I'm looking for a program to convert flac files to mp3, while preserving the embedded metadata (including album art).

I'm pretty sure this is possible with ffmpeg, but I don't know the command . . .

EDIT: This is on Windows 7, but I also use mac/linux, so whatever tool works the best, I'm happy to use.

  • Embedding album art in audio files doesn't make sense to me. It's an "album" art, not a "song" art. It multiply the space used by the number of tracks. And there's no real standard.
    – fluxtendu
    Feb 17 '10 at 7:56
  • @fluxtendu, I see your point, but I have my reasons. Feb 17 '10 at 16:02

foobar2000 (on Windows) has a built-in, multi-format converter. To convert to mp3, you need to download the LAME mp3 encoder binary files; foobar2000 will ask for the location of lame.exe before converting.

  • The conversion is great, and I really like it, but the embedded album art is not preserved. Feb 20 '10 at 21:50
  • 1
    @Jason Ah, yes, with foobar2000 you may have to do some manual post-conversion work with Tag&Rename or Mp3tag or something similar.
    – sblair
    Feb 21 '10 at 20:04
  • Thanks for the 'foobar2000' recommendation. Nice conversion program. Aug 28 '11 at 5:19

xrecode II preserves album art and other metadata, and is fast -- it uses all available cores. It's shareware, and works very well on Windows 7.

  • 1
    What are the limitations of the shareware?
    – nimcap
    Apr 18 '11 at 16:46
  • 1
    No limitation other than the nag screen that makes you wait to use it...xrecode.com/xrecode2/register_en.htm
    – Moab
    Jun 2 '12 at 16:21
  • 1
    ...impressively fast! Thumbs up :-) Dec 18 '12 at 14:25
  • @GuðmundurH: ...and impressively free (I don't count the nag screen). +1
    – Neolisk
    Nov 15 '13 at 2:13
ffmpeg -i input.flac -ab 196k -ac 2 -ar 48000 output.mp3

I'm not sure if it keeps tag and metadata. If FFmpeg doesn't work, for what platform do you need your converted (Windows, OSx, Linux) ?

  • At least the version of ffmpeg I have does seem to preserve tags by default. -ab 196k specifies a constant bitrate. ffmpeg -i input.flac -aq 2 output.mp3 would encode the audio as VBR V2 instead. Five channel FLAC files are converted to two channel MP3 files by default. The sample rate is also converted to 48.1 kHz by default if it's higher than that in the input file. -ar 48000 would also convert 44.1 kHz FLACs to 48 kHz MP3.
    – Lri
    Jul 14 '12 at 15:12

Since you're using Linux, get SoundConverter.

alt text

The sound conversion application for the GNOME environment. It reads anything the GStreamer library can read (Ogg Vorbis, AAC, MP3, FLAC, WAV, AVI, MPEG, MOV, M4A, AC3, DTS, ALAC, MPC, Shorten, APE, SID, etc...), and writes WAV, FLAC, MP3, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis files.

SoundConverter aims to be simple to use, and very fast. Thanks to its multithreaded design, it will use as many cores as possible to speed up the conversion. It can also extract the audio from videos.

SoundConverter preserves meta information (tags).

  • +1 Works nicely for relatively small numbers of files, but doesn't scale to bulk conversion of ~8000 flac tracks.
    – starblue
    Nov 14 '10 at 10:38

Media Monkey can do this.

It's Windows based (but you haven't specified your OS) and the mp3 encoder that comes with the free version is time limited. However, you can just replace the dll manually to remove this restriction.

It will also do batch conversions. You can either add your flac files to the library or just browse to them using the built in explorer view, select them all and then Tools > Convert Audio Format works on all the selected items.


Is this linux? mp3fs is an elegant solution. It is a FUSE file system that presents your FLACs as MP3s transparently.

  • Thanks for the link -- I hadn't heard of mp3fs; it sounds awesome. Feb 17 '10 at 16:05

dBpoweramp Music Converter preserves embedded album art when converting from FLAC to mp3.

  • Not free but awesome software, still using version 11.5, I like it better than any other version.
    – Moab
    Jun 2 '12 at 16:22

Max for Mac OS does this quickly and easily.

  • Doesn't work that well anymore.
    – Ory Band
    Aug 31 '11 at 23:01

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