You'd probably resist buying vinyl albums if you needed a different record player for each one. And wouldn't it be annoying to need a bunch of different gadgets to watch your favorite movies on video? (We know; you already do). That's pretty much the situation with digital music files, especially compressed files like MP3s. It's a rare music collection that doesn't have a few songs in weird or orphaned formats.
That's not a problem if your media player handles it all, but it's an issue when you're loading up tunes to take with you, or transferring them to another archive, or trying to do something with them that you can't because one or more files is in an incompatible format. Which brings us to Helium Audio Converter, a free tool that converts audio files between different formats and bit rates, including tag data. It can analyze the original and converted files to identify any problems or potential issues, too.
Helium Audio Converter's user interface is simple but attractive and efficient: just a toolbar, a file view with plenty of column headings, and a panel of Output Options at the bottom. Beyond selecting source, destination, format, and encoder options, the only control is the Convert button. We browsed to our "Misc" music folder and selected some files. Helium lets you keep or change the output directory; we created a new folder to keep our originals and converted files separate. Next we selected an output format. Helium can convert files to and from MP3, WMA, WAV, WAVpack, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, MP4, M4a, AAC, and MPC.
We successfully converted files between several formats, with generally good results. We also converted MP3s to WAVs, which are much larger files and typically have better sound, depending on the source. Helium Audio Converter converted a 2.86MB MP3 into a 31MB WAV in a second or less. The new WAV took up much more space than the MP3 yet could only faithfully copy the MP3's sound quality rather than improve it. Most users convert WAVs to MP3s, though. Helium Audio Converter proved a capable performer at converting MP3s to and from common formats.