How To Convert & Extract Audio From Video Files With Gnac [Linux]

Danny Stieben 23-06-2011

extract audio from videoAt some point in your computer-using life, you’ve come to realize that not every song you have is in the right format for your MP3 player or any other device you may have. You may also have a video that you’d like to take the audio out of. In any case, it’s difficult to find the right program to do the job in Linux. Heck, I couldn’t find one that extracts audio from video in Windows, though I’m sure someone will eventually mention a program I overlooked.


However, Gnac does the job extremely well in a very simple format. By that, I mean that the user interface is as uncluttered as possible, there aren’t many options to get confused by, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, in an easy-to-understand way.


First you obviously need to install it. Ubuntu users get the pleasure of the availability of .deb files for easy installation. For everyone else, it’s going to be a bit tougher, but still overall easy. In this case, you’ll need to download the source and compile. No worries, as long as you have gcc installed, you can “cd” into the directory of where the source is, then run ./configure, make, and make install (make install as root, the rest as normal user).

You’ll probably run into a couple of problems during the configuration phase, but again, don’t worry. More than likely those error messages are just missing dependencies. Just install the needed package through your package manager and run ./configure again. Keep doing this until no more errors appear and it will finish configuring. Make will build the program for your system, and make install will install it. GNOME users can then find it under the Sound & Video category in their menu.


extract audio from video

When you launch Gnac, you’ll immediately see why I said that it’s so uncluttered. In my opinion the user interface cannot get any simpler than it already is. It is also very intuitive. You can add as many songs as you want to convert and videos you want to extract the audio from (yes, they all go into the same pile), check the list to see that everything is on there that you want to convert/extract, choose what file type you would like to receive, and hit convert.


extract audio file from video

Done. When the process completes, your new, shiny files are waiting for you.

extract audio file from video

You can also create new profiles to change the file type and quality of settings so you get exactly what you want.


extract audio from video

Although there aren’t many options in the program to get you confused, there are nevertheless a couple at your disposal. You do not have to change anything in case any of the options actually do confuse you, but there are some nice features for those who want them. For example, while the conversion is taking place, you can have a notification icon appear so you can work on other things while it converts in the background. You can also change the output folder, delete the original file when conversion finishes (probably not a good idea for videos, so I’d recommend to leave this unchecked), as well as some file and folder naming settings for the audio.


Gnac is a fantastic tool, even with its almost too simplistic approach. However, that simplicity serves the program well, letting users do exactly what they want it to do, with no surprises. It may not work very well for an audio professional, but for the casual home user, this is a highly recommended program.

How often do you need to convert audio, or extract audio from video? Have you been able to do this with Linux in the past? Let us know in the comments!


Related topics: GNOME Shell, Ubuntu.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Steve Burwinkel
    June 27, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Why not just use Avidemux. Just look for it in the repository and install. You can also download a version for windows as well.  What I really like about Avidemux is that you can also select at which point in a video file you wish to start and stop audio extracting.

    That comes in handy if you say have a long movie or tv episode and you just want to grab a small sound byte.  Gnac doesn't have this feature; you would have to extract the whole file and then run it through a sound editor like Audacity.

    On the other hand Gnac appears to be well suited if you want to extract audio from a whole bunch of video files in one batch.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 27, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Those are all very good points. Gnac, for me, deserved some recognition because of the abilities that it had for its ultra-lightweight design. I should play around with Avidemux some more...

  2. Larry_m7
    June 25, 2011 at 3:47 am

    I use VLC to extract mp3 files from flv files. It should work with other video files as it is supposed to be able to play anything. And VLC runs on Windows and Linux.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 27, 2011 at 7:39 am

      Could you explain how you do this? I use VLC regularly and never knew this!

      • Larry_m7
        June 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

        Start VLC then click to open the Media menu list. Click "Convert/Save ..."  In the new window, click "Add" to browse for the file you want to convert. Click the "Convert/Save" button at the bottom. Add an output file.  In the Settings section, click the Profile dropdown list to open it and select the format you want. Click "Start". Wait a bit then look for the output file Test it to make sure it was converted ok as some files didn't convert for me.

  3. Anonymous
    June 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Gnac won't accept any video file I try to add to it...including .flv files.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

      That's very strange, I had no problems when I wanted to add a video file. I even tested to make sure. :/

  4. Jahid56
    June 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    winff can do this also. Though I prefer ffmpeg.

    ffmpeg -i your_video.mp4 -vn -acodec libmp3lame -ab 192 -ac 2 -ar 44100 music.mp3

    • Danny Stieben
      June 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

      I might too if I'd get more into the terminal, but I tend to use something graphical if it exists.