OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux]

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oggconvert intro   OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux]Our world is full with plenty of proprietary items, even if they’re among some of the most popular ones. Although people who are conscious about using open source software may understand the difference between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice in that context, but what about when it comes to things like file formats?

Sadly enough, the famous MP3 format for music is a proprietary product, and all devices which can play them have (or at least should have) a license to legally play them. All of this is rather invisible to the consumer, but the manufacturer of the devices have to pay a royalty to be able to add MP3 playback, and that added cost is then added to the final price.

In order to make a statement that you don’t support something proprietary, or to make sure that you are being 100% legal with your playback of music, it’s best if you convert your MP3 and similarly proprietary music files into a free format.

Why OGG?

We choose OGG because it is the most iconic format when it comes to free (as in speech) formats. It is a lossy codec, like MP3 and AAC, with great sound quality. OGG is usually the collective name for both the .ogg format, which is meant for music, and the .ogv format, which is the OGG variant for videos. Out of all lossy free formats, it is the most widely supported, as most desktop systems support it (if you have VLC media player installed, you’re good to go). Also, an increasing number of handheld devices are supporting OGG, especially those running Android.

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Converting

oggconvert main   OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux]
One of the main goals of OggConvert is to make it as easy as possible to convert whatever files you want on Linux. This becomes immediately apparent as soon as you open up the program, as there are simply a couple of settings that you really need to look at. You begin by choosing a source file, which is essentially the file you’d like to convert into OGG. Once you’ve chosen it, you’ll see a set of options suddenly becomes available.

oggconvert quality   OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux]
If you chose a video file, you’ll now be able to choose the video format, video quality, and audio quality. If you chose an audio file, you’ll only be able to change the audio quality. You’re welcome to change the sliders around and see how large they make the resulting file. One tip is not to maximize the quality sliders unless you could care less about how much space they take, because then the resulting file(s) will become quite massive, and it’s impossible for the quality to become better than the source through conversion.

oggconvert advanced   OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux]
Under Advanced, you can choose between different file formats if you prefer; OGG, Matroska, and WebM are all available. If you have specific needs, you’re welcome to choose any of these formats, but the most supported one by devices will be OGG. However, say if you want to convert a video and upload it to YouTube, using WebM may not be a bad idea.

oggconvert destination   OggConvert: Easily Convert Proprietary Formats Like MP3 Into Free Formats Like OGG [Linux]
Last but not least, you can choose the file name of the resulting file and where it should be changed. The defaults are the same file name (but different file extension) and the save folder as the source file. Once you feel confident in your selections, go ahead and click on Convert. Depending on the size of the source file and the quality settings that you chose, the amount of time it’ll take for the conversion to complete will vary greatly. Sadly, it still seems that you can only convert one file at a time using the program, but I’m sure there are some scripts floating around where you can convert a batch of files at once.

Installation

Installation of the program is fairly easy. Ubuntu users can search for OggConvert in the Ubuntu Software Center, or run the command sudo apt-get install oggconvert in the terminal. Fedora users can use the command sudo yum install oggconvert. Users of most other distributions should be able to find it in their respective package managers as “oggconvert” as well.

Conclusion

Converting files into different formats has always seemed like a scary and risky task, but thanks to OggConvert this has been extremely simplified so that anyone should feel very comfortable while using it. In the future, I do hope to see conversion for multiple files at the same time, but for now this will have to do. Any conversion into free formats is better than no conversion at all!

How useful will OggConvert be for you? What formats do you usually prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments!

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27 Comments - Write a Comment

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Ben Klaas

Assuming that the primary motivation for converting from an existing MP3 to OGG would be for the propietary->non-proprietary shift, I’d probably recommend going to FLAC, which is non-proprietary but also lossless. You’ll still have the loss from the original MP3 encoding, but won’t lose a bit more than that (hah!). If you are going from original source material, and portability isn’t a big concern, encoding directly to FLAC is even more strongly recommended.

I love OGG, but its niche is pretty extreme–it’s for people that don’t want to support a proprietary (but ubiquitous) lossy format but want instead a different lossy format. Lossy formats are better on disk space and are by that nature more portable, but if portability is a big concern, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you can pretty much guarantee MP3 support on a mobile device, whereas OGG…not so much.

Stephen

I’m not sure you’d want to convert MP3 to FLAC — you’ll end up with a bigger, very accurate copy of a lossy compressed file. The benefit of FLAC is that it creates a smaller file size than uncompressed music without losing the quality. The benefits of going from MP3 to FLAC are less clear cut.

I think it’s a bad idea to convert all your MP3 files to OGG to avoid dealing with copies of copies of originals, with each stage losing more and more detail. If you have MP3s, play them as MP3 and just don’t buy any more. Seek out FLAC copies of music made directly from the original.

That said, if you are going the lossless route, make sure you have speakers that let you enjoy the difference.

Harish Jonnalagadda

The sound system makes a huge difference when it comes to lossless sound. Took me ages to learn that fact.

Ryszard Grodzicki

That’s one of the most stupid things I’ve recently read. Converting from lossy codec to the lossless one is nonesense, because you are using up LOTS of space for nothing and you even lose information about the bitrate. The same is with converting to higher bitrates.
Even if you know that it’s not realy lossless, someone else you share the music with might think like that, so he’ll convert it to a lossy format – losing some information again. Try to do such a process few times and a file will be devastated.

Ben Klaas

Converting lossy->lossy loses more. I’m fully aware that you aren’t going to “gain” anything by converting to lossless, but you also won’t lose anything. In general, I would never recommend someone converting MP3->OGG. MP3->FLAC is not an activity I’d bother with either, but at least it does not suffer from further data loss.

My comment was that if your *primary motivation* was getting off a proprietary format, presumably for ideological reasons, you should convert to FLAC to avoid *losing more*. Disk space is cheap, and portability must not be a huge issue to someone doing this anyway, as OGG and FLAC both are not ubiquitously supported like MP3 is.

Matt Charman’s advice down the page “go back to the source to create the OGG (or FLAC)” is perhaps more pointed advice, but of course that’s only if you have access to the original uncompressed source.

For the record, opening a reply with a comment like “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve recently read” does not endear you to anyone, nor make you look intelligent.

Danny Stieben

You bring up a great point, Ben. I do love my FLAC files, but knowing that OGG is out there is also nice. This application just happens to specialize in converting into OGG.

William Smaling

I’ll probably convert my mp3s to ogg and use a lossless format like flac for ripping, well the stuff I really need to have high quality.

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Imesh Chandrasiri

I love freeware, but some times I get unsupported players for ogg. that sucks! :(

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Matt Charman

You shouldn’t convert your MP3 to Ogg, because both are a lossy format, and converting an MP3 to Ogg will not put back quality you have already lost.

If you want an Ogg version of a song you already have as an MP3, you must go back to the original uncompressed version, and create your Ogg from that (or in the case of CDs, just re-rip the songs).

I would still prefer MP3 howver, because it works on practically everything, and at the very high bitrates I usually use, the quality is still superb.

Ocram_Razor

This. If you try to convert mp3 songs in 128 kbps quality or less to FLAC, you’ll still songs with poor quality in a lossless format. MP3 songs at 320 kbps can be comparated with CD quality but… there’s something called Loudness War, and it also affects the way we hear music, because the final mix is too loud and it will sound bad no matter if it is in mp3, FLAC, OGG, AAC or any other audio format. The sad part is that most of the people doesn’t know or doesn’t care, and in the end we will have no-loss formats for music designed to be heard in cheap MP3 players with barely-OK earphones.

Danny Stieben

That’s true; I never said the quality would increase. In fact, I specifically said in the article that it wouldn’t get better than the source itself.

The article isn’t about the quality of the music, but how to switch to an open format.

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Charles Tomaras

I think aquiring and storing a music collection in lossy formats is ridiculous. I’ve ripped all of my large collection of CD’s to WMA Lossless (use the lossless format of your own choosing) and using DB Poweramp I can use all 8 cores of my processor to quickly convert to whatever lossy format my portable device of choice prefers while still maintaining a pristine master library. Was recently able to convert 15,000 songs from WMA Lossless to AAC in about 5 hours with DB Poweramp music converter. No reason I can see to purchase or transcode already lossy music.

Danny Stieben

OggConvert is able to change lossless files into OGG as well. It’s not limited to just MP3.

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Anonymous

Thanks for this info.

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Steve Chi

thanks for the feedback

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Scott Reyes

Ill have to stick with downloading a FLAC file for now … although i like the fact that ogg is non proprietary, im not willing to loose information on the music. Besides that who wouldent mind spending a few more Kbs of space for better sound?

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Deekshith Allamaneni

Thanks for this. But I think even VLC player has an option to convert to OGG. I remember I did some time. I always encourage open formats but OGG adoption is very slow.

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Abdelkader Hadjaissa

Converting a lossy format to another lossy format ??? will I lose some quality when doin this ?

Danny Stieben

Technically yes, but if you set your quality sliders correctly, that loss will be indistinguishably minimal.

Samizdat

This is wrong. The converter treats the source file as if it is a lossless source. To make an mp3 from a flac, it is reduced in the neighbourhood of 60%. When your source is lossless, this is fine. When you’re converting an already lossy format to another lossy format, you’re reducing it by another 60%. Lossless=100%->MP3 30%->MP3 10% of the original sound wave. Never transcode a lossy file, to anything. Encoding a lossy file to lossless is a waste of space and also leads to people making lossy transcodes of it. Leave your MP3s alone.

Robert

Exactly this. To transcode lossy–>lossy is completely silly and should never ever be attempted by anyone.

Danny Stieben

I’ve already stated in both the article as well as comments that yes, the quality does decrease every time you convert lossy-to-lossy. I never said that it’ll get better or stay the same. I only said that with high-enough settings, your files would only be minimally affected.

If people are still pointing at my use of MP3 in the title, then I am sorry for using a popular music format that everyone’s heard of in a title, and then mentioning in the article that it works for other formats as well, including lossless ones.

I hope this clears up that I do, in fact, know what I’m talking about. People can still find good use out of this program.

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Jake Thompson

It’s too much of a hassle and I really don’t see it as that much of an improvement to re-rip all my CDs to a new format. :(

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Samizdat

All in all, this is really bad advice. Kudos on banning peoples’ IPs who point this out. Do your homework before making suggestions like this.

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ML

hey Danny, I think you have zero clue what you’re talking about. How the hell you pass this off as a legitimate article is way over my head

Danny Stieben

Please read the other comments to answer your question.

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