A while ago I wrote about the Perl Audio Converter, which is a fantastic set of encoding scripts that integrate perfectly with KDE and its file managers (either Konqueror or Dolphin), but I usually use GNOME, a different environment. Unfortunately, while it can certainly be used (and I currently have it installed), the Perl Audio Converter can only be accessed in GNOME via the Terminal. There is a standard script (nautilus-script-audio-convert, for anyone using Ubuntu), but there are a couple things I don’t like about it. However, I recently stumbled on the very similarly-named Nautilus Sound Converter, and I like it. A lot.
Both work very similarly. Simply highlight the music you want to convert to a different format (for instance, from WAV to MP3 or from FLAC to AAC), and right-click. A pop-up menu will appear. Using nautilus-script-audio-convert, you access its interface by first navigating to the Scripts menu, then to the correct item. With Nautilus Sound Converter, on the other hand, it’s a little easier. At installation, it adds a new item to the main contextual menu (called Convert…), so clicking on it is just that much quicker.
Once you’ve done so, up pops a dialog box asking you what your preferred format is (WAV, FLAC, AAC, MP3, etc…), which you can access via the pop-up menu. If you want to choose something slightly different than your defaults, you can simply click the “Edit Profiles…” button and tweak to your heart’s content. After you have all your settings the way you want them, just hit the “Convert” button and a single window will appear with two progress bars.
The top progress bar lets you know how many items you have to convert in total, and which number the one currently being processed is on that list. The second progress bar shows you how far along each individual conversion process is. This is fantastic for two reasons. First, with “nautilus-script-audio-convert,” you only are shown the progress of each individual song, not the entire batch, so while a particular song might be close to finishing, you have no idea how many more there are to go.
Second (and this is what bothers me most about “nautilus-script-audio-convert”), you don’t get a nice window, you get a window for each song being converted! Once one song is done converting, its window disappears, then another window appears, until it too has finished, at which point it disappears and another takes its place, until the whole process is complete. What this means, of course, is that while you’re using “nautilus-script-audio-convert,” you pretty much can’t do anything else, because with each new song to convert, a new window pops up (on top of your word processor or web browser or any other program). Again, Nautilus Sound Converter does things far more logically in my mind.
Really, I have nothing to complain about with Gnome Sound Converter. It’s simple to use, fast at what it does, and compared to the other option, is far and away the best choice. The source package for Gnome Sound Converter can be downloaded from its home page, or else look for it in your official distribution repositories.