Open Source Musings The thoughts, ideas, and opinions of an open source guy

Converting media to open formats with OggConvert

Whenever possible I try to convert media in proprietary formats to free formats – like Ogg Vorbis or FLAC instead of MP3 or Ogg Theora rather than WMV or MP4. There are a number of excellent tools for the Linux desktop and command line for doing those conversion.

While I have a set of tools that I use to do media conversions, I recently stumbled across another one called OggConvert. While it hasn’t been updated in a while, OggConvert is a simple and very effective piece of software. It’s one of those applications that does one thing – in this case convert audio and video to Ogg – and does it well.

Let’s take a look at it.

Getting started

Obviously, you’ll need to download and install OggConvert. I couldn’t find it in Linux Mint’s software centre or using Synaptic, but that not be the case with your distro’s package manager. However, you can find source files and installers for Ubuntu and Debian here.

As long as OggConvert’s requirements are met (and a reasonably recent distro should have all the dependencies installed by default), then the installation should go smoothly. Once the installation is complete, the installer (at least under Linux Mint) adds a launcher icon under Menu > Sound & Video.

Using OggConvert

Remember when I said that OggConvert was simple? That goes for everything about it. Including the interface.

OggConvert main window

Click the Source list and find the file that you want to convert. You can convert either an audio or a video file. For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll be converting an MP3 audio file.

File selected in OggConvert

You’ll notice that a few more elements of the interface become available. The main one is the Audio Quality slider. By default, the quality is set to 3. That will produce a smaller file, but it won’t sound all that great. You can move the slider to the right and increase the quality up to 10. Just remember that the higher the quality, the bigger the file.

You can also click the Advanced option to select the file format. Your choices are Ogg, which is the default, and Matroska. I stick with Ogg.

OggConvert uses the same file name (but with the .ogg extension) and same folder as the original file. If you want to change either, you can do that by editing the File Name field and/or clicking the Save Folder list and selecting a new destination folder.

Once you’ve done all that, click the Convert. A dialog box, that shows the progress of the conversion, appears.

Conversion in progress

Once the conversion is complete, OggConvert displays a confirmation message.

Conversion finished

From there, you can play the file in any media player that supports Ogg, like VLC Media Player.

Converted file in a media player

If the original file contained any information — metadata about the song and/or album cover art — that gets carried over to the converted file, as you can see in the screen capture above.

Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.

Did you enjoy this post or find it useful? Then please consider supporting this blog with a micropayment via Liberapay. Thanks!