guide.
With Fre:ac you can easily convert any audio file to the formats that Live365 currently supports:
- MP3 files – should be encoded at 128 kbps CBR, 44.1 kHz sample rate.
- M4A files – should be encoded at 128 kbps bitrate and 44.1 kHz sample rate.
You can even convert whole music libraries retaining the folder and filename structure. One popular approach is to store your master FLAC or high-quality files in a centralized folder directory, and to store your converted files for Live365 in a totally separate folder. This way, you always know where your original files are.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to batch-convert your library to the supported format:
- Download the latest version of Fre:ac from the Fre:ac homepage. Install the program and start it.
- Add multiple audio files or a folder to the job list by clicking the top-left button. In this example, we will be converting an entire folder.
- Next, configure the MP3 encoder to match the required encoding settings. Next to Selected Encoder choose MP3 Encoder v3.100 from the drop-down menu. Then click on the yellow configuration button to the right.
The “Lame MP3 Encoder” settings window will pop-up. On the “Basic” tab, apply the following settings: 128 kbps, CBR, better quality.
Next, switch to the “Misc” tab and select Joint Stereo and save the settings by clicking the “OK” button:
- Now that you have the LAME MP3 Encoder set up, navigate to Options ➡ General Settings and select the Filename Pattern of <artist> – <title>
- From the left side menu, switch to the Processing section. Then add the Sample Rate Converter, then click the Configure Component button:
Select the 44100 Hz value in the drop-list then click the “OK” button and save the General settings.
- Next, make sure to remove the Read cover art from files option by navigating to Options ➡ General ➡ Settings ➡ Tags ➡ Album Cover. This will prevent automatically assigning cover art images to the converted files from your disk.
- Lastly, you need to select the Output Folder. This will be the location on your hard drive where the converted files will be saved. You should select a different folder here than the one you are loading the tracks from. This keeps your converted files separate from your originals.
- Start the converting process and wait for the Progress Bar to be completed.
These steps and instructions are covered in greater detail by the Fre:ac developers. They also have a forum where you can read questions from other Fre:ac users or engage with their community.