I have some mp3 files - stems from a track ready for remix. The originals in a non-lossy format are not available. I would like to open them in Ardour, on linux, but Ardour doesn't open mp3s, because of licensing problems. I would like to convert to an open format, with no data loss, and with file sizes as small as possible (I know converting from mp3 to a lossless format doesn't gain me any quality. I just don't want to lose any more quality). I was thinking that flac would be the obvious solution, but am open to other suggestions.

Suggestions for other OSs are welcome too, as long as the result is an open format.

Clarification: it'd be nice to be able to maintain meta-data too.

  • Just purchase the song you are going to remix instead of trying to find it as an MP3. Convert the song to AAC, which is lossless uncompressed.
    – Cole Tobin
    May 27, 2012 at 0:13
  • @ColeJohnson the stems are not available as anything other than mp3. The are also not available for purchase, but were free as part of a promotion. Also, AAC is not a completely open format.
    – naught101
    May 27, 2012 at 6:40
  • @Cole AAC is not lossless, it's just a better lossy codec than MP3.
    – evilsoup
    Jan 25, 2013 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


Hrm. Looks like SoundKonverter can handle this, I was getting an error

soundkonverter(2255): couldn't create slave: "Unable to create io-slave:
klauncher said: Unknown protocol ''.

But that's fixed by installing mpg321.

Interesting to note that some of these flac files are significantly smaller than the mp3s (which were stereo 320kbps), although that is probably because those files consist largely of silence :)

Lesson: Use the appropriate file format to start with, children!

  • 2
    Just a side note, granted that the question is already answered, remember that using FLACs on your DAW might be a rather useless situation. Since the program will decode the FLAC to a uncompressed format, it might save the samples as WAVs or AIFFs. At least I imagine that it would do that, but I'm not completely sure. If it doesn't save as WAVs or AIFFs it means that your processor is decoding the audio in real time, and that is something that should be avoided, since you'd like to save your CPU for other things than decoding audio.
    – Johnny Bigoode
    Mar 5, 2012 at 16:33
  • Ardour uses non-destructive editing, as far as I know, it doesn't change the files at all, just saves time codes for where to cut in and out (ie. when you've cropped a segment out of a file). But yeah, for destructive editing you do have a point, saving in WAV would be much more sensible :)
    – naught101
    Mar 6, 2012 at 0:46

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