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Introduction to the FLAC Format

The FLAC audio format is so awesome, I still can’t get my head around it! It is lossless, like WAV files, yet often less than half the size. For example, if you had an album at full-quality (320 kbps) in MP3 format (which is lossy, meaning some quality had to be sacrificed), it could well be around 140Mb. Raw, lossless audio in the form of .wav files would on the other hand take up around 1Gb, if not closer to 1.5Gb. The reason .flac files have become so popular is that while being lossless in quality like .wav files, that album would probably only take up about 450Mb – half the size or less, but the same lossless quality.

If you’re quite happy with MP3s and their much-smaller filesize, if you ever end up with an album in FLAC format, you can always convert the tracks down to MP3 with a program like Sound Converter. But what if you get the album as one, long, continuous .flac file? Well, as long as that file also came with a .cue file (which specifies the breaks between tracks), it’s really easy to split it via the command-line, as you’ll see.

How to Split a FLAC Album with CUE File

First off, you need to make sure you have the necessary packages installed, which you can do with the following command:

sudo apt-get install cuetools shntool flac

Once done, you can start splitting the album with a command like the following:

cuebreakpoints album.cue | shnsplit -o flac album.flac

… replacing the word “album” in each case with the correct name. If the 2 files have multiple words with spaces, you’ll have to enclose them in double-quotes, like in the following example:

cuebreakpoints “The Number Of The Beast.cue” | shnsplit -o flac “The Number Of The Beast.flac”

Once that’s done, all you’ll have to do is rename the tracks (unless it doesn’t worry you), and edit the tags (the info you see in your audio player) via Rhythmbox, or a dedicated tag editor.

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PLEASE NOTE: This article is for earlier versions of Nautilus File Manager (2.x) found in earlier Ubuntu releases running on Gnome 2.x, so will not work in Unity (the default desktop environment) or Gnome Shell, both of which are based on Gnome 3. If you want a file manager that has split-pane browsing, install Nemo (which is based on Nautilus 2.x).

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Over the years, I’ve seen people asking if you can have a split-pane view in Nautilus, like what some are used to with advanced Windows file managers like the old Windows Commander and current Total Commander (as well as the freeware FreeCommander), and generally the advice has been to install a Linux equivalent like Gnome Commander.

There have been some hacks to get this functionality in Nautilus, but they were often problematic, overwriting user settings or confusing the issue of updating Nautilus. When tabbed browsing appeared, it meant you could drag-and-drop between two tabs in the same browser window, rather than do so between two open windows. While for most of us this was enough, or even unneeded if quite comfortable with dragging between two windows, the missing split-pane view still bugged many power users.

But now that has been rectified in the lastest version of Nautilus, which comes with Ubuntu 10.04Lucid Lynx“. If you look in the View menu, you’ll see the option “Extra Pane“, which splits the window vertically. Even easier, you can toggle the view with the F3 key, switching between single and split view without having to go into the View menu each time.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

Read Full Post »