Converting Audio Formats
Getting the swing
The command line swings. In this
issue of “Command Line”we investigate
how you can grab tracks from
audio CDs and convert sound files to
other formats. No matter whether
you choose wav,MP3 or Ogg Vorbis,
you can rely on the shell to convert
You do not need a GUI-based tool to
convert sound files to different formats
– the command line gives
you everything you need. To get started,
we will be looking at two programs that
grab tracks from audio CDs and store
them in wav format. Following that, we
will be looking at tips and tricks for
converting various audio formats and
learning how clever use of bash features
can speed up the process.
Grabbing with cdda2wav cdda2wav  (“compact disc digital
audio to wav”) is a program that most
distributors include. Debian users can
install the tool by running
apt-get install cdda2wav
Before you launch cdda2wav, check to
see if you can access your CD-ROM drive
with a non-privileged user account (see
Box 1). To grab a track, you need to use
the -t option and the track number. The
program also expects the device name of
your CD-ROM drive, which you can supply
by adding a -D option:
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