So last week when I was normalizing all my downloaded mp3’s I found yet another problem. It would seem some of the old radio sites that I was downloading from kept their audio’s in Real Audio format (indicated usually with an ra or rm file type – the part after the “.”.)
I actually had already downloaded and used what was supposed to be an excellent and free tool called dBpoweramp. The last time I used it (months ago) it worked great – so function wise I certainly could not complain. They actually refer to it as “the Swiss army knife of audio™.”
However, for whatever reason the built in coding that they use to convert material to mp3 is, according to them no longer freely available. In their own words…
dBpowerAMP’s mp3 encoder (writer) is on a time limited 30 day trial license, illustrate has provided a 100% free encoder for many years, but a legal challenge (claims of patent infringement) has forced a change, the world cannot have a free mp3 encoder so it seems. This license is purchased through the Power Pack license (a series of enhancements to dBpowerAMP: Faster CD Ripping, Handles Compilation CDs, Preview CDs, ID Tag Editing, DSP Sound Effects and more)…all for $14
Now while $14 isn’t a lot of money it was a disappointment that I would now have to pay to use it and that they were claiming a free mp3 encoder didn’t exist. This of course, was too much of a challenge for me not to pass up!
Now to be fair to dBpowerAmp, there is indeed all sorts of litigation going on regarding MP3 codecs (the stuff that actually lets you do the conversion within the program.) The MP3 concept, format, programming and so on were originally developed by The Fraunhof Society and they are several others are still very actively trying to ensure that they control all rights and compensation for MP3. You can read more here if you wish.
However, one rebel of sorts, that seems to be out there and still useable is called “LAME” and it is used or associated with many of the freeware tools that are out there. So before spending $14 I decided to go look, and although needless to say it, I went looking on Google.
Once again it didn’t take long (I really love it when that happens) and I came across a small program designed with just one thing in mind – converting Real Audio files to MP3’s using the same “LAME” libraries that I mentioned earlier.
The program in question is the “Jodix RM to MP3 Converter” and it works extremely well. Not only does it do an excellent job of doing the conversion, it keeps the original file for you. Which is a great idea for us paranoid types.
The program is simple and straightforward and is focused on doing just one thing ra/rm files to mp3. The website lists an online tutorial, FAQ list and hints and tips. Here is a list of its published features.
- It’s clean and free, without any adware or spyware.
- It’s stable and fast.
- Easy-to-use wizard-like user interface helps you setup converting process easily.
- It uses up-to-date and high quality libraries.
- ID3 Tag can be derived from the input files automatically.
- Batch Processing is supported, it can process an unlimited number of files at one time.
- Detailed HTML help file is included.
- The installing and uninstalling process is very easy.
This is a very impressive piece of software and certainly worth including in your tools directory. What also impressed me was that they have actually developed several other tools and instead of trying to put them all into one “Swiss army knife” type of program, they kept it simple.
Each of their utilities are available separately, you only need to download the ones you want or need. Remember now, this is all freeware. There are no costs involved, just download, install and then use.
Here is what else they offer (as of this writing):
All this software is freeware, professionally written and of high quality. I’d like to thank Jodix for making such great tools available to the Internet community and look forward to what ever they come up with next!