fre:ac v1.0.32

billon on 13 Mar 2018
  • 14MB (uncompressed)
  • Released on 13 Mar 2018
  • Suggested by Andrew Healey

fre:ac (pronounced "freak") is a feature-rich audio tool set featuring audio encoding and conversion, CD ripper, playlist and metadata editor. The program supports most popular audio formats such as MP3, M4A, WMA, OGG and FLAC, as well as support for a long list of additional converters such as Quicktime and Shorten. For CDs, the program supports reliable conversion (CD Paranoia), online databases (CDDB/freedb) and CDText, automatically writing song information metadata. The program is optimized for multi-core systems, making conversions as fast as possible.

Functional in 64-bit Windows and cross-platform (Mac, Linux, FreeBSD). Available in many world languages. Alternatively, fre:ac Portable automatically adjusts paths.

System Requirements: WinAll
Writes settings to: Application folder
Stealth: ? Yes
Unicode support: Yes
License: GNU GPLv2
How to extract: Download the ZIP package and extract to a folder of your choice. Delete translator.exe, unnecessary language and manual files. Launch freac.exe.
Similar/alternative apps: CUETools, LameXP, TAudioConverter
What's new? See:

64 comments on fre:ac  The Portable Freeware Collection Latest Entries Feed

MrDetermination 2006-09-13 18:40

Why does it phone home every time it launches? My firewall tells me it is trying to connect to: [], port http [80]
Protocol: TCP

Robert Kausch 2006-09-14 00:44

The program searches for updates on program startup. You can disable it by deselecting the "Check for updates at startup" option in the "Help" menu. is the name of a multi-domain server. is hosted there. The update definition file is at

Yo Mismo 2007-02-21 22:46

It isn't portable: It saves preferences to Application Data\BonkEnc.
And it crashed the first time I saved preferences.

Robert Kausch 2007-02-22 02:04

BonkEnc saves the preferences to "Application Data/BonkEnc" if it is installed under "Program Files". This is to ensure the program can run under a limited user account where the application directory cannot be accessed.

If BonkEnc is run from any other place (e.g. another drive or a USB stick), the configuration is written to the application directory.

Lupo73 2007-03-29 04:19

has someone compared it with CDex??

Webfork 2007-04-18 01:44

One important difference is that CDex is long out of date. BonkEnc at least uses a current version of LAME to encode MP3s.

In other aspects, it *appears* to be better than CDex but I haven't tested it much yet. CDex has been popular for quite a while.

Lupo73 2007-04-18 06:07

The problem is that, when some months ago I tryed BonkEnc, it was very slow...and not so easy to configurate... is it changed now?

Robert Kausch 2007-04-18 07:07

There was a performance issue when encoding with LAME in BonkEnc versions prior to 1.0 RC 1. The current version should be more than twice as fast.

Simon.T 2007-04-18 11:57

To Lupo73, why don't you try it yourself (only you know what was BonkEnc speed when you last time used it)

by the way, I tried it now, and its a worth (even more then worth) to try, this thing is very faaaaast and easy to use, I almost cant even feel it running on my machine when its in action! not like CDex

wow!! Its free!? LOL

Simon.T 2007-04-18 12:17

Lupo73: has someone compared it with CDex??

I think that the quality is better. I ripped a song from an Audio CD (.cda) Mariah Carey ft. Withney Houston - I'll Be There (Track06.cda) and...

with CDex: 3.85MB (mp3)
with BonkEnc: 5.78MB (mp3) & 5.70MB (ogg)

Thats all I know so far!

Lupo73 2007-04-19 09:26

Thanks Simon, I have tryed BonkEnc's good...better than other ^^

PJ 2007-05-04 16:01

Being installed under "Program Files" shouldn't be the deciding factor for where it puts its datafile

PJ 2007-05-04 16:06

The MAJOR problem with his program is that it uses TINY UNREADABLE FONTS - totally ignores any window and goes for a font that would be readable if your screen resolution was 640x480

Robert Kausch 2007-05-10 08:27

BonkEnc normally puts its configuration file in the application directory. However, when installed under "Program Files"* it usually doesn't have the right to write to that directory (unless run with admin privileges). So the configuration file is stored under "Application Data" in this case.

Considering that, it actually makes sense that being installed under "Program Files" is the deciding factor for that.

* of course BonkEnc determines the name of the "Program Files" directory dynamically in order to work on international versions of Windows

Robert Kausch 2007-05-10 08:27

I'm aware that the font used by BonkEnc is too small for some people. That will be one of the main concerns in BonkEnc v1.1 development.

However, the problem is not as extreme as you say. The font size used by BonkEnc is the Windows default of 96dpi. This is normally used on screen resolutions up to 1280x1024.

Agya Kofi 2007-05-20 04:14

Tried version 1.0.2 on WINXP SP2. It does NOT recognise my cd drives.
PowerEnc is a better solution(It's a tad slower).
The cd ripper in good old WMP is simple and faster.

alphashadow 2007-09-13 13:32

can it convert aac into wav or mp3 so i can move my iTunes collection?

paksoy 2008-01-26 09:46

Great work on this program, it's fast and the quality is a bit better than cdex. One suggestion though, it would be nice if there was some sort of audible notification (play a sound) when ripping a CD is completed.

mvojvodic 2008-01-28 05:19

The ripped music quality depends on Lame or similar encoders.
I tried both CDex and BonkEnc and they perform equally. Maybe
CDex as a GUI encoder shell is little outdated, but I update LameEnc.dll manually and have no problems.

QwertMan 2008-01-29 12:51

Fast, easy, best audio converter I've ever used.

Onesimus Prime 2008-04-04 12:51

I've had some troubles with 1.0.6 and 1.0.7, but it's still my favorite portable audio converter (and maybe fave overall) - even if I'm stuck back at 1.0.5.

Remember, BonkEnc can use WinAmp 2 or 5 in_*.dll files to add more input formats. grannyGeek and others found and posted several helpful collections of these, which are at:

(copied from the forum thread at )


Tala 2008-04-30 08:02

Onesimus Prime, thanks a million for the "in_wm.dll", the one that doesn't require a separate SDK file. You saved my day, I'd just about given up. It's the only one that works for me.

Simon 2008-05-12 15:22

After a long experience with mp3 encoders, I've found BonkEnc to be one of the best in ease of use, resource usage and configurability.

ander 2008-08-11 23:26

Wow. Considering BonkEnc is free, and the great amount of time it takes to develop ANY good software, PJ's hostility was way out of line.

Robert, since it seems unlikely PJ's going to apologize, I'll apologize for him.

Midas 2008-09-18 03:22

Whatever the (de)merits of this app are, I concur with *ander* above and extend an humble apology for PJ's behaviour.

Please disregard any such comments and keep up your effort on behalf of the public good.

Onesimus Prime 2008-10-22 01:50

Oops, just discovered the in_vorbis.dll I was using writes to the registry. If I remember correctly, it's at HKCU\Software\Winamp\in_vorbis

So if you downloaded the three archives of DLLs from MediaFire (above) and you're using that same in_vorbis.dll, 1by1 would not *quite* be stealth anymore (or rather, that plugin would not be stealth).

Robert Kausch 2009-01-03 04:54

@peter: DSS is a proprietary and closed format. The companies behind it do not release any detailed information and do not allow open source projects to implement DSS support. There is no free decoder available for the format, so unfortunately BonkEnc cannot support it.

Tin Soul 2009-03-08 01:31

I just used BonkEnc for the first time today and it worked flawlessly. I converted some MP4's to MP3 format for my portable player. I always liked Cdex for ripping, but it looks like BonkEnc might be what I use in the future.

semiRocket 2009-05-01 21:02

This I like...

Design is crazy in a god way.

h 2009-06-22 11:58

This is a great little program, I love it! It's easy to use, free, unicode support everything I want!

Try it out if you have been frustrated over finding a decent audio conversion program!

Meter 2009-07-15 13:09

I like BonkEnc a lot, but I don't think it's stealth. Both the help file and my own experience show that it stores configs in C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data.

tim 2009-08-04 12:43

@Meter: It does not write to C:\ if run from a USB stick. Only if installed to C:\Program Files\.

Meter 2009-08-05 09:53

@tim: Thanks for the info! I have both a standard install in C:\Program Files as well as a portable install in C:\Program Files\Portable\Apps. (I use the latter as a holding tank for portable apps that I need to xfer to USB as needed).

I just now installed another version in C:\Foobar and indeed this one is creating config files in its own app directory.

a 2009-08-10 15:39

never really works when I need it too.

ftl 2009-09-17 10:01

I just got back from using Linux for 2 years to Win and to my surprise, CDex was still the same, old beta. I came across BonkEnc and honestly, I don't see a reason to use CDex anymore. Even with full cdparanoia options, it's rather fast. All CDs I tried so far went smoothly.
I didn't check very closely, but it seems it borrowed quite a lot from CDex, can anyone confirm that? And btw, the minimalistic interface is just cool, I like it, nice work.

Z 2009-10-03 19:50

When I go to encode I don't have the LAME mp3 option how do I get it?

Robert Kausch 2009-10-22 07:10

@Z: You probably downloaded the version. They removed the LAME encoder from the main package and do now offer it as a plugin for separate download.

Unless you want the menu, you can just as well use the official BonkEnc release. It's portable too and already includes the LAME encoder.

Frederick 2010-01-01 23:01

I have the version. Took me awhile to find the mp3 plugin. Thought I'd paste the link to the mp3 encoder link here to save others the challenge (it's offered as a PortableApp, installed via the menu). As far as I can tell, the PortableApp version of BonkEnc does not allow for plugins.

ArnaudNime 2010-07-05 07:11

The download link for 1.0.15 points on the zip containing the source files. The right file to point on for portable binary is

Mark 2010-09-15 17:53

Is it okay to use the auto updater included or does it put stuff in the registry?.

Robert Kausch 2010-09-19 13:06

The auto updater does not put anything in the registry. It stores everything it needs in eupdate.xml.

Mark 2010-10-14 20:16

That 's excellent, thank you for the (superb application) and prompt reply apologies I mean Robert!!

RBA 2010-11-12 17:42

@ Robert, thanks for great tool, it looks excellent to me, the installed version works pretty good, i only have one problem with the portable version on by USB Pen, I get the error message: "Windows denys access to the CD Rom Drive - please contact the System Admin" - do you know any help?

Ancient Images 2010-11-14 23:20

fre:ac? Seriously? They renamed their program to something Win XP can't even handle as a filename?

How the heck do I pronounce that, free-colon-ack?

Foot 2010-11-15 00:25

The downloads page offers two zip files (at 10-11-15). The 5.5MB is the one that works with the "How to extract" instructions.

Wolfghost 2010-11-15 04:58

@Foot: Updated

Robert Kausch 2010-11-15 08:02

@RBA: You get the message on XP Pro, because it denies direct access to the CD/DVD drives for non-administrator users by default. You need to change the local security policy on such systems:

@Ancient: You can call the folder "freac". That's what the installer does as well. And it's pronounced like "freak".

Hawk 2010-12-05 00:07

Don't convert .m4a to .mp3. :(

webfork 2010-12-05 03:09

Hawk: I tested this as well and yes the program doesn't appear to read quicktime-encoded M4A files. It does claim to support other formats and can encode M4A files.

Workaround: convert M4A files to WAV in iTunes, then open in fre:ac. Never use iTunes' own mp3 encoder.

enzo 2010-12-05 10:15

fre:ac supports AAC encoded .m4a files which are the most common. However, there's also ALAC encoded .m4a (Apple Lossless) which is not supported by fre:ac v1.0.x. Support for opening ALAC files has been added in snapshot 20100727.

Checker 2010-12-05 19:37

Download link changed to ZIP-file, because the hotfix-link was not the complete packet.

PartiallyHydronatedSoybeanOil 2011-02-11 19:06

How stupid.. the portableapps version removes the mp3 codec and offers it as a seperate download. But that's just a nuisance. the stupid part is that it doesn't even keep the settings that are written to %AppData%\freac . actually that's not very portable at all!

Now I have to question if other PortableApps are deliberately leaving settings behind.

PartiallyHydronatedSoybeanOil 2011-02-11 19:32

I guess this has to do with using "C:\Programs Files\PortableApps". Still, the PortableApps launcher should stick to it's name regardless where it's installed. Oh well, I wrote my own launcher.

JohnTHaller 2011-02-11 22:04

Running portable software in "Program Files" has always been a bad idea and some apps key on it for using local settings (see also: Sumatra PDF). Plus, they simply won't work due to security settings in Vista and Windows 7 anyway. Splitting the MP3 codec out is due to licensing and distribution reasons (namely, the fre:ac publisher doesn't have a patent license to distribute the MP3 codec which is relevant in some countries).

Magibon 2011-04-02 21:36

great app., i was using Payware "RiverPast" for my MP3 projects. Now i have a free, light alternative.

Great Addition!


PartiallyHydronatedSoybeanOil 2011-04-03 00:23

@John, I didn't expect a reply. Okay I understand the patent law is f***ed and needs to be reformed, I get that part loud clear. That's not my main issue as pointed out. I have over 100 apps that are happy to live in Program Files directory. It doesn't matter if you think is a bad idea, you didn't install it there, I did. If your launchers are letting apps leak user data, then you need to fix it.


Magibon 2011-04-03 07:47

@ PartiallyHydronatedSoybeanOil

Surely you understand John, PortableFreeware, and PortableApps do not charge for their work? You need an attitude check. They work hard, and share their work free of charge. They are not obligated to do anything. Quite the contrary, you should be grateful!


PartiallyHydronatedSoybeanOil 2011-04-03 15:20

That's besides the point, obviously. Unless John replies, I'm done with conversation.


JMPaul 2011-04-06 02:49

WMA config crash. If you select wma pro at 100% VBR feac may crash if you try to change it. You can delete the config XML file in application data folder to get another chance to select another WMA pro setting. Maybe it can help with other crashes too?


Goran 2011-05-13 22:51

mp3 file conversion crash with version 1.0.18 and 1.0.19.
Also, version 1.0.17 cut first few seconds mp3 files, only bug fix for 1.0.17a works.


hamasaki 2013-07-29 12:46

This has been my preferred mp3 ripper for ages. Superb.


smaragdus 2014-07-28 15:22


Checker 2014-07-28 16:10

@ smaragdus: Thanks ... and updated ;)


smaragdus 2016-12-05 14:51

I prefer freac snapshots to freac stable because the snapshots support more encoders (including the best one- OptimFROG, Monkey's Audio, WavPack, etc).


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