Creative Linux

The 5 Best Apps to Convert Audio and Video Files on Linux

James Frew Updated 04-12-2019

There are many media formats out there. This is good news for those who value choice but can be a significant downside when attempting to play your media. Some software won’t accept specific file formats. It can also be a real pain trying to move file formats between devices.


To get around this problem, you’ll want to download a media converter. Fortunately, Linux users are spoiled for choice when it comes to open-source audio and video converters.

Here are the best Linux media converters available today, covering a range of file formats.

1. soundKonverter

soundKonverter Screenshot

soundKonverter is one of the best Linux audio converters available today. The free software can convert most audio files, including MP3, FLAC, WMA, AAC, M4A, and a host of others. Despite the name, the app isn’t limited to audio formats. If you install some of the many extendable plugins, it can also be a video converter for Linux. Among others, it can transform MKV, MPEG, MOV, and MP4 video files.

Some settings allow you to specify audio file bitrate, whether to use the lame or FFmpeg plugins, and output directories. Switching between output types also enable you to specify file-specific options like compression rate for FLAC files, and output quality for Ogg Vorbis formats.


The biggest draw here is the speed; soundKonverter is among the fastest Linux media converters. For those who like to keep their media organized, the app can read, write, and preserve tags as well. Although most computers don’t come with disc drives these days, you can use soundKonverter to rip audio CDs, too, thanks to the cdparanoia back end.

2. HandBrake

HandBrake Screenshot

HandBrake is a well-established name in the media converter market. The app is probably best known as a Windows media converter, but the popular open-source video converter is also available for Linux, too. Unlike soundKonverter, HandBrake focuses solely on video conversion. It is also easy to use, offering built-in presets for specific devices.

These presets optimize the video conversion for your desired device, whether that be a smartphone, laptop, or TV. There’s a range of options, too, allowing you to add chapter markers, subtitles, and video filters. To help with organization, Handbrake enables you to add tags to the output file. You can crop the video and add scaling, too.


HandBrake is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows, making it among the best multi-platform video converters. This is handy if you use multiple operating systems, and would like consistency across each of them. If you have physical DVDs that you want to rip to your digital library, HandBrake can help there as well.

3. SoundConverter

SoundConverter Screenshot

Not to be confused with the similarly titled soundKonverter, SoundConverter is another excellent audio converter for Linux. The app is designed for GNOME Desktop and supports output to Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, MP3, and WAV audio formats.

However, it can read any audio file format supported by GStreamer. SoundConverter is a reasonably straight-forward app that allows you to convert between audio formats. The developers note that command-line tools will always be quicker, but that their app is only marginally slower and easier to use.


There are a range of options, allowing you to rename output files, adjust the bitrate, and preserve your CPU by limiting the number of parallel jobs.

4. FFmpeg

FFmpeg Screenshot

FFmpeg is one of the best MP3 converters for Linux or any platform for that matter. The cross-platform software is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. In that way, it offers a similar, cohesive experience to Handbrake, but for audio rather than video.

Not only is it one of the most established options, but it also supports the most extensive range of audio formats.


According to FFmpeg’s website, the software supports “pretty much anything that humans and machines have created.” FFmpeg is powerful in its own right, but the app’s libraries are also commonly used by other software to support various audio files.

For example, to export Audacity files to MP3, you’ll need to install FFmpeg. This is particularly useful if you want to record your vinyl records to your computer with Audacity How to Record Vinyl to Your Computer With Audacity Want to preserve your vinyl records with a digital copy? Here's how to easily record any vinyl album to your computer. Read More .

It is, primarily, a command-line tool, which may be intimidating for some users who prefer GUI applications. There are many FFmpeg front-ends that use the installed libraries, but don’t require knowledge of the command line to get started.

5. K3b

K3b Screenshot

Although most of us now consume media on our computers, laptops, and smartphones, sometimes you’ll want to use a dedicated CD or DVD player instead. If your library is digital, though, you’ll need to convert your media to the appropriate format and burn it to a physical disk.

K3b is one of the best CD and DVD creators for Linux and was first released back in 1998. Considering this, the software is modern, fast, and uncomplicated. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t powerful or packed with features, though. The app allows you to create projects which can be single or multi-disc.

For those of us who feel comfortable with physical backups, you can also use K3b to create data-only discs for backups, as well. Although not a common sight these days, you can also use the software to erase and format rewritable discs. If you are looking for more options, there are other ways to make and play DVDs in Linux How to Make and Play DVDs in Ubuntu You've switched from Windows. You're using your first Linux operating system. And you want to watch a DVD. But there is no integrated solution? Here's how you fix it. Read More , too.

The Best Linux Converter Apps

One of the reasons people opt to use Linux over macOS or Windows is choice. However, many companies only allow you to purchase or download media in specific formats, limiting which devices you can use them on.

These free media converters for Linux give you back that freedom. By easily transforming your media between formats, you can enjoy it on whichever device you desire.

Once you’ve got your files into your favored format, you’ll want a way to access them on all of your devices. Rather than manually copying your data around, consider using one of these media server software options for Linux The 8 Best Media Server Software Options for Linux Where do you start with Linux media servers? Plex is good, but we've checked some other strong options to help you choose. Read More instead.

Related topics: Audio Converter, File Conversion, Handbrake, Video Converter, Video Editor.

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  1. Ahmed
    May 10, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the info i've installed sound converter in my ubuntu 18.04, and it works great.

  2. Anonymous
    November 2, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Thanks, very useful!

    For those who'd like to convert audio files from command-line, I recommend using fmedia, it is very fast and it supports mp3, ogg, wav and flac formats:

  3. Nuno
    April 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    To convert video files in linux,

  4. Oubenal
    August 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I have just discovered Gnac (GNOME Audio Converter). They have just released a new version with amazing features like customizable folder hierarchy (I like to have my music organized like genre/artist/year - album/). The interface is really nice and very intuitive too.

  5. Javantea
    July 25, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned LiVES yet. It's not pretty, but it certainly is powerful in the video and audio editing side. (
    I guess converting is more a bonus for LiVES than the main feature.

  6. Tom
    July 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I was wondering about some good convert apps for Linux are, thanks for this.

  7. michael
    July 6, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Also check out cross platform browser extension to convert files into the ogg theora format :)

  8. chris
    July 5, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I use ffmpeg gui which runs on mono

  9. Varun
    July 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks from one Varun to another... good job! will really be helpful

  10. statmonkey
    July 1, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Nice little write up and appreciate the all inclusive links. I have always considered ffmpeg and sound converter pretty much all I ever need but nice to have options. For ripping though I have always liked Acid Rip and MEncoder is a must have. Acid Rip can be found here [Broken URL Removed]

  11. Edward.H
    June 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Cool apps! thanks! I'v submitted a link of this article to in order to share it with more people.

  12. doorknob60
    June 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Yeah, WinFF pretty much pwnz :) I love it, works great to convert vids to my rockboxed Sansa e260.

  13. Lukáš Polívka
    June 29, 2009 at 12:06 am

    There is also Transmaggedon and [Broken Link Removed] . Both for Gnome & Gstreamer-based. They should have compatible ‘presets’, only Transmaggedon is based more on bleeding-edge Gstreamer features, Arista relies on stable Gstreamer.

  14. AhmadAboBAkr
    June 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I think the best video converter out there is "Fuoco tools"
    Not in the repo bu a great how to can be found on ubuntu forums

    • Kimme Utsi
      June 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks for this little tip. Will test out Fuoco tols on my Jaunty.

  15. Rambo Tribble
    June 28, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Whither LAME? Does it not bear inclusion amongst the "command line tools"?

  16. Harley
    June 28, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Another great tool is Mobile Media Converter from MIKSOFT, I prefer this to WinFF, and it also converts Youtube videos direct from the website.

  17. DAdams
    June 28, 2009 at 10:07 am

    You might be able to use one of these to convert a file to mkv, but try and watch it using Linux. The codecs for HD aren't up to the task.

  18. Tyrone
    June 28, 2009 at 9:08 am

    File conversion is the crown jewel of Linux and this is a handy guide.

  19. Vadim
    June 28, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Arista can transcode too.

    What I'd really appreciate is the most user-friendly way, on Linux, to convert videos for the android 2nd gen phone (htc magic).

  20. Monica
    June 28, 2009 at 4:27 am

    I had no idea about all this.. used to think if vlc cant support it then that file is of no use :)

    Thanks for the info!

  21. Zac
    June 28, 2009 at 3:30 am

    Thanks, I didn't know about winff.

    Avidemux is also very good which I use regularly. Available in the repositories.

  22. no u
    June 28, 2009 at 1:19 am

    this is what i love about linux, when you find a program you want its in the wrong package format. this is why linux is not for the average desktop user

  23. 908
    June 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    AVI isn't supported anymore in the SVN HandBrake thankfully. Death to AVI container. ffmpeg terminal is the bomb...Yo! Educate yourself.

    • Say Huh?
      June 28, 2009 at 10:03 am

      How is it ever a good thing when a format converter stops supporting a format? By its very definition, a format converter should support as many formats as possible.

      I understand that you don't like AVI but, it should never be removed. It's one thing to not develop support for a particular format but, to remove pre-existing support for a format is stupid.