How to Combine wav/mp3 Files (Using free tools)

I know that this is random, but I came upon this problem for a project at work. Googling it led me to a bunch of commercial solutions and non-useful resources. I wanted at least one useful article to have a chance in the search engines.

Here was my Problem

I have many directories of wav files that in the old days were used to create a CD set which we sold. We haven’t sold the CD course for several years now, and the boss recently said “Let’s release the whole shebang for free as a podcast or something.” I could go through and convert and tag all the wav files to mp3s and then post them separately. But I’m lazy and some of the 18 or so CDs have over 20 tracks. How much easier would it be if I could just combine one CD’s worth of material into a single track?

This is pretty straightforward to do in Audacity, but I would still have to import all those tracks and line them up end to end. I wanted something a little more automated. What I found was a command line tool called sox. Sox is cross platform, so you can do this on Win/Mac/Linux, although my comments will be directed specifically for the windows crowd.

Now to The Useful Part

  1. Download & install sox (Sound Exchange) Make sure you put sox on your “path.” If you don’t know how to do that, here’s one walkthrough.
  2. Download & unzip the LAME mp3 Encoder into the sox directory. On that download page, I used the x86-Win32 version. You’ll need this if you are working with mp3 files.
  3. Put a bunch of audio files that you want to merge into a directory.
  4. Open a command window in that directory. If you are in the windows file explorer, you go can hold down shift while right clicking on a folder. “Open command window here” will appear on the pop up menu.
  5. Type the sox command.
    sox input_file_name_1.wav input_file_name_2.wav [... more input file names] output_file_name.mp3

    Now let sox do it’s magic. My files were already conveniently named in the order I wanted them in the merged file, so I could use

    sox *.wav output.mp3

    Note: if you have a lot of files, this will take a while. Just have faith that your prompt will eventually come back.

  6. Rejoice

You can do a lot more with sox if you want the output mp3 to have different-than-the-default quality and bit rate. You can also boost volume and do all sorts of other processing. All of that, however is beyond the scope of this post.

There, now I only have to tag 18 files rather than spend a whole day doing it.

Oh, and if you’re at all curious as to the project I’m doing, it’s a real estate investment training course. I’ll start posting the audio files within a day or two.

Yet Another App for Writers.

I love index cards. I have a stack of them on my desk at all times. I carry a few with me at all times. I use them for all sorts of things.

Last weekend I was obsessed with an idea. What if there was an app out there where I could use virtual index cards to plan out my writing? There are a few programs out there for keeping digital note cards, but none of them really hit the sweet spot for me. For example, I already own a copy of scrivener. Yes, it has it’s cork board index card view – and that works great. However, I often crave simpler programs, especially when I’m just batting around ideas. I don’t want a zillion colors or copious amounts of meta data about each card. I just want to add / edit/ rearrange cards. Maybe get out a text file out when I’m done.

Well, I’m a nerd, so you can guess what happened next.

Yep, I built my own.

It’s a web-based application and it is about as simple as I could think to make it while still being useful.

Go check it out.

vindex.in – virtual index cards

Book WP version 2 is here.

Okay. I think I’m satisfied enough to release version 2 of the Book WP theme. It may not be perfect, but if I don’t release it, I’ll just never get around to it.

BookWP_header

This theme is meant to help authors use wordpress to write an online book, rather than just a blog. You can see the theme in action on my site on self-publishing.

More info and a download link can be found on the Book WP page.

Now I’m going to see if I can get it listed in the official WP Themes gallery…

I can’t help myself. (random news)

New Theme.

Yes, I have changed the theme once again. I just can’t stop myself. Anyway, I made it so that StoryHack.com and BryceABeattie.com match fairly closely now. If you see any weirdness with it, please let me know.

In case you’re wondering, to build this theme I started started with lifehacker’s blank theme. Then I added in concepts from The Goldilocks approach.

Free Book Alert

Desiree Finkbeiner, who had a guest post a couple of days ago, just let me know that her publisher is offering her book on kindle for free today. If you’re interested go grab it and give it a read, then go ahead and give it a quick review.

St. Laurent is Almost Done

Friday’s chapter is done and ready to post. I’m working now on the final chapter. After that, I’ll let it sit a week or two and then hit the revisions.

Have I ever showed you guys the cover for it? It’s painted by the same guy who did the redone cover for Oasis.

New (Free) WP Theme for Authors.

Okay, so a little bit ago I mentioned I was working on a secret project. This was not that project. I am freaking excited about that project and I’ll let you know more about it next week. This was a whim project that I put together this week.

Anyway, I just built a WordPress theme that I’m releasing to the world for free. I’ve built a couple of themes and tweaked several before, but this is the first time I’ve released one to the general public.

book_wp_theme_prev

The theme is called Book WP, and it is made to use WordPress as an online book (rather than strictly as a blog). I based the design off the freely available template available over at Bibliotype.org. It took some massaging to get it to work for IE, but I think everything is good now.

You can read more about the theme (& download it) on the official Book WP page, or you can see the beast in action on the Book WP demo.

As to those of you who are looking for the next chapter of Journey of St. Laurent – I’m working on it. I’ll try to get something up this weekend.

Freeware Outliner for Authors: TextTree 1.3

*update 3/7/2013 * I finally got the download link fixed.

Merry Christmas, everybody. Several years ago I wrote a little outliner program to make following Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of writing a novel easier. I put it up for sale and have been selling a copy or two here and there ever since. As it ends up, somewhere in the last two computer crashes I’ve lost the code for the latest version. And it doesn’t look like I’ll be returning to the idea anytime soon.

So I’ve decided to release it as freeware. Thanks to all of you who have supported TextTree in the past.

Download

Text Tree Windows Installer (1.5 MB)

Screen Shots

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(click for larger)

Program Description

Text Tree is an outline based writer’s tool.  It is designed make structured, understandable documents easily and quickly.  Text Tree has been found useful for story writing, FAQ creation, novel planning, manual writing, software support, biographies, and lesson planning.

What really sets Text Tree apart from other outliners is its export abilities. In other outliners, you make a outline of everything, then you have to cut and paste or go node by node to get your information out. Text Tree allows you to quickly export all or part of the information in your outline. For example, if you are organizing information to be displayed on the web, Text Tree can generate an html file with a table of contents to your information.  You can see an example of raw html output from Text Tree in the Text Tree Manual.

For novel writing, lesson planning, or biographical work, the text file exports are more useful.  In fact, Text Tree was originally written so that I could have a tool that would help me follow the snowflake process of writing a novel. If you are unfamiliar with the snowflake method, it is a process in which you distill your project to a single idea, then expand the parts of that idea, and then expand those parts, etc. until you get to the nitty-gritty details.  You then use the nitty-gritty details to write your work.  Text Tree help you expand those ideas in an outline, then allows you to export all that information, or just those nitty-gritty details.  For more information on how to follow the snowflake method with Text Tree, please watch the flash tutorial.

Text Tree also can import/export files from other outliners, including noterrific and Treepad lite.

Requirements

You need at least Windows XP with Java installed.

Java be obtained here for free.