Review: Convert audio files to play on your device with Free Audio Converter 2014

This freeware audio converter is basic and easy to use yet does a good job.

In the crowded field of audio conversion tools, Free Audio Converter 2014 straddles the fence between ease of use and features. It's an approach that many users will no doubt want to try, especially those disappointed by stripped-down tools yet intimidated by the do-it-all software. It has the features we expect, like drag-and-drop and plenty of presets to make it easy to convert files to play on your phone or other devices, and it supports high-quality formats like Ogg Vorbis and FLAC.

Like the program, itself, Free Audio Converter 2014's user interface strikes a balance between ease of use and options, beginning with a list view panel for adding and queuing files. You can't access the settings until you select files to convert, and then you can choose an output directory and target format: WAV, MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, M4A, FLAC, and MP2. Each format also has presets or options like compression level, quality, or device type. The freeware doesn't support video-to-audio conversion, though you can download (and pay for) an upgraded version. We loaded a WAV file to convert to FLAC, which preserves much of the sound quality but with a much smaller file. Free Audio Converter 2014 processed a four-minute WAV in ten seconds, and the finished file played well.

Though Free Audio Converter 2014 clearly hews closer to the easy-to-use side of the fence rather than the feature-laden side, it doesn't scrimp on performance. We'd like to see more options and a Help file that's more than a product Web page, and plenty of competitors can extract audio from video. But Free Audio Converter 2014 is worth a look.

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