I have been looking for an easy and fast way to convert the Ape and FLAC files (aka Monkey’s Audio files) with cue sheets I have to a format that I could use for portable music players. Ok, we all love Ape and FLAC because they boast the best sound quality with lossless or lossy compression, but support for them on portable music players seems hard at this time because of the file size they have and the processing power they need.

The common sense way I have come across on the net is: First, decompress the ape file to wave, any audio convertor should be able to do this. Change the .ape extention to .wav inside the .cue file. Recompress it to MP3, split to individual files (or first split, then compress). But I don’t find this a nice way as the I don’t really want to play with gaps, etc. Ok, Cue Splitter software can remove/add gaps but I prefer to do it naturally.

Or, there are software like Ape Ripper, which can convert your ape files to MP3. But then, it doesn’t allow you to pick a specific encoder, like LAME.

So, what I did was: I first looked for an ape plugin for Nero Burning Rom, and found one here – They have plugins based on the official releases by Monkey’s Audio, FLAC or any other format, so it offers the best quality around. Installed the plugin, and boom! Now, Nero can read and write ape files. Then, I chose Nero’s Image Recorder as the recorder, so I can get a .nrg image file. Just use the Burn Image option and pick the cue file, and it will write it as a .nrg image. Afterwards, I used Daemon Tools (or any other similar software) to mount the .nrg image file so I can rip it with any software I want.

This way, you can use EAC and LAME couple to make your portable music files sound a little better with right settings, or you can directly use the CD rippers of iTunes or SonicStage. Also, your mounted image file will (most probably – all of mine have been found) be found on freedb or Gracenote/CDDB, so you won’t spend extra time with tagging. Depending on the compression settings and your cpu, this should take you a maximum of five minutes to get all these done.

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