I’ve been experimenting with a new field recording technique lately: recording four audio tracks to a MixPre-6 with a bonus summed stereo mix paired with a few handheld portable recorders thrown in as backup. The result of these multi-channel field recording sessions? My external hard drive is running out of space.

It’s true storage is pretty cheap. Just the same, I like getting a lot of mileage from of my terabytes. That’s why I make a backup of my raw field recordings in the space-saving FLAC format as soon as I return to the studio.

Earlier this week I converted some WAVs to FLAC and archived them to cloud storage. As I watched them upload, I began to think: what other reasons do people use these apps? What’s the best sound file conversion app? Will free sound file converters work well or is it better to pay for apps? Which allow batching and what file formats do they support?

So, to answer those questions, today’s post is dedicated to exploring sound file converter apps for MacOS and Windows.

Please note: I am very detailed. This article should take you about 11 minutes to read. Click the button below to email the article to yourself to read later.



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Sound Devices MixPre Chat: A New Tonebenders Podcast Episode

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tonebenders co-host René Coronado on their excellent field recording and sound design podcast. It was the second time I had the opportunity to appear there. A few years ago I was on the show chatting about sound effects mastering and databasing.

This time, René and I chatted about the new Sound Devices MixPre models released earlier this year. We began the 75 minute chat discussing the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6. That conversation grew into a discussion about choosing equipment thoughtfully, and how one can intertwine their craft with gear choices for superior results.

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Field recording is often compared to photography. There are good reasons for this, too: both crafts sample our environment so they can share it, later. There is one key feature that separates the two, though: time. Photography freezes a specific moment in time and presents to others. On the other hand, field recording captures duration. It samples moments collectively as they evolve.

A recent project by nature field recordist Mark Ferguson explored this aspect in an interesting way. Ferguson was granted exclusive access to the 800 hectares of Slimbridge wetland wildlife reserve. Known for having the largest collection of captive wildfowl, Slimbridge also witnesses dozens of species migrate through the marsh. After repeated visits to the Trust and facing constant sonic challenges, Ferguson unveiled a project on his website that highlights the craft’s defining features from one special location: a sense of transition, the power of serendipity, and a revelation of experiences through sound.

Mark Ferguson tells us more in today’s article.

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The craft of field recording is a complex one. It requires nuanced skill and on-demand creativity that take years to cultivate.

Of course, capturing field recordings doesn’t end when you return home and start charging your batteries: the sound clips must be polished and organized before they can be shared with listeners. That’s why sound fx mastering and curation are important steps that complete the arc of sharing sound.

I’ve noticed there are a lot of questions about preparing field recordings for listeners. It’s understandable. Field recording itself is hard to learn. Mastering and curation are even more niche.

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iZotope’s RX noise-reduction software has received ample praise from throughout the pro audio community. It’s well deserved; RX’s suite of powerful tools can eliminate clicks and pops, remove buzz, and diminish noise.

There are dozens of these “modules.” In fact, it can take hundreds of hours to master them all. That’s why it was just last week that I discovered a new trick to help repair sound effects: the Find Similar tool.

Today’s post shares a quick trick to use the Find Similar function to help when mastering sound clips.

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Lately I was trying to find a microphone for a parabolic dish. I wanted a low-noise omnidirectional microphone under $1,000.

I looked in the regular forums. I browsed Facebook. I popped in and out of manufacturer websites. It took a lot of time to compare and contrast mic models, current prices, and technical specifications.

I thought: There must be an easier way to do this.

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It seems like everyone is on vacation during August. So, while everyone’s away I’ve taken the opportunity to post updates of older, popular posts.

The last to be updated is the Digital Sound Recorder Buyer’s Guide. It’s different from the larger Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide in that it focuses specifically on audio recorders. It also was designed to give field recordists tools to make informed choices by examining basic features, advanced features, fancy, bonus features, and extra considerations. There is also a section to discover audio recorder models in three price brackets.

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Last week I mentioned that I had updated the list of metadata apps. That revised post compared the prices and features of 19 sample organizers.

That’s a lot to go through. Today’s post is intended to help you choose the sound clip cataloging app that’s best for you.

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A few years ago I started a series called “Metadata Month” (series 1, series 2). That explored how to add the valuable bonus text info known as metadata to sound effects to aid searching and using field recordings.

In one of those posts I took a stab at listing every “metadata app” capable of managing sound libraries, browsing sound clips, using and adding metadata, and transferring sound files.

There were 15 apps in that post. Well, it’s been three years and things have changed. Recently I refreshed the post with new info.

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A few months ago I published a new list of field recording equipment. It wasn’t the first time I examined gear choices for sound pros. My first stab at it was the Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide. That helped people new to the craft explore gear options in an evolution from basic kits to intricate, expensive microphone, preamp, and digital recorder combos. Thanks to you, that post remains one of the most popular articles on the site.

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