"Free Audio & MP3 Converter"
When you want to convert audio files into a different format for playing on devices that have limited file type support, or just for having all your music files in the same format, Freemake Audio Converter can help you do it with no cost at all. It accepts more than 40 file formats and converts them to most common types, plus it can extract the audio from video files as well.
First thing you notice during installation is the checkbox that asks you if you want to let the program send anonymous usage statistics and crash reports to Freemake. Afterwards you choose what type of installation you want to make, Default or Custom. Default installation includes a toolbar for Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox, which makes Freemake default search and homepage. You can choose not to install this toolbar by clicking the Custom installation and unchecking the checkboxes. In the next step, the core files will be downloaded and will be installed. When that’s finished, there is one more application that Freemake recommends installing (Nitro PDF Reader). If you choose not to install that software, then this is the last step of the setup and you can proceed to launching Audio Converter.
While currently it is only supported by Windows OS, there are plans of developing a Mac version in the future.
The bizarre interface consists of a menu bar on top, a main area to list the files to be encoded including information about them, and buttons at the bottom, from where you select the format you wish to convert your file to. When inactive, the main window becomes a bit desaturated.
When finished converting, you can send the new files directly to Itunes from within the program. This saves you time from locating the files, opening Itunes and adding them manually in the library.
A unique feature that not many conversion software have is the ability to join audio files into one music file. For example you might want to create an MP3 audiobook composed of many audio files. You add the files, switch on the option on the top right corner of the window that says “Join Files” and click the MP3 format button to begin the merging and conversion process.
Moreover, you can add video files and export the audio. Supported video file formats are DVD, H.264, AVI, MPEG, MP4, MKV, DIVX, MOV, WMV, VOB, 3GP, RM, QT, FLV and more.
You can only convert into 6 file types: MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC, M4A and OGG. It's enough for most users since these are the most popular audio formats, however, if you need a less popular format, you can’t convert your files to it. In addition, the loading box that pops up when you add files seems to have some minor graphical glitches.
There are hundreds of alternatives around the web, like Super Converter, foobar2000, Absolute Audio Converter, Digital Audio Converter, Winamp, dBpoweramp, Helium Audio Converter, and fre:ac, with Super Converter being the best out of those. Note that Winamp and foobar2000 are multimedia players but have encoding functionalities.
Freemake Audio Converter might not have many encoding options, but it has some interesting features implemented and a superb, clean, and easy-to-use interface, that make it stand out from the crowd. Freemake promises a Mac version and a new feature that will let you burn Audio CD and MP3 disc, so perhaps then it will be become an even more powerful conversion software.
Requirements: .Net 4.5 Framework Client profile
What's new in this version: Minor bug fixes