Encoding / Transcoding
Encoding of digital media happens at the same time you rip your media. However often times the formats that are output are not ideal for your purposes or you have a need to recode the file into a different format.
One note of caution, transcoding between different lossy formats is a bad idea because different codecs use different tricks to reduce file size (and each has some affect on sound quality) therefore transcoding between lossy incures a double-wammy for audio quality.
The following tools are useful for encoding and transcoding between file formats:
Windows (XP / 2000):
+ Freeware and Open Source+ Also acts as a player+ Highly configurable+ Supports !ReplayGain- Not beautiful in default install- Not ideal for multi-album transcoding- Beta (under heavy developement)
Supports: Nearly all formats
+ Freeware (but see below)+ Supports a huge number of formats+ Very good for multi-album transcoding+ Can transcode for the iPod- PowerPack is !CommercialWare and is needed for MP3 encoding
A full list of codecs supported can be downloaded here.
Designed to transcode to existing media files into iPod playable formats (also has a number of other iPod specific features). Supports: AAC, MP4, MP3, WMA, Windows Media 9, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC.
+ Freeware (but see below)- More features available in Commercial Ware versions
Created by a member of the Slim Community. Supports: Converts from Flac to MP3 using Lame.
+ Simple and bloat-free+ Great for multi-album conversions- Requires perl environment- Limited amount of programming knowledge needed
Supports: FLAC, Shorten, MP3, AAC, others...?
+ A good media player and library manager- TrialWare