Which audio codec should I be using?

I am using Fedora 21 and would like to avoid using non-free codecs and having that crap on my machine. Some of my music is FLAC, but much of it is mp3. Which file type should I convert to and why? I'm not terribly worried about disk space, and quality is definitely more important.

If someone could shed some light on this that would be great.


You can play MP3 on Fedora with this.  http://www.fedorafaq.org/#mp3  Convert your FLAC to MP3 320kbps.  You won't notice a quality difference between MP3 320 and FLAC.  MP3 320 is probably gonna be around 1/10th the size with no noticeable difference. MP3 is the standard for everything else which is why I use that format.

Just to add to this. AAC files are higher quality than MP3 files of the same bitrate. But you won't notice the difference at 320kbps.

Thanks for the answers, but like I said I'm trying to avoid non-free codecs if at all possible.

Theres a moral (i guess) choice to using open codecs as well, not just technological. As I guess you've already found, Fedora doesnt ship with mp3 support, it doesnt because the format is patent encumbered and non-free, incompatible with Fedora's requirements.

Open codecs are better anyway. Your flac files you dont need to change if you dont want to, flac is an open codec. For your mp3 files I would suggest converting them to ogg/vorbis. (vorbis is the codec, ogg is the container) ogg is widely available in a lot of devices, most phones support it, computers, and any decent media player.

To convert your mp3's you can use soundconverter. Unfortunately you'll need to install gstreamer-plugins-ugly from rpmfusion repos to decode the mp3s when converting them.

You'd be better getting you music in an open format like ogg (less likely) or flac (more likely) in the first place where possible, that way you'll have better quality music, as you cant gain any quality back going mp3 > ogg even though ogg has better capabilities.

Thanks, soundconverter is nice. However I'm running into other problems. I was using easyTAG to change the metadata in bulk on my music, and I made sure I was using the program correctly. However when I apply the changes, my music still shows up in GNOME music player with the wrong dates and stuff like that. Is this just the music player being shitty or what?

its probably the easytag program. If you run it from the command line (it'll launch the gui) it should show any errors when you try to apply the tags. You could always check in VLC or something, if the tags are sticking.

Another thing. If you convert the MP3s to another lossy format, you'll lose quality. Even if you transcode via a lossless format, they'll still end up sounding worse.

Yeah I'm going to be careful about it. I made backups, just in case I screw them up.

I'll try it tomorrow. Too much Linux for today, my head hurts... But I can't say I haven't learned more about Linux in one day today than I have since I first heard of Linux.