Freemake Audio Converter is - as the name suggests, a (mostly) free way to convert or extract audio. It's the best of the free programs we considered, largely because it's reputable, and doesn't try to instal malware on your computer, or bombard you with pop-up ads when you try to use it. One thing we did notice is that Freemake tries to instal an extra app when you first download it, and you need to actively ask it not to do this. Despite this, Freemake Audio Converter is among the best audio converter software packages you can get right now and, while slower and less efficient than paid-for apps, it's well worth downloading if you only have a handful of files to convert or extract. You should also note that the free version will only convert audio files of three minutes or less, with longer tracks requiring an addition, paid-for, package.
Freemake Audio Converter review: Features
Freemake Audio Converter has the simplest user-interface of the software we reviewed – you don’t need to watch any tutorials to get started. You simply select the audio files you want to convert, choose which format you want to convert them to and hit the convert button. The only choices you have to make along the way are where to save the converted files on your home computer, and if you want to consolidate all the files into one converted audio file.
The current version of Freemake Audio Converter supports around 50 audio formats, including the most popular ones like MP3, M4A, AAC, WAV and WMA. You can even convert to more specialized codecs, like WMA Pro and WMA lossless. So, compatibility simply isn't an issue here, and it even puts some paid-for apps to shame here. It's fully compatible with Windows and Mac, and works on the latest operating systems of both.
When you choose the output format, you can also select from a number of quality presets. The lower the quality, the smaller the file size. However, keep in mind that once you convert an audio file to a lower-quality format, you can’t reverse the process and covert it to a high-quality lossless format – the conversion process removes the audio information that makes it high quality.
One downside to Freemake is that you can only convert audio files less than three minutes long using the free version of this software. For anything longer than that, you need the Infinite Pack, which will currently cost you $9 for a lifetime use. That's good value if you regularly convert audio files, but it feels underhand and hidden when you first download Freemake.
Freemake took almost four minutes to convert a 625MB WAV file to a 26MB MP3 file. That is almost four times slower than the slowest paid software in our guide, so you're also sacrificing speed for cost here.
You can also use Freemake Audio Converter to extract music or audio from video files, which is a nice touch. Again, the list of supported video formats you can rip audio from is extensive, and includes all popular and many rare video file types. MP4, AVI, MKV etc are all fully supported here.
While there are no editing tools or audio effects available in this free software, you can manipulate files using other Freemake tools, which require separate downloads. If you want to extract video files and copy to raw files or DVD, you can use Freemake Video Converter too.
Should you choose Freemake Audio Converter?
Freemake Audio Converter is a good option for someone with basic conversion needs. You can expect files to convert slowly, and you can only use the free version for shorter audio tracks, but the software is easy to use. It doesn't bundle any malware, and will only try to instal one extra program, which you can opt out of. It offers wide support for audio converting and extraction, so you'll definitely be able to get your audio into whatever format you need. It isn't as free as it first seems but, even then, Freemake does offer decent value if you don't need to convert large batches of audio regularly.