Xrecode: a powerful audio converter with innovative features

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Xrecode is a free audio file conversion program that supports a wide range of formats.

It can also perform CUE splitting of audio files as well as an experimental feature that detects automatically silences to split a large audio file. Xrecode is optimized for converting multiple files in parallel in systems with muli-core CPUs.

I’ve reviewed a number of audio conversion programs here, but was sufficiently impressed with Xrecode to want to write about this little gem as well.

What I like about this program is the simplicity of the interface coupled with some serious power it packs the hood (as well as the CUE splitting, which I occasionally sought out). I am also intrigued by the audio file splitting based on the automatic detection of gaps/silences in a big file. Here are more notes on this program:

  • The user interface: employs a simple drag and drop interface for files or entire folders. You can keep adding files/folders by dragging while pressing CTRL. Settings and other dialogs are very nicely couched into the interface such that they are only seen if and when they are needed.
  • Supported filetypes: can convert to/from any of the following formats; MP3, WMA, OGG, APE, FLAC, WavPack, AAC, and WAVE.
  • CUE Splitting: simply drag the CUE file into the interface and watch Xrecode do its magic.
  • Xrecode split by silenceSplit by silence: this experimental feature allows you to set (a) the volume threshold, as well as (b) the length of the gap in seconds that the program will look for to pinpoint gaps between songs. This means that getting an accurate split will likely require some experimentation on you part, and whether or not all songs will be split off accurately is a big question mark.
  • Testing “split by silence”: in my experience this feature did not work at all for Jazz (splitting a John Coltrane album into a few dozen songs instead of 6), but did fairly well with a Tori Amos album, albeit chopping one of the tracks in two a few seconds into the song (the rest of the tracks, however, seemed to be split correctly). All in all I would recommend trying this option out but, if it doesn’t work, I do not recommend spending too much time with it and instead to save your time and energy and do the splitting manually (with a program like Audacity or MP3 Directcut).
  • Tag info: conversions retain tag information (I tested this on a couple of format conversions).
  • Parallel processing: you can set the number of files to process simultaneously in general, or you can do it in “advanced” mode where you set it for each file type. Parallel processing worked really well on my core duo (a 17 file conversion just zipped through at 3 simultaneous files). The website states that users might want to experiment to see what’s optimal for their system.
  • Other features: conversion from the command line interface, Unicode support. Supports 24Bit encoding (OGG, FLAC, APE, WavPack and WAV) and 32Bit encoding (OGG, WavPack, FLAC and WAV).

Wish list

  • FLV support. Increasingly important these days.
  • Support for Apple/Itunes formats: M4A, MP4, M4B (note: if you need to convert to M4B audiobook format check out MP3 to Ipod Audio Book Converter).

The verdict: there are many excellent freeware audio file conversion programs (Pepsky Free Audio Converter, Mediacoder Audio Edition, Any Audio Converter, BonkEnc, and others). What’s interesting about this one is (a) it is a well designed, streamlined tool, and (b) it has some innovative features with respect to splitting large audio files. It also is a pure converter that does not come with a CD ripping/burning component, which could be either a good thing or not a good thing, depending on your needs. If you are looking for a good pure audio converter by all means give this one a try.

Version Tested: 1.95

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 1.81 megs).