New Projects - Fresh from the Labs

Transcoder Audio Edition—Audio Extraction and Conversion (transcoderae84.sourceforge.net)

If you're looking for an audio converter, you could do much worse than this elegant little program. However, Transcoder's real draw is not its conversion abilities, but its extraction abilities. Feed it a video for which you've always wanted the sound (music videos spring instantly to mind), and you can extract it to play anytime you like. To quote the Web site: “Transcoder Audio Edition is an audio converter for Linux that can convert from one audio format into another and can extract audio tracks from video files and convert them into audio formats. It uses GTK+ as the GUI toolkit and FFmpeg as the back end.”

Transcoder AE is an elegant and simple tool for extracting audio from video files.

Here I've used Transcoder to extract the audio from a bad mix of a live performance to remaster it independently and sync it back with the video.

Installation

Available at the Web site is a 32-bit Debian binary (the recommended choice if possible), along with a “Binary+Source” tarball. I cover both here.

Documentation is sorely lacking, but fortunately, usage is very simple. Library requirements are minimal, with the only two real dependencies being the libglib2 and libgtk2 libraries.

I went with the Debian package first, but I had to force the architecture, as I'm running a 64-bit OS. Once installed, the program just worked with no issues. For the binary, run the program with the command:

$ Transcoderae

If you're going with the tarball, simply extract the tarball, open a terminal in the folder, and enter the command:

$ ./Transcoder 

Usage

My time with Transcoder was very easy; the interface is as simple as they come. First, click the Add button, and choose either the sound file you want to convert or the video from which you wish to extract audio. On the right is the field for the Output folder, where your resulting file ends up. If you don't want the file ending up in Home, click Browse and choose another folder.

Down below are the encoding options (very important—my installation had the choice of Vorbis, AAC, MP3, MP2, AMR-NB and FLAC). Next, you can specify the bitrate, followed by the sampling rate (44100 is CD audio quality; 48000 is what you get on DVDs). Finally, you have the Channels option, set to 2 by default (stereo), and you also can specify how many processing threads to use.

Then, press Convert, and that's pretty much it.

Although this idea is by no means new, the execution is wonderful, and no one is going to be put off by such a simple interface. The applications for this program are incredibly useful. For instance, you could extract the audio from a clip you grabbed from YouTube and play it in your car. Or, you could remaster some bad audio in a video file (which I'm currently attempting on both a Metallica and a Massive Attack video, where some crucial sound has been lost after a surround-to-stereo downmix). Or you simply can convert one sound file to another in a clutter-free GUI that doesn't get in the way.

Either way, Transcoder Audio Edition is a painless program that will be of instant use to countless multimedia users.

______________________

John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.

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