Last update: 10 April 2009

Ripping Utilities

License: Open Source
Description: CDex is a small utility whose primary purpose is ripping CD audio to MP3s. CDex’s magic comes in its extras, however. It has the ability to rip to WAV files, rip partial WAVs/MP3s, and do audio conversion. It’s completely customizable, as well, and you can add as many different encoders as you like. In 2006, the project went under active development again after a long period of inactivity.
Exact Audio CopyExact Audio Copy
License: Freeware
Description: EAC is a very customizable CD ripper for Windows. It only uses external compressors. It is significant slower than CDex or Audiograbber, but with better error correction. This is ripper most serious audiophiles use. I recommend the Ogg Vorbis 1.1.1 encoder.

Editing Utilities

License: Open Source
Description: Audacity is the de facto standard for *nix audio editing, and it’s available for Windows as well. Use instead of programs like SoundForge.
VioLet Composer
License: Open Source
Description: VioLet Composer is not a general audio editor, but rather a studio for writing music from scratch. As such, it’s really only for hardcore techies, but I include it here anyway.
License: Open Source
Description: Linux MultiMedia Studio, despite its name, is a cross-platform (Qt4) sound editor and synthesizer, kind of like Fruity Loops and other similar programs. It sports a hefty featureset and a nice interface.


License: Open Source
Description: EasyTag is an open-source program that can write detailed audio tags to a wide variety of formats. It can do mass tagging, pattern-based tagging, and a whole host of other features. It requires the GTK+ runtime.
License: Freeware
Description: Mp3Tag, despite its name, can tag just about any kind of audio file you’re likely to have. It’s Windows-only, uses native widgets, and is both flexible and powerful.


License: Open Source
Description: FLAC is a lossless audio codec which produces a compression ratio of anywhere from 30% to 70%, depending on the media. It boasts the best overall decoding speed, making it suitable for portable devices, and in fact FLAC does have the best hardware support. It is open-source and patent-free.
License: Open Source
Description: LAME is an MP3 encoder that was originally a patch on the ISO demonstration source, but has removed any traces of patented code. It produces the best quality MP3s of any encoder on the market, and has a well-developed psychoacoustic model. The home page does not offer any binary compilation—just source—because of legal issues, but fresh compilations are always available at RareWares
Ogg VorbisOGG Vorbis
License: Open Source
Description: Vorbis is a lossy audio codec (comparable to MP3) that uses the OGG container pioneered by the Xiph Foundation. It claims transparency at lower bitrates than MP3, and is royalty- and patent-free. However, it is computationally more expensive to decode than MP3, and doesn’t enjoy the same widespread compatibility.
License: Open Source
Description: WavPack is a hybrid audio codec that can make either lossless files, or lossy files with a separate difference file which, when combines with the lossy file, will reform, Voltron-like, the original lossless file. It has compression rates and speeds comparable to FLAC, but enjoys considerably less support from software and hardware makers.
§1429 · By · October 10, 2006 ·

1 Comment to “Audio Utilities”

  1. Anon says:

    Wavosaur is also an excellent editing tool.
    I use it in combination with audacity since they have slightly different feature sets

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