Are your MP3s LAME? Don't Bonk us if we say we hope so. FAAC is, we're happy to take the FLAC. Weak puns, maybe, but great tunes; if you encode your digital music files in a high-fidelity format such as FLAC. It's simple: the best way to get the best sound from your portable tunes is to start out with higher quality files, ideally using a low-loss or lossless format. Hanso Converter offers high-quality ripping and converting into FLAC, FAAC, AAC, Bonk, MP4/M4A, Ogg Vorbis, each of which yields better sound quality than the basic MP3 spec, and good old MP3 too (not to mention WAV and WMA) -- all for free. It's easy to set up and use, but it has plenty of options, too. The latest release, version 2.0, includes Windows 8 compatibility.
Hanso Converter's user interface isn't fancy by any means, but it groups its controls, options, and metadata efficiently and intuitively around its main view, the Joblist. We could select some options directly from the interface, including creating playlists and cue sheets, on-the-fly encoding, and encoding multiple files into a single file, while others we set via the Options menu under General Settings or Configure Selected Encoder, or from identical controls on the toolbar. The Encode menu offers still more encoding options, such as deleting original files. Under General Settings setup, we selected LAME MP3 Encoder v3.98.4 and some general options, and then clicked Configure Encoder to set the Quality, including bitrate, and whether we wanted our files to be compatible with MP3 or AAC playback. We could also set Expert and Audio Processing options. We started by ripping and converting a music CD. We also added digital music files in several different formats from our library to convert. Hanso Converter handled everything we fed it, quickly extracting, converting, and saving our song files.
So, how did our ripped tunes sound? Great! Better than plain MP3s, certainly. Of course, your sound card, speakers, and other factors will affect what you hear, but Hanso Converter will start you off on the right foot with compact yet high-quality and lossless music files.