Monday Freebie: MAXimize your audio

The Max interface can be a bit daunting, but with a little poking around you can figure out how to convert your audio files between formats.

As an avid music collector and audio geek, I’m constantly moving sounds between formats. For example, I listen to a lot of live concert recordings from the Internet Archive site. While many of these downloadable performances are in standard MP3 format, I’ve encountered some in lossless audio formats such as Ogg Vorbis (.ogg), Free Lossless Audio Codec (.flac) or the ever-popular Windows Media Audio file (.wma) format. There are hundreds of different audio file formats, some very obscure.

If all you are doing is listening to these files on your computer, the free, open-source Video Lan Controller (VLC) application will play most anything you can throw at it. However, if you want to burn a CD or RIP the file to MP3 for your portable player you’ll find these file formats a bit of a challenge.

Thankfully there is a good, open-source solution for your audio file conversion needs. The application is called Max and is the product of developer Steven Booth. Max can be used to extract audio from your CD with precise control over error-correction and conversion, allowing output to more than 20 different audio formats. Also, Max can be used to convert existing files between formats and can even automatically add the output to your iTunes collection. And best of all, Max is free (though donations are accepted through PayPal).

Give it a try the next time you need to FLAC your OGG onto your iPod…

(By the way, if anyone knows of a good Windows equivalent, please let me know)

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