Fre:ac vs Freemake vs Xrecode vs MediaHuman vs Free Audio Converter

There exist a lot of free audio converters, and I’d like to help a little by comparing five very well known, including Xrecode, which is not free anymore, yet the last free version of it still works fine. All audio converters I review and compare here support the most common formats such as MP3, WMA, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and AAC. Fre:ac unfortunately won’t convert from or to APE audio files, a format that is also common, the absence of which can be a deal breaker. This means that to me the other converters provide the only way to go, if I need to convert APE files to some other format. But from all those converters only Xrecode creates APE files, converting other formats to APE.

Fre:ac provides a rather unnecessarily complex user interface and is the less easy to use of all these converters. You may find difficulties even to locate the menu to select output format! Fre:ac includes tagging options, which you may not need if you use a specialized media manager or just MP3Tag. Note also a definite advantage that Fre:ac provides VBR conversion for MP3 audio, even letting you define minimum bit rate, a feature provided only by Xrecode.

The first thing one notices opening the Free Audio Converter, is a title bar warning that the program is an UNACTIVATED VERSION, in capital letters. Free Audio Converter is annoyingly intrusive trying to promote its commercial version. Besides this, it won’t offer VBR conversion to MP3 audio at all! The interface is simple, if you don’t mind that while there is an “Add files” dialogue to add files to convert, you cannot drag and drop your files!

Freemake Audio Converter features easy to use interface, with the serious problem that this program too doesn’t support drag and drop! You have to browse to your files, and it won’t even remember the folder you just used! Note also that it doesn’t support VBR encoding of MP3 files.

MediaHuman Audio Converter is easy to use, supporting drag and drop and MP3 VBR conversions – yet without letting you define minimum bit rate. For instance, you cannot define a VBR range of 192-320! You can also use the program to split audio files by CUE, even automatically (the program asks to do that, if a cue file is included in the same folder with the audio file you are converting).

Finally Xrecode, the program I recommend, the last free version of which I publish here, is easy to use and efficient, splitting by CUE even automatically, creating VBR MP3 files in any way you like, converting to and from APE audio, supporting drag and drop or even the “Send To” context menu in Windows Explorer. It will even let you decide how many CPU cores you’d like to use, to delete your source files after conversion or not, and more.

Would you like to check even more? Read this review that compares four free audio converters not included here.