convert plugin lets you convert parts of your collection to a
directory of your choice, transcoding audio and embedding album art along the
way. It can transcode to and from any format using a configurable command
To convert a part of your collection, run
beet convert QUERY. The
command will transcode all the files matching the query to the
destination directory given by the
--dest) option or the
dest configuration. The path layout mirrors that of your library,
but it may be customized through the
paths configuration. Files
that have been previously converted—and thus already exist in the
destination directory—will be skipped.
The plugin uses a command-line program to transcode the audio. With the
--format) option you can choose the transcoding command
and customize the available commands
through the configuration.
--yes) flag is set, the command will list all
the items to be converted and ask for your confirmation.
--album) option causes the command
to match albums instead of tracks.
By default, the command places converted files into the destination directory
and leaves your library pristine. To instead back up your original files into
the destination directory and keep converted files in your library, use the
To test your configuration without taking any actions, use the
flag. The plugin will print out the commands it will run instead of executing
To configure the plugin, make a
convert: section in your configuration
file. The available options are:
- auto: Import transcoded versions of your files automatically during
imports. With this option enabled, the importer will transcode all (in the
default configuration) non-MP3 files over the maximum bitrate before adding
them to your library.
- tmpdir: The directory where temporary files will be stored during import. Default: none (system default),
- copy_album_art: Copy album art when copying or transcoding albums matched
- album_art_maxwidth: Downscale album art if it’s too big. The resize
operation reduces image width to at most
maxwidthpixels while preserving the aspect ratio.
- dest: The directory where the files will be converted (or copied) to. Default: none.
- embed: Embed album art in converted items. Default:
- id3v23: Can be used to override the global
- max_bitrate: All lossy files with a higher bitrate will be transcoded and those with a lower bitrate will simply be copied. Note that this does not guarantee that all converted files will have a lower bitrate—that depends on the encoder and its configuration. Default: none.
- no_convert: Does not transcode items matching provided query string
(see Queries). (i.e.
- never_convert_lossy_files: Cross-conversions between lossy codecs—such
as mp3, ogg vorbis, etc.—makes little sense as they will decrease quality
even further. If set to
yes, lossy files are always copied. Default:
- paths: The directory structure and naming scheme for the converted
files. Uses the same format as the top-level
pathssection (see Path Format Configuration). Default: Reuse your top-level path format settings.
- quiet: Prevent the plugin from announcing every file it processes.
- threads: The number of threads to use for parallel encoding. By default, the plugin will detect the number of processors available and use them all.
You can also configure the format to use for transcoding (see the next section):
- format: The name of the format to transcode to when none is specified on
the command line.
- formats: A set of formats and associated command lines for transcoding each.
Configuring the transcoding command¶
You can customize the transcoding command through the
and select a command with the
--format command-line option or the
convert: format: speex formats: speex: command: ffmpeg -i $source -y -acodec speex $dest extension: spx wav: ffmpeg -i $source -y -acodec pcm_s16le $dest
In this example
beet convert will use the speex command by
default. To convert the audio to wav, run
beet convert -f wav.
This will also use the format key (
wav) as the file extension.
Each entry in the
formats map consists of a key (the name of the
format) as well as the command and optionally the file extension.
extension is the filename extension to be used for newly transcoded
files. If only the command is given as a string or the extension is not
provided, the file extension defaults to the format’s name.
command is the
command to use to transcode audio. The tokens
$dest in the
command are replaced with the paths to the existing and new file.
The plugin in comes with default commands for the most common audio
formats: mp3, alac, flac, aac, opus, ogg, wmv. For
details have a look at the output of
beet config -d.
For a one-command-fits-all solution use the
convert.extension options. If these are set, the formats are ignored
and the given command is used for all conversions.
convert: command: ffmpeg -i $source -y -vn -aq 2 $dest extension: mp3
Gapless MP3 encoding¶
#!/bin/sh ffmpeg -i "$1" -f wav - | lame -V 2 --noreplaygain - "$2"
Then configure the
convert plugin to use the script:
convert: command: /path/to/script.sh $source $dest extension: mp3
This strategy configures FFmpeg to produce a WAV file with an accurate length
header for LAME to use. Using
--noreplaygain disables gain analysis; you
can use the ReplayGain Plugin to do this analysis. See the LAME
documentation and the HydrogenAudio wiki for other LAME configuration
options and a thorough discussion of MP3 encoding.