Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors
Top Deals On Great Products
Picked by Techconnect's Editors
I liked fre:ac when it was bonkenc, and I like it now. It's the second-best free audio converter available (after Freemake's Audio Converter), and--if granularity over the quality of the conversions, support for Windows Media Lossless Audio, and command line access are priorities--deserving of download.
Though not in Freemake's class as far as making things simple, Fre:ac is generally easy to use. All my interface complaints are relatively minor. For instance, the GUI designers decided to use a smaller font and controls, which are hard on older eyes. Also, the icons only reveal their color when you mouse-over, and one dialog refers to high-quality as 0 and low-quality as 5. But it gets the job done, even if I have to squint a bit.
In my tests, fre:ac did a great job converting the file types in understands, and that's quite a few: MP3, Ogg, FLAC, WMA (including lossless--a hole in Freemake's support), and 44Khz/48Khz wave files up to 24-bit in word size. Unfortunately, there's no support for the APE, 64kHz/92kHz wave files, AAC, and Apple lossless files that Freemake Audio Converter handles. Fre:ac's major strength is that it allows you to precisely tailor the bit rates and quality of the output files. It may also be run from the command line which could be handy for some. On the other hand, it doesn't handle file name conflicts well at all--only giving you an option to overwrite the existing file.
Other nice fre:ac features are the ability to encode all songs to a single file (for easy editing, or non-stop medleys), and to generate a playlist and/or cue sheet to accompany the conversions. It also tracks the files it converts and keeps them stored in a database.
Generally speaking, most users will be better off with the easier, more versatile Freemake Audio Converter, but fre:ac has its strengths--especially the granular control, database, and command line.
--Jon L. Jacobi
Formerly BonkEnc, this audio converter is free, offers granular control over output, and provides a command line option.
- Granular quality controls
- Comprehensive codec support
- No support for AAC, Apple lossless, some .WAVs
eBay coupons for January 2020
Extra 15% off select items with eBay coupon
Lenovo coupons for January 2020
$100 off your next purchase
Microsoft sales for January 2020
Students & parents get 10% off sitewide at Microsoft
iRobot coupons for January 2020
Roomba s9+ Vacuum & Braava Jet m6 Mop Bundle - Get up to $190 off at iRobot
Newegg promo codes for January 2020
Save $210 on Tesvor Smart Robot Vaccum at Newegg
HP coupon codes for January 2020
Take $10 off on $50 accessories order with HP coupon code