13 Command Line Tools for Audio on Linux

Posted by Chris7mas on Jul 6, 2008 11:11 AM EDT
Echoes; By Craciun Dan
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13 of the popular CLI tools/audio players for audio playing and encoding/decoding on Linux: mp3blaster, mpd, music123, cmus, mpg123, ogg123, ripit, oggenc, flac, ogginfo, vorbiscomment, cuebreakpoints, shnsplit.

cmus is a music player using the ncurses interface, with a Vi-style of maneuvering it. For example, you will type :a ~/music/ to add directory ~/music/ to the playlist, and :q to quit.

For those who like the Vi editor, cmus will probably make a great CLI audio player

Official Ogg Vorbis player included in the vorbis-tools package, this nice command line player will also read Vorbis tags and play your audio files encoded as Vorbis.

This is the well-known command line MP3 player.

Official tool from xiph.org capable of encoding from FLAC or WAV to Ogg Vorbis. It takes many options as arguments, like bitrate or quality.

flac will encode and decode FLAC files (Free Lossless Audio Codec), and also convert FLAC to WAV and vice-versa. It has many parameters available and you can also select the compression level. FLAC is a format which lately got popular since it offers lossless audio quality at lower compression sizes than WAV, and it's completely free.

Included in the vorbis-tools package, this tool allows to edit or remove any tag(s) from an Ogg Vorbis file. You can also add any tag name and value. I use this in scripts to perform several edits on tags, like the one below, which clears all the tags in an Ogg Vorbis file:


echo "OGG Tag Remover"
echo "Creating empty file..."
touch file

echo "Starting to remove all tags in OGG files..."
for i in *.ogg; do
echo "Executing command 'vorbiscomment -w "$i" -c file'..."
nice -n 15 vorbiscomment -w "$i" -c file

echo "Removing empty file..."
rm file

echo "Done! All tags removed."

Used together with shnsplit, cuebreakpoints helps you split FLAC or WAV files according to a CUE file.

From the manual page, "is a command?line utility to view and/or modify WAVE data and properties". Use it with cuebreakpoints to split WAV or FLAC files like this:

cuebreakpoints audio_file.cue | shnsplit audio_file.flac

mp3blaster is a popular MP3 and Vorbis player with a TUI (Text User Interface).

Shows detailed information about Ogg files.

The Music Player Daemon is a server that allows to play audio files, like FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and AIFF. You will also need a client, like XMMS2.

According to the manual page, ripit is a 'Perl script to create .flac .ogg .mp3 or .m4a (aac) files from an audio CD.'

music123 is a CLI audio player which can play Ogg, MP3, WAV and it behaves pretty much like mpg123 or ogg123.

As a conclusion, you may ask if these are really useful considering there are so many good-looking and full-featured GUI audio players out there. Well, yes, they are! I use oggenc, ogginfo and flac all the time, I like those over any GUI frontend. mpd can prove very useful for those who like to have a music server on their own PC or remotely connect to it from another. mp3blaster is just great if you want to use less resources, and eventually leave the player somewhere in a console window. As for mpg123 and ogg123, well I used those heavily in the past on an old AMD K6/2 with Debian 3.1, when I used to work a lot only in command line, without starting the X Window System.

Not to mention frontends like soundKonverter, where are those powerful tools are used for encoding/decoding and converting between formats.

Here is a tutorial I wrote on how to use flac, oggenc, shnsplit, cuebreakpoints and vorbiscomment for manipulating audio files.

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