Need Vista Compatible .wav to .mp3 converter software
June 2, 2008 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I need a Vista-compatable, cheap or freeware audio interface that can convert a .wav file to .mp3.

I just got a nice 8-track hard disk recorder which outputs to a computer in a .wav format. The guy at [gulp] guitar center said that there are no good audio programs that work with Vista. Since I automatically don't believe anything that anyone who works at guitar center says, I'm here asking about it.

I'm planning on doing all of my mixdowns on the platform, not on the computer, so I'm not concerned with a program that does much more than convert the .wav files to .mp3 so I can put them up on the band's webpage and/or send around to the rest of the band.

Looking for the quick and dirty solution here and I'm not going to be using the software to do any real work, so no need for recommendations for a complete recording set up.
posted by Ironmouth to Media & Arts (16 answers total)

If you want to have a GUI front end, add on the open source

Both are free, both are easy installs, and then you can convert to MP3s very quickly.
posted by arniec at 12:11 PM on June 2, 2008

Sorry for the double post...the first one had bad HTML...I'll preview from now on ::oops::

LAME is an open source MP3 encoder. It will do what you want...BUT it's command line only.

If you want to have a GUI front end, add on the open source Mediacoder.

Both are free, both are easy installs, and then you can convert to MP3s very quickly.
posted by arniec at 12:12 PM on June 2, 2008

You can use foobar2000 as a LAME/NERO AAC/FLAC whatever batch conversion tool. Way less crap included than mediacoder or winamp or mediamonkey.

If you're OK with a command-line process, something like a high-quality VBR mp3 is as easy as lame -V 2 --vbr-new infile.wav outfile.mp3 while compressing for the web could be lame -b 192 -h --cbr infile.wav outfile.mp3.

If you really need a cut-down GUI, try LamedropXPd where you set the options with a contextual menu and then drag-and-drop your input files.

With any of the above, you'll need the Windows LAME binary because for legal reasons the LAME project can't host it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:21 PM on June 2, 2008

Best answer: I use CDex for this. It's simple and it works without taking over or the need to learn some huge media appliance application.
posted by Mitheral at 12:29 PM on June 2, 2008

Response by poster: I need easy on this. I'm no computer person. Which is the best for the less computer inclined?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:36 PM on June 2, 2008

Which is the best for the less computer inclined?

LameDropXPd (linked in my first post in this thread) basically works like: launch program, right-click on icon and select mp3 quality and output directory, drag and drop .WAV files on icon, drink some coffee while files convert, finished.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2008

Response by poster: What is Windows LAME binary? That's the part that bothers me.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:47 PM on June 2, 2008

LAME is the library that actually does the conversion to MP3. CDex comes with LAME if you download the installer so no separate install.
posted by Mitheral at 1:20 PM on June 2, 2008

Zune Video Converter is free, simple, and has never failed me. Drag & drop a bunch of files from anywhere (explorer window, for instance), and freely convert between FLV, MP3, MPG, MP4, WMV... Despite the "Video" part of the name, it converts several audio formats.

Simple video conversions (such as resolution or rotation) are also possible, and the program remembers settings (last input & output directories, naming conventions, etc).
posted by IAmBroom at 2:01 PM on June 2, 2008

The reason for this mess is that the the method for making mp3's is patented in the US. As such, anyone distributing a program that converts sound files like wav to mp3 in the US has to pay the patent holder a fee for every copy distributed.

As such, the program that does the actual maths behind the scene creating an mp3, LAME, has to be hosted outside the US, separate to any US hosted program that does the rest of the interface. It's also one of the reasons windows can only create windows media files using the built in tools, and not mp3s.

Yes, it sucks that the US allows patents on pretty basic maths. GIF image files used to have the same problem, and JPEG still does.

Downloading LAME is no different than downloading any other program, it's just split out separately because of the patent. Some programs can include LAME (or its equivalent) because they're outside the US altogether.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:30 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've been using CDex with the LAME codec for years and years. It works great.
posted by rhizome at 2:39 PM on June 2, 2008

iTunes -- open wav file in iTunes, right click on file, select "convert selection to mp3".
posted by puritycontrol at 3:28 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thirding CDEX - you just click one button to convert WAV to MP3 and you can set up the MP3 quality that you want for the conversion (if you are fussy). The Lame encoder is built in - so all you need is the CDEX program. I have been using this for years - dead easy!
posted by Susurration at 6:22 PM on June 2, 2008

iTunes actually has a good mp3 encoder, as does Quicktime Pro.
posted by MythMaker at 7:18 PM on June 2, 2008

Response by poster: thanks all! working great.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:30 PM on June 2, 2008

Not trying to hijack, but I have basically the same questions about converting WMAs to MP3. Do any of these programs do that as well?
posted by jluce50 at 7:08 AM on June 3, 2008

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