fre:ac (formerly BonkEnc) is a both free and most excellent audio converter and CD ripper that you would be well advised to get your mitts on.

I’ve been using it for quite a while now and it’s reliable and very easy to use. It will convert between a range of audio file formats including MP3, MP4, OGG, FLAC and AAC. And conversion is the main use that I put it to, converting high bit rate audio files that I’ve bought to a lower bit rate (and smaller size) for playback on my Sansa Fuze.

It has also become my CD ripper of choice as it uses less memory than a full-blown music manager and seems to do a quicker job of ripping CD tracks to my hard drive. It also works very well with the CDDB database to retrieve and accurately append tag information to each track.

As well as that, it offers a whole range of other useful features such as:

  • automatic creation of cue sheets and playlists;
  • encoding to a single file;
  • filename patterns to ensure your audio files are automatically organised into the correct folders by artist, year, album, etc;
  • support for plug-ins, and;
  • a multi-language interface.

All of which is packaged into an easy to use interface.

As I mentioned, I’ve been using fre:ac for some time now and I think it is very good indeed. I’ve had no problems with it or the audio files it has output (either converted or ripped). So I can happily recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable audio converter and CD ripper.

fre:ac is also available in portable form so you can install it on a USB stick (using and take it’s conversion and ripping powers on the road with you.


This is another in the series of re-posted items from my now resting in peace blog, The Free Software Files.


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