Decoding mp3 files with a right click

Recently I made a very good deal on a used NI Maschine Mk1.

maschine-mk1-2

It is a nifty musical device, includes lots of drum kits and allows me to quickly make some nice tracks (or better: musical snippets).  It’s lots of fun!

Another part of Maschine is that it really simplifies sampling, like this guy demonstrates:

Lots of people take old vinyl records and record a sample through a Numark record player.  I don’t have a Numark and I don’t have vinyl records. But I do have lots of CD’s ripped to mp3 files. Unfortunately Maschine doesn’t support mp3 files, only wav files.

How to convert them?

  • Of course there is Audacity and it even allows batch conversion, but it still is a too much work: open Audacity, open files, batch convert, close Audacity, …
  • I’ve tried looking for programs that would allow me to right click the file in Windows Explorer and convert it. They are available, often install add/malware, but no free programs or they are way to heavy.

Solution: Lame. Next to encoding files, it can also decode them with the –decode option.

Adding that command to the context menu can be done with NirSoft FileTypesMan. (check out the other tools at NirSoft!) Open FileTypesMan, search for mp3, Add new action ‘DecodeToWAV’. For the command-line, browse to the directory where you put lame.exe and add ‘ –decode’. That’s it!

Right click samples in Explorer, select DecodeToWAV and moments later you have a .wav version in the same directory. Couldn’t be simpler.

My list of tools for Windows

I’ll admit it: most of my work is still done on a Windows box.  Linux is used on my home server and of course at most of the clients Linux is used in the embedded systems or as server OS for the applications. But my laptops all use at least Windows, next to Linux in some cases.

So here is my list of free or open source tools that I immediately install on all of my machines:

  • Dropbox: Why Dropbox and not Drive, OneDrive, Box, SugarSync, Wuala, …? Well, because I used a Google AdWords campain to max out my Dropbox at 19GB. So this is quite convenient.
  • Winsplit Revolution: I know Windows has application window management since Windows 7, however, in my opinion Winsplit Revolution is much easier to use and faster with the possibility of the key combinations.
  • Launchy: Again, with the Windows key a lot of the same functionality can be achieved.  However, I let Launchy also index my Dropbox folder with the portable apps, so that at each new pc I always have all my tools under my fingertips.
  • 7-zip: no need for any other (de)compression tools.
  • IrfanView: fastest image viewer and lightweight editor that can handle almost any image type, especially with the extra Plugins/Addons.
  • Paint.NET: already overkill for my graphical needs, but still easy to use and fast startup.
  • Sysinternals Suite: there is always a useful tool in this suite, be it at least Autoruns.exe.
  • ConEmu: best command prompt replacement. Althoug I should take a look at Cmdr.  It wraps up ConEmu and Clink in a nice package.
  • Putty: for your shell needs to Linux machines.
  • Clink: to enhance your command prompt to the command line editing features of Bash.  So small, so very useful!
  • Notepad++: immediately replace notepad.exe with this editor.  There are very useful plugins available.
  • Keepass: I sure hope you are not using the same password for all websites and applications?  Keepass helps you keep track of these passwords.  I know Lastpass and other web applications provide the same functionality.  However, that makes them also the prime targets for hackers, so I’ll just keep track of them myself.
  • FreeFileSync: so useful to easy sync files and folders between computers.  A tool like this is absolutely necessary to allow backs.  You do make backups, don’t you?
  • VLC: forget about MediaPlayer, just install VLC and be done with it.

I also want to point you to Scott Hanselman’s list of tools for Windows.