Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Convert APE audio to MP3 files

Summary: So you got an APE file. Now, how do you convert it to MP3s?
I recently downloaded (legally!) a .APE file holding a collection of old Russian/Soviet songs. First thing that came to my mind was: What in the world is APE file and how do I play it? Second: How do I convert the .APE file to a more acceptable MP3 format?

What is APE audio?
APE is audio encoding used by Monkey's Audio. Unlike MP3 and other popular audio formats, Monkey's Audio encoding reduces the size of uncompressed audio without losing sound quality. Which is a good thing. Unfortunately, decoding APE-encoded audio requires more processor power, so few music players (either software- or hardware-based) can play .APE files.

What is a .CUE file?
If a .APE file contains several audio tracks (e.g. a full CD album), it may be accompanied with a .CUE file. The .CUE file is often referred to as a cue file or cue sheet. It contains the information describing individual tracks in the album file (which can be in APE or other format), such as track ID, start time, end time, etc. The cue file allows audio players to see multiple tracks in a single audio file. It also lets audio converters split a single audio file into multiple tracks automatically. Without the cue file, you can still split an audio file into multiple tracks using such programs as MP3DirectCut or Audacity (both are free), but you would need to manually find the split points, which is more hassle.

How to convert an APE-encoded album into individual MP3 files?
Assuming that your .APE file comes with the corresponding .CUE file, you can easily convert it to individual MP3 tracks (or other audio encoding formats) using the free converter and recorder tools that come with the excellent AIMP2 audio player. [Note: AIMP2 is my favorite audio player, which I highly recommend.] You can get the main AIMP2 program and the converter and recorder tools from the program's downloads page. Once you download and install AIMP2 and AIMP2 Tools, do the following:
  1. Launch AIMP2 Audio Converter.
  2. In AIMP2 Audio Converter, select the Load files from playlist option, and open the CUE file. If there are no problems with the CUE file, AIMP2 Audio Converter will detect and load the contents of the corresponding APE file.

    If the converter fails to load the CUE file, chances are it's corrupted. One of the common problems is wrong encoding of the file data. You can open the CUE file in a text editor (such as Notepad) and verify the contents. Here is an example of the file with wrong encoding:
    REM GENRE "Âîåííàÿ ïåñíÿ"
    REM DATE 2005
    REM DISCID 45113F16
    REM COMMENT "ExactAudioCopy v0.99pb5"
    PERFORMER "Various"
    TITLE "Äåíü Ïîáåäû - ñáîðíèê ïåñåí î âîéíå è ïîáåäå"
    FILE "Äåíü Ïîáåäû - ñáîðíèê ïåñåí î âîéíå è ïîáåäå.ape" WAVE
      TRACK 01 AUDIO
        TITLE "Track01"
        PERFORMER "Track01"
        INDEX 01 00:00:00
      TRACK 02 ...
    The most critical part of the file is the FILE field. Make sure that it contains a valid file name that corresponds to the APE file (both the CUE and APE files must be in the same folder). To correct text encoding in the CUE file, follow the process I outlined in the How to fix movie subtitle (and other text) encoding issues post. This is how a corrected file may look like:
    REM GENRE "Военная песня"
    REM DATE 2005
    REM DISCID 45113F16
    REM COMMENT "ExactAudioCopy v0.99pb5"
    PERFORMER "Various"
    TITLE "Песни победы"
    FILE "Soviet War Songs2.ape" WAVE
      TRACK 01 AUDIO
        TITLE "Track01"
        PERFORMER "Artist01"
        INDEX 01 00:00:00
      TRACK 02...
  3. Once the CUE file successfully loads, AIMP2 Audio Converter will show the tracks in the list:

  4. Select the encoding parameters including Encoder (set it to MP3, or whatever your favorite audio format is), output file format, output directory, and MP3 settings (I prefer VBR [Joint Stereo] and high quality MP3 encoding, but you may want to adjust them for your liking). While at it, you may want to go over each track and set appropriate tags (album, title, artist, genre), but you can change the tags later on the MP3 files directly.
  5. Click the Start button.
Enjoy.

See also:
How to convert .ape files to .mp3 using Windows by Ross McKillop
Convert APE to MP3

2 comments:

betterpluse said...

The following converting APE to MP3 guide will better help you to convert APE to MP3 at
http://www.avdshare.com/ape-to-mp3-converter-for-mac-and-windows

Jacky Henry said...

You may also try iDealshare VideoGo to convert APE to MP3, WAV, AAC, AIFF, WMA etc. Here is the easy guide http://www.idealshare.net/audio-converter/ape-to-mp3-converter.html