With FLAC files, OGG files, and new file types offering lossless compression being introduced almost monthly, it is hard to keep up. And when one of my buddies sent me his recently finished album yesterday as an .APE file, I was clueless. A few Google searches later, and I’ve been turned onto a new format.

Not unlike our FLAC files, an APE is a lossless codec developed by Monkey’s Audio. But like the FLAC files, APEs are not supported by very many audio players (which will hopefully change soon). Basically you get 1 big APE file with another “cue” file rather than multiple song files. When decoded, the extraction yields all the tracks, artwork, ISBN, UPC, and any other coded info, and places all the data into a new folder. Pretty cool.

But the real story here is the new Coder/Decoder I found in this process: MAX. Here is what I have been waiting for. This open source software — free-ware actually — allows the user to rip CDs into almost ANY format. Not only that, but you can convert from format to format more easily than any other software I have found. Want to convert those FLAC files into MP3s? No prob. How about Ogg into FLAC? Yep. How about WAV to FLAC to APE to Apple Lossless to Speex? That might take awhile, but you could do it. Long story short, I can now remove a few of my ripping/encoding applications freeing up some much needed space on my hard drive(s).

What will go into that space, you ask? I’m planning on ripping in all of my vinyl very very soon. First on the priority list: my Love, Peace & Poetry compilations (after I pick up the new one just released!)