By default, many of the most popular Linux distributions cannot play proprietary multimedia formats such as MP3, AAC and M4A. On the other hand, unencumbered formats such as Ogg and WAV play just fine. While Gstreamer has made it very easy for many Linux distributions to acquire and playback these file formats, a dedicated Linux user may find that their audio consumption would be much simpler if all of their music already happened to be in the Ogg format.
Thankfully, there are several tools available to convert MP3 files into Ogg file and make that convenience a reality. SoundConverter is one such tool that makes audio conversion as simple as dragging and dropping.
How to convert MP3 files into Ogg File
The first step is acquiring SoundConverter. In most distributions, this shouldn’t be a problem. Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Arch; all have SoundConverter sitting in their default repositories. If you need to snag the source files, they can be found on the this website: http://soundconverter.org/.
This is how SoundConverter looks when it is first opened. There are five buttons across the top, each with highly intuitive functionality. The first button, ‘Convert’ remains dimmed until files have been added to the window.
Adding files is a simple as clicking on either the ‘Add File’ or ‘Add Folder’ or simply dragging the files or folders into the window.
Once the file(s) you wish to convert has been added to the SoundConverter window, all you need to do is click the ‘Convert’ button.
File conversion is usually a speedy process, but this varies depending on how powerful your processor is. I ran this on a three-year old entry-level laptop, but the file still converted in seconds. By default, the converted file should appear in the same directory as your original. If you want the file to be saved somewhere else, just click the ‘Preferences’ button.
The preferences windows presents you with many options.
The first section reads: “Where to place results?”. The options are to save in the same folder as the input file or into a specific folder, which is your home folder by default. Here you can instruct SoundConverter to automatically create sub folders and delete the original file when the conversion process is complete.
The next section is “How to name files?”. SoundConverter defaults to simply changing the suffix, as in changing song.mp3 to song.ogg. If you have acquired all of your music from different sources, you can give all of your songs a consistent naming structure by selecting ‘Track number – Title’, ‘Track title’, ‘Artist – title’, or creating your own custom naming pattern. SoundConverter provides an example file name immediately under the option, so you can see ahead of time what kind of output to expect.
The final section is ‘Type of result’. This ambiguous question is asking which file format you want your file to be converted to. The format defaults to Ogg, but you can also select MP3, FLAC, WAV, and a few others. Quality defaults to ‘high’, but it ranges from ‘very low’ (~64 kbps) to ‘insanely high’ (~500 kbps). Beneath this menu is check-box to ‘use .oga extension’. This makes it easier to differentiate Ogg audio files from Ogg video files, which may use .ogv.
There is an option to resample, which defaults to 48000 Hz but ranges from 8000 Hz to 128000 Hz. This is followed by the options to force mono output and to limit the number of parallel jobs running at once.
That’s it. It’s difficult for me to imagine how to make SoundConverter any simpler than it is. If you want to convert a handful of albums, I encourage you to give SoundConverter a try. However, if you intend to convert your entire collection all at once, I’d recommend looking elsewhere. SoundConverter works best when tackling an album or two at a time.