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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Preparing the stereo source files for a conversion

Quick links:

  1. Rip a CD
  2. Convert .flac or .ape files to .wav
  3. Create a cue file
  4. Joining separate .flac or .wav files into one long .wav
  5. Preparing the source files with foobar2000
  6. Resample .wav files


Commercial software required

  • r8brain Pro, current version, optional
  • Sony Sound Forge, current version, optional

Free software required

  • Exact Audio Copy, current version
  • FLAC encoder/decoder, current version
  • shntool, current version
  • BatchEnc, current version
  • Cue_Assembler Excel spreadsheet, see Attachment
  • foobar2000, current version
  • r8brain, current version



This article covers the steps involved in preparing the stereo source files for a conversion:

  1. Rip a CD
  2. Convert .flac or .ape files to .wav
  3. Create a cue file
  4. Joining separate .flac or .wav files into one long .wav
  5. Preparing the source files with foobar2000
  6. Resample files

Note: There are several alternative ways to perform these steps with many different programs. This article focuses as much as possible on free software.


  1. Rip a CD

    You have a music CD. You need to rip the music files in uncompressed .wav format. The recommended free software for ripping music CD's is Exact Audio Copy (EAC).

    1. Installing EAC

      First, you need to get and install EAC. This is a very well documented process for which you can find an excellent installation guide here: http://blowfish.be/eac/Install/install1.html

      The EAC setup guide is here: http://blowfish.be/eac/Setup/setup1.html

      For our purposes here, you can ignore the compression options because you you will be creating uncompressed .wav files.

    2. Ripping the CD

      The EAC ripping guide is here: http://blowfish.be/eac/Rip/rip0.html

      Make sure you create a cue file as explained in the guide.

      An important difference is that you want to create uncompressed .wav files. So instead of selecting "Test & Copy Selected Tracks - Compressed..." in Step 5 of the guide, you need to select a different option:

      • If you plan to convert the album as one long single track, select "Test & Copy Image & Create CUE Sheet - Uncompressed..."
      • If you plan to convert individual tracks separately, select "Test & Copy Selected Tracks - Uncompressed..." and create the CUE sheet as explained in the guide.


  2. Convert .flac or .ape files to .wav

    This step applies when you are NOT ripping a CD. Instead, You already have some compressed lossless files on your hard drive, in either .flac or .ape format, which are the two most popular lossless formats.

    1. Converting .flac to .wav files

      To convert .flac to .wav files, if you have not yet installed it, you need the FLAC encoder, flac.exe. Get it here: http://downloads.sourceforge.net/flac/flac-1.2.1b.exe. Install it.

      Then, start "FLAC frontend.exe", add your files in the list, set the output directory and click Decode.

    2. Convert .ape files to .wav

      To convert .ape to .wav files, you need Monkey's Audio. Get it here: http://www.monkeysaudio.com/download.html. Install it.

      Then, start "Monkey's Audio.exe", set mode to "Decompress", add files, set the output location under Options and process the files.


  3. Create a cue file

    1. Basic cue file

      To create a basic CUE file for the long .wav file created in the last step, you need a free command-line utility named shntool and a frontend named BatchEnc.

      Get the win32 version of shntool.exe from here: http://www.etree.org/shnutils/shntool/. Install it.

      Get BatchEnc from here: http://members.home.nl/w.speek/batchenc.htm. Install it.

      Start BatchEnc. Add the .flac or .wav files (separate tracks) in the right order.

      Copy and paste this in "Command line":

      "c:\program files\shntool\shntool.exe" cue <allfiles> > "output dir\joined.cue"

      In the command line, modify the path to shntool.exe according to where it is installed on your computer. Click "+" to save this command for future use. Replace "output dir\dts.cue" with the path of the cue file, keeping the quotes, for example: "c:\my output dir\dts.cue". Leave the "Output directory" field empty. Press Start to create the cue file. A DOS window will appear and show "Press any key to continue..." when done. The output file is named "joined.cue". This cue file has no track names.

    2. Track names

      To get the track names from the names of the .wav or .flac names, start BatchEnc. Add the .flac or .wav files (separate tracks) in the right order.

      Copy and paste this in "Command line":

      dir /b <allfiles> > tracklist.txt

      Click "+" to save this command for future use. Press Start to create the tracklist file. A DOS window will appear and show "Press any key to continue..." when done. The output file is named "tracklist.txt".

      Open tracklist.txt with Notepad. To remove the extension (.wav or .flac) from the track names, press Ctrl+h to open the Replace tool, enter the dot and extension in the first field (.wav or .flac), leave the second field empty and press Replace All. Save and close tracklist.txt.

    3. Cue file with track names

      To create a cue file with cumulative times and track names, you need the outputs of the last two steps and an Excel spreadsheet named Cue_Assembler (see Attachment).

      In column A, starting at cell A2, copy the content of the joined.cue file. Delete any extra lines from a previous cue file.

      In column C, starting at cell C2, copy the content of the tracklist.txt file. Delete any extra lines from a previous tracklist.

      The merged information (times and names) is in column E. Overwrite the content of joined.cue with this information and save it.


  4. Joining separate .flac or .wav files into one long .wav

    To join separate .flac or .wav files into one long .wav, start BatchEnc.

    Add the .flac or .wav files (separate tracks).

    To convert the .flac to wav files (if required) and join them into one long wav, copy and paste this in "Command line":

    "c:\program files\shntool\shntool.exe" join -o wav -d "output dir" <allfiles>

    In the command line, modify the path to shntool.exe according to where it is installed on your computer. Click "+" to save this command for future use. Replace "output dir" with the path of the desired output directory, keeping the quotes, for example: "c:\my output dir". Leave the "Output directory" field empty. Press Start to process the files. A DOS window will appear and show progress. The output file is named "joined.wav".


  5. Preparing the source files with foobar2000

    foobar2000 is a very powerful free audio tool. It can easily perform all the tasks of converting .flac to .wav files, merging them into one single long .wav and creating a cue file with track names.

    foobar2000 is available here: http://www.foobar2000.org/. Download and install it.

    Click Files, Add files, select the .flac or .wav files to be processed and press Open to load them in the playlist.
    In the foobar2000 playlist, select the files to process, right-click, Convert, ....



    In the Converter Setup window, to create one long .wav file with a cue sheet, use these settings:

    • Output format: WAV
    • Generate multi-track files



    Press OK to process. The resulting .cue file looks like this:




  6. Resample .wav files

    First of all, with a spectral method like SPEC 4.0, upsampling is a bad idea unless you also increase all your FFT settings in Plogue Bidule, which brings on a quality vs. DSP load problem which can only be managed with a very powerful CPU. So as a rule of thumb, you should not have to upsample your sources. The following options apply only if, for some reason, you need to resample the sources.

    To resample .wav files from 16bit/44100 Hz to a higher bit depth and sample rate, you can use the free r8brain or commercial alternatives like r8brain Pro and Sound Forge.

    1. Free r8brain

      r8brain is available here: http://www.voxengo.com/downloads/r8brain. Install it.

      To resample a single file, start r8brain. Enter the input file name, output file name, new sample rate and "set" sample rate (same values), new output bit depth and quality (normally: highest). Press Perform r8brain to process the file.

      To resample several files, first specify any valid file from the source folder. Set the output folder through the Output WAV file field, new sample rate and "set" sample rate (same values), new output bit depth and quality (normally: highest). Press Batch, enter a rename prefix OR suffix and press "r8brain batch" to resample all the files in the folder.

    2. r8brain Pro

      r8brain Pro is available here: http://www.voxengo.com/downloads/r8brainpro/. Install it.

      To resample a single file, start r8brain Pro. Click "Browse files" to select the input file. Check "Add suffix to the converted file" to name the output file. Select the output folder, sample rate and bit depth. Set Filter to LinPhase. Check "Prevent clipping" and "Ultra-steep mode". Click Process to resample the file.

      To resample several files, start r8brain Pro. Click "Browse folders" to select the input folder. Click "Scan folders" to load all .wav files from the input folder. Check "Add suffix to the converted file" to name the output files. Select the output folder, sample rate and bit depth. Set Filter to LinPhase. Check "Prevent clipping" and "Ultra-steep mode". Click Process to resample the files.

    3. Sony Sound Forge

      Sound Forge is available here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/soundforge. Install it.

      To resample a single file, start Sound Forge. Open the file and wait while Sound Forge builds the peaks. Select Process, Resample. Set the new sample rate. Set interpolation accuracy to High. Check "Apply an anti-alias filter...". Click OK to process the file. Save the output file under a different name.

      To resample several files, start Sound Forge. Select Tools, Batch Converter. In the "Files to Convert" tab, click "Add folder" and select the folder containing the input files. In the "Process tab, select "Resample", click "Add Effect" and click "Change Preset" to change the settings. In the Save tab, click "Add Save Options", select "File Format: Same as source", select "File Names: Append to name" and enter a suffix, and set "File Folder" as desired. Click "Run Job" to process the files. Follow progress in the "Status" tab.


Click here for comments, feedback and discussion.

Change history

2009-09-13: Article originally posted (Fan51)

This guide is copyrighted by SurroundByUs.com.


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