CD collection

fre:ac – free audio converter and CD ripper

Last Updated on September 1, 2020

CD audio grabbers are designed to extract (“rip”) the raw digital audio (in a format commonly called CDDA) from a compact disc to a file or other output. This type of software enables a user to encode the digital audio into a variety of formats, and download and upload disc info from freedb, an internet compact disc database.

I recently wrote a review of abcde, a console based CD ripping software. I’ve received a few contacts asking me to take a look at a good graphical CD ripper. fre:ac instantly sprung to mind.

This overview looks at the latest preview release. This release adds a new component system which has aided the inclusion of additional codecs.

fre:ac depends on the BoCA audio component framework and the smooth class library. The software is written in C++.


If you want to compile the source code, there’s a few hoops you’ll need to jump through.

You’ll need the smooth class library (libsmooth), and BoCA. BoCA is the component framework behind the fre:ac audio converter. It provides unified interfaces for components like encoders, decoders, taggers and extensions as well as code to support communication between the application and its components.

Both smooth class library and BoCA have their own dependencies. My system was only missing uriparser.

$ git clone
$ cd smooth
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ git clone
$ cd BoCA
$ make
$ sudo make install

Once the dependencies have been installed, clone the fre:ac’s project repository, and compile the source code.

$ git clone
$ cd freac
$ make
$ sudo make install

You can save some time and use any package available for your distro, although the latest preview release is unlikely to be available. If you want the preview release and are reluctant to compile the source code, the developer’s GitHub repository offers an AppImage. AppImages are distribution independent Linux packages that bundle most dependencies and work on any modern distribution.

And there’s a snap available too. Install with a single command. For example, if you’re running Debian / Ubuntu, type at a shell sudo snap install freac --beta).

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Other Features
Page 4 – Summary

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