How to use foobar2000 to convert audio files

by Skyler Huse on November 6, 2008

Windows

One of the reasons Foobar is a favorite application of mine is because it does so much stuff for a program its size. I’m going to be talking about audio conversion in this post, but that’s just one of the many things Foobar can do. It should be noted that I’m using the latest beta version of Foobar (9.6 Beta 3) which you can download here.

The first thing you’ll want to do is find a song you want to convert. First I’m going to be showing how to convert to MP3. Right click your song and click Convert… You should see the image below if you are using the latest version of Foobar. Click the drop down menu under Output format and choose MP3 (LAME). Choose an output path and set the name format. For the name format, %track% would be the track number of your songs, %title% would be the song name, %album% would be the album, etc.


click to enlarge

Now click on the button (high lighted in the image above) to get some more options for your MP3 format. This is really simple. Just drag to whichever side you want. High quality or low or somewhere in between. Click OK when you are done. Now, back in the Converter Setup window, click OK again. Foobar will ask you to locate lame.exe. If you don’t have this, you can download it here. Just extract it somewhere and point Foobar to it. I always keep lame in my Program Files folder. Click Open and Foobar will start converting.

Now I’ll show you how to convert to FLAC, the Free Lossless Audio Codec. It is a great thing to convert any .WAV files you have, as they will be the same quality, just a smaller size. Find the songs you want to convert, right click, click convert, and choose FLAC instead of MP3 this time. Click on the button to bring up FLACs setting. Choose whether you want the big or small file and click OK. Click OK again and you will be asked to locate flac.exe. You can download an installer for FLAC here. Once this is installed, the flac executable you are looking for will be in a FLAC folder in your Program Files folder. Click Open and Foobar will start encoding. NOTE: You’ll only want to encode .wav or uncompressed audio files using FLAC. Encoding MP3 or OGG files to flac will not increase their quality, it will just result in a much larger file size. For more information on lossless audio, see this post.

One last format you may want to think about converting to is OGG Vorbis. Which is an open source lossy audio format, like MP3, that can be a much higher quality. Follow the previous the steps and choose OGG Vorbis from the drop down menu. Click to set up the quality, click OK and then OK again. It will ask you to find oggenc.exe. You can download that here. I always just get the generic one to make things simple. Extract the contents of the zip you get somewhere, I like putting it in my Program Files, and rename it to just oggenc.exe. Now Open it in Foobar and it will start encoding.

To save time in the future, you can go to Foobar’s preferences by pressing Ctrl + P, clicking the + sign by the Tools entry, and clicking on Converter. Here you can edit your settings for different file types so you don’t have to re-enter them all the time. Just click on the file type, click Edit, set it to what you want, and click OK. Close the preferences window when you’re done.


click to enlarge

There is much more you can convert to with Foobar. Some of them being even easier to set up than those above. I think Foobar is a powerful application everyone should at least try. Enjoy your simple audio conversion.

  • Chris

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! I am a newbie to this kind on downloading and converting files . You made it so easy, thanks so much, it worked like a dream. Cheers Chris .

  • http://starvingartists.com skateboardkid

    Thanks for this I use foobar 2k and its soooo much better than itunes- winamp- or songbird.

  • Alex

    Exactly!

    This is how converting should be done the EASY & PROFESSIONAL way.

    Do NOT use Winamp and such crap. :)
    Foobar rules and so do you.

    Thanks a billion times for your eminent guide.

  • Floriano

    Bem instalei o foobar2000 versão 9.6.4 completa e o Lame porém não consigo localizar a opção de conversão já que pretendo converter a extensão *.flac para *.mp3 estar faltando alguma coisa a mais para ser instalado?, alguém poderia me ajudar neste sentido.
    Também não consigo localizar a opção que você relata acima ” Clique no seu canto direito e clique em Converter”
    Meus agradecimentos
    Floriano

  • Кирилл

    Sorry, i just so this page really bad translated to russian, so i was quite angry, maybe it was google translated page, so my fault, thank you for this page )

  • Mike 31

    After a while searching on internet i was pleased to find your foobar2000 help page for converting files. I’ve just tried converting .ape to .mp3 direct and it works really well reducing the .ape from about 26 megs to only 7 megs but keeping the same excellent quality. I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a fast reliable sound converter : Foobar2000 with this lame converter is the best. I’m just about to uninstall all the other conversion progs i have cluttering up my system !
    Thanks again for your clear straight forward explanations !

    Mike
    SW. France

  • Me

    how to use the CD-No. in name format? are there any other tags than title, track, album and artist?

  • Serb

    Thank you, espescialy for in-body links for encoders. Had not wast any time for their google-search, better spent it to leave positive comment :)

  • Murat

    Я скачал в формате Flac 2 альбома группы в одном файле где нет разбивки на трэки и на названия песен. Могу ли я через Foobar вернуть в аудио формат воспроизводимый через cd-плэйеры, с названиями песен и разбивкой на время и трэки? Спасибо заранее.

  • Davie

    I’ve been using foobar2000 for conversions quite a while now, but just today I was converting 320kbps .mp3 audio to 192kbps audio .mp3 files (to save on space) and all of a sudden the files are staying 320kbps and the total folder size is INCREASING!… I’m so confused why this is just happening randomly like this… Any thoughts?

  • http://www.lacard.com.ua Tema Lavrov

    Это самый конченный перевод из всех!
    наверное несколько раз прогнали из оригинала в русский и обратно :)

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  • Matt

    Thanks for the tutorial. :)

  • Dr3Tri

    I agree you on that. :) At first if was Winamp for decade but then i found Foobar. :D There’s no going back!

  • Azphel

    Thanks for this! Turns out all I was missing to make this conversion work was the LAME download file. Thanks for sharing !

  • Goody

    Thank you! Another newb to Foobar – I had been using MusicMatch Jukebox since version 5, bought a lifetime license somewhere around version 7, and had been steadfastly refusing to change when Yahoo bought it and then dropped support entirely. I finally had to replace the one computer that still ran XP and lost my ability to run MMJB on the new machine. This tutorial has made the change-over almost painless.

  • http://www.simplehelp.net/ Ross McKillop

    @906db230bc2db258916346be20fb8702:disqus – cool, I’m glad it helped

  • Dom

    thanks

  • Julie1989

    I cannot open flac.exe. I get a message about permissions. However, I get the properties of flac.exe and I make sure the security settings for the file have total content.
    I still cannot open the flac.exe the command-line encoder demanded for conversion to Flac by foobar2000.
    Any help?
    Thanks,
    Julie

  • Irgi

    Thanks… I appreciated it :)
    It works as well…