New Slackware 13.0 Packages for Gnac and SoundConverter
For me there is no one-size-fits-all set of options to encode my CDs with. Encoding to Ogg Vorbis quality 6 seems to strike a good balance between quality and size. However, forcing my entire music collection to that format and quality limits me. Therefore, I’d like to re-encode all my CDs with FLAC, replacing all my Vorbis q6 encodes stored on my file server. I could then transcode whatever music I want to listen to at a given time prior to copying the songs to whichever DAP I will happen to be using. (I’m a long-time proud owner of an iRiver iHP-120, which is a fantastic device with great features and excellent audio quality. Due to its physical dimensions it is not the easiest thing to stow away for exercise or in my backpack. Don’t get me wrong, it was tiny in its day. Now DAPs are so much smaller I could only hold out so long before getting something else to use when my trusty iHP-120 didn’t cut it. Recently I purchased a Sandisk Sansa Fuze 4GB ($30 on woot.com) which is minuscule by comparison.) Also, god forbid someone have some device that forces vendor lock-in and limited format support (I’m looking at you, Apple) that would require my music to be encoded as AAC or MP3.
It’s easy enough to bulk transcode all files in a single directory or all files in a set of directories. That would be fine if I always wanted to copy all songs from an album. More likely I’d want to create a playlist of songs from various artists, albums, and genres to take with me wherever I was going. I suppose I could copy all the songs I’d want to a temporary directory and then do a batch transcode job from the command line. The reality is this is probably one of the areas where a GUI tool would be more efficient than working from the command line. I will be testing out two programs to see if they meet my needs.
First up is Gnac. It looks easy to use, well laid out, and seems to do just what I want. One of the features that draws me to this program is support for profiles. That should make bulk transcoding to different targets easier. The latest version of Gnac is 0.2.1. However, that version makes use of some GTK+2 functions only available in GTK+2 >= 2.16. Slackware 13.0 ships with 2.14. Bummer. Gnac 0.2.0 compiled cleanly, so that is what I will make available. It can be downloaded at the URL below.
The second program I will be looking at is SoundConverter. I read a few positive reviews about SoundConverter so I will examine it side-by-side with Gnac. It appears to lack support for profiles with preset transcoding options. If that is the case it will likely lose out to Gnac. Other than that it looks like a nice program.
As per usual with just about any new package I build for Slackware there will be a list of other required software. The list of additional packages created to support these two programs is:
Getting all those GStreamer packages build was probably a good thing, anyhow. Quite a few GTK multimedia projects are built using the GStreamer framework. Having those plugins available will likely be beneficial in the long run. Please note the package gst-plugins-gio is not an official GStreamer plugin group name. That plugin is part of gst-plugins-base which is provided by Slackware. However, the GIO plugin is considered experimental which is probably why it was left out of the Slackware distribution. I created a package that just contains the GIO plugin which is required by Gnac.
Build scripts for all of these packages will be committed to the Subversion repository shortly.