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I am looking for a minimalistic free audio converter for elderly people. They are absolute technical noobs, thus I can't tell them to use ffmpeg.

15 years ago, I used Lamedrop. It literally had no buttons. All it could do was handle a drag'n'drop operation which created a converted file in the exact same place as the original. That would be ideal. However, I could only find LamedropXpd and I'm not sure whether that's the new version of it.

Must have:

  • super simple user interface
  • having a File Save Dialog is ok, but not preferred (see below)
  • convert WAV files (containing PCM audio) into MP3 (128 kbps constant bitrate would be ok, configurable is preferred)
  • gratis (no cost; open source preferred)
  • works on Windows 10+

Ideally:

  • supports one time configuration, e.g. quality, variable bit rate or similar
  • does the conversion in the same location and same name as the WAV file (just a different file extension)
  • keeps the meta information embedded in the file

I have tried:

  • Audacity is waaay too complex for the elderly people I'm in contact
  • winLAME is at the limit of complexity already. Unfortunately, the WAV file I tried to transcode went from 14:51 to 12:59 in length and was completely silent.
  • Handbrake does not convert WAV files, it needs a video track
  • LamedropXpd: I did not install, because I'm not sure if it's a legit piece of software

2 Answers 2

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VLC can do it:

https://www.vlchelp.com/convert-audio-format/

  1. From the VLC menu go to Media > Convert / Save
  2. In the Open Media dialog, click on the Add button and browse for your music file. Then click on Open.
  3. Hit the Convert/Save button to proceed to the next step.
  4. In the settings of the convert dialog box, only change the Profile part. Select the audio format that you’d like to convert to. By default, the formats present in the drop down are Audio – MP3, Vorbig (OGG), MP3 (MP4), FLAC, CD. Choose the format you are converting to.
  5. Optional step: If you need to explore additional codecs and container options then click the “Create a new profile” button present on the right of the profile selection dialog box.
  6. In the next option that follows, switch to the Audio codec tab. Mark the “Audio” checkbox to activate it. You can set different options. You can change: Profile Name: A required name for your new profile that you are creating. Codecs: MPEG Audio, MP3, MPEG 4 (AAC), A52/AC3, Vorbix, Flac, Speex, WAV and WMA 2. Bitrate: Enter in the bit rate value like 128 KB/s, 256 KB/s and so on. Lower bit rate value lowers the quality as well as the filesize. Channels: Number of output channels. 2 for stereo. Sample Rate: Choose the sample rate: 8000 Hz, 11025 Hz, 22050 Hz, 44100 Hz and 48000 Hz. Similar to bit rate, changing sample rate changes filesize. 44100 Hz (44.1 kHz) and 48000 Hz (48 kHz) are the standard ones. Encapsulation Tab: From the same dialog box, choose your file format or container for your desired file extension/type. After selecting the options for your new profile, you can click on create to save this new profile. You will return to the previous step where you will find this new profile as an option from the Profile selection dropdown.
  7. Give your converted or destination file a name from the browse option.
  8. The final action that you must take is to click on the Start button to begin the audio conversion process.
  9. VLC’s progress indicator will move and that means that the audio format is being converted.
  10. After completion, your new converted audio file will be saved.
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Did you try fre:ac? It:

  • supports Windows 10
  • is completely free (and open source)
  • can do mentioned and many other kinds of conversion
  • was made to be mostly a converter, so not much else bloating the interface. Whether it's user-friendly enough is not for me to judge.
  • keeps metadata
  • supports presets

What I'd recommend more though is simply telling them to use some online converters instead. They have the simpliest interface for sure. As long as those elderly can get online, of course.

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