How to convert .flac files to .mp3 using Ubuntu Linux

You’ve downloaded some flac files, perhaps from and now you want to convert the flac files to mp3 to take with you on your iPod or MP3 player. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to do just that, using Ubuntu Linux.

  1. Start out by launching the Synaptic Package Manager by selecting System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manger. Click the Search button and run a search for gstreamer. Locate gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse, place a check in the box next to it and select Mark for Installation from the pop-up.

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  3. Now run a new search and search for the phrase soundconverter. Again, place a check next to it and select Mark for Installation. Click the Apply button from the top Toolbar.

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  5. Now you’ll be prompted to install new packages. Again, click Apply.
  6. To launch Sound Converter, select Applications -> Sound & Video -> Sound Converter.
  7. Once Sound Converter opens, select Edit -> Preferences

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  9. From the Where to place results? section, select the location where you want to save your converted MP3 files. In the How to name files? section, I prefer the default (Save as input, but replace the suffix) – but you can make any change to suit your preferences.

    Finally, the the Type of results? section, select your preferred output format (probably MP3). For the Bitrate mode: and Quality:, again, I prefer the defaults – but you can make any changes you see fit. Once you set all the preferences to your liking, click the Close button.

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  11. Now it’s time to convert some flac files. Select Add Folder if you have a folder of flac files (that’s how I’ll be doing it in this example) or Add File if you just want to convert one.

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  13. Navigate to the folder containing your flac files (or the individual flac if you’re just converting one) – select it, and click Open.

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  15. Finally it’s time – click the Convert button from the top Toolbar.

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  17. The status of the conversion will appear in the bottom left corner.

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  19. Once the conversion has completed, open the folder you specified way back in step #6 (Where to place results?) and all of your newly converted MP3s will be there waiting for you. That’s it – you’re done!

20 thoughts on “How to convert .flac files to .mp3 using Ubuntu Linux”

  1. Justin,

    Normally I’d delete your comment as spam (not a big fan of other people leaving comments with links to their blog posts), but that’s actually a very cool concept and setup you have. I wonder how much of a hassle it would be to port/setup in OS X….

  2. Yeah, I don’t usually spam my own blog in other blog’s comments, but the two articles relate very closely. No idea on the OS X possibility, but if you get it working write a post on it. You can then post a comment on my article linking back to yours, and we’ll be even ;-)

  3. I’ve just been using your earlier Windows based post on .flac to .mp3 conversion using Winamp and iTunes. Sadly the current version of iTunes does not perform the conversion. There is, however, a very, very simple way to do this on Linux, OS X and Windows platforms.
    Audacity is freeware, the appropriate platform version can be downloaded from
    This is a one program two step process.
    1) Open the .flac file
    2) Export as an .mp3
    It really is as simple as that.
    This is cross-platform, extremely simple and relatively fast (about 30 minutes for a full CD’s worth on a 1.6 GHz processor) and aside form anything else Audacity is a superb piece of software.

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  5. Randall Thomas

    Thanks for your awesome advice. What is amazing is the speed. Using MediaMonkey on my Windows laptop, converting a CD was a 12-15 minute process. This sound converter in Ubuntu did a CD in 1:35 minutes. The thermometer bar moved so quickly, I thought that it was for one song as that would be the normal pace. It’s just amazing that an entire CD was converted from FLAC to MP3 in that small amount of time.

  6. Great tutorial. Soundconverter seems like a great program for converting these files. It even used both my cores when converting–I saw my cpu monitor maxed out for the first time!

  7. WOOT! Thanks for the info. I was in a pinch here with my daughter; needed a offline audio track. We got a FLAC file by recording from headphone to mic, but my HP UBUNTU is playing everything back out the laptops speakers and the headphones. She needed the audio on her iPOD to accommodate her project in a place you can’t be heard. Your instructions were flawless. Wish I could hug you; you’re upholding the meaning of UBUNTU!

  8. Thank you! Not only did it convert my .flac-files, but it also managed to take some .m4a’s in the process, all within 4 minutes. Wow

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