Converting Audio Formats

Getting the swing

Article from Issue 50/2005

The command line swings. In this

issue of “Command Line”we investigate

how you can grab tracks from

audio CDs and convert sound files to

other formats. No matter whether

you choose wav,MP3 or Ogg Vorbis,

you can rely on the shell to convert

your files.

You do not need a GUI-based tool to

convert sound files to different formats

– the command line gives

you everything you need. To get started,

we will be looking at two programs that

grab tracks from audio CDs and store

them in wav format. Following that, we

will be looking at tips and tricks for

converting various audio formats and

learning how clever use of bash features

can speed up the process.

Grabbing with cdda2wav cdda2wav [1] (“compact disc digital

audio to wav”) is a program that most

distributors include. Debian users can

install the tool by running

apt-get install cdda2wav

Before you launch cdda2wav, check to

see if you can access your CD-ROM drive

with a non-privileged user account (see

Box 1). To grab a track, you need to use

the -t option and the track number. The

program also expects the device name of

your CD-ROM drive, which you can supply

by adding a -D option:

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