Switch Audio File Converter takes simplistic yet powerful approach to creating MP3 converter software. Although it offers addons like an audio editor, its primary objective is converting files, and it accomplishes that remarkably well. Switch Audio File Converter is the most comprehensive option, and wins our approval as the best overall MP3 converter.
The multitude of compatible file formats, regarding both input and output, are remarkable.
17 formats ??? much more than standard MP3 converter software ??? are permissible for outputs. Even the obscure GSM and AMR formats are available. This alone speaks to the amount of effort the developers invested in the product. Unlike most MP3 converters, which stick to the most common output formats and ignore the more obscure ones, Switch seemingly went through every possible output format to decide which ones they could include; and they included most of them. Other programs charge nearly as much–if not more–than Switch for use, but don’t even come close to offering the amount of options, both in terms of conversion formats and customization.
This variety of formats makes conversions compatible on basically any medium for any reason. By implementing the Batch conversion feature, users can create playlists supported by Winamp, for example. They don???t have to go through the process of converting a bunch of files, opening Winamp, creating a new playlist, and then finding the new files and adding them to said playlist. Instead, Switch can be applied to convert a bunch of files straight to a playlist. That feature is extremely useful as a time-saver, especially for those with a large number of playlists.
The customization options available for every format, including MP3, also push Switch to the top of the list. For example, when encoding with MP3, you can choose a standard bitrate such as 320kpbs. Moreover, you can designate variable bitrates, meaning you can specify the minimum and maximum bitrates for a more dynamic sound. Even deeper than that, you can select the quality of the variable bitrate conversions and even check the option to use CRC to detect problems. Every format has similar options–more evidence that NCH strived to create the best MP3 converter software on the market. In fact, many customizations are so obscure that the Help or Wikipedia will become a very common resource.
Conversion speeds relate to the chosen output format and the bitrates within. Unfortunately, unlike Tunebite, nothing like High-Speed Dubbing exists, so you won???t be able to convert something like 27 files at one time. The ???batch??? conversion is simply going through multiple files one-by-one, a disappointing revelation. With how much effort NCH put into incorporating multiple file formats, we???re surprised they didn???t develop a system for simultaneous conversions (although that feature is extremely, extremely rare. Barely any programs do it). However, that small issue does not detract from the high overall quality of the program.
Upon installation, Switch offers downloads for a few other programs, all related to audio.
One is WavePad, an extensive audio editor. If you only download Switch, you won???t be able to access the full list of features for WavePad or any other related program, so keep that in mind. However, even while many features are omitted from the ???trial??? versions, the programs are still highly practical. WavePad is wonderful for simple audio editing like trimming, fading in and out, removing hiss and noise. Further, its list of effects is striking. Adding echo, reverb, and even envelopers is a simple and fun process. Just fooling around brings impressive and rewarding results.
In actuality, WavePad is a wonderful choice for those searching for a decent, extensive audio editing program without paying a large sum of money. NCH deserves further kudos for offering the ability to install WavePad and the proceeding programs during the Switch installation. They don’t cost another dime, and they add a great deal of further practicality to converted audio files.
If recording is more of your speed, RecordPad allows for some extremely precise recording options ??? especially when juxtaposed with the default ???Sound Recorder??? on PCs or webcam recordings. Some of the settings include recording only when voice-activation is present, customizing the sample rates and frequency for intricate sound alteration, and even includes an option to send recordings straight to an FTP server. Furthermore, it works in tandem with WavePad, allowing users to edit their recordings with semi-professional-level elements.
Like other pieces of MP3 converter software that are simply converters and not suites, Switch is a minimalist, lightweight, easily-navigable program.
The color scheme is non-existent. It???s basically all white with some metallic tinges that offer some depth. This approach to the design further accentuates the purpose of the software: converting, converting, converting. Every icon, menu and dialogue box relates to that action, so no matter what users are doing, they???ll at least know it has something to do with converting files.
The main pane contains selected or added files; a row of icons, such as Add Files and Options, sit above that main pane, and below the main box are customizable conversion options like specifying the output folder and format.
Simplistic interfaces commonly come as a result of quick or lax development and design. However, Switch???s straightforward interface seems highly deliberate. No extra colors and no flashy flourishes are included???nothing to distract from what users come to do.
Ease of Use
Because Switch is another piece of minimalist MP3 converter software???meaning it doesn???t include all the auxiliary features of audio suites???the learning curve is low. It will only take a few minutes to get fully acquainted with the program, although if you wish to immerse yourself in the intricacies of all the output formats, that will take far, far longer.
Simply operating the program does not pose much of a problem at all; we experienced zero crashes or freezing when using Windows 7, which bodes well because prior versions of Windows will probably experience even fewer complications.
Switch has internal help contents along with a healthy amount of assistance found on their Support section of their website. Everything from a FAQs page to handy guides for converting files to submitting requests for future versions is included.
Switch is a wonderful piece of MP3 converter software because of the extensive list of compatible output formats and the customizable properties of each. The price is not daunting, though it does run on the high end. Taking everything into account, you???ll be hard-pressed to find an MP3 converter with greater versatility in terms of conversions, and the practically of the additional features provides exciting possibilities.