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Sync FLAC music files to Ogg Vorbis (or keep lossy as-is)

Project description


brutha is an answer to the utter failure of sound conversion tools.

It will flawlessly transcode lossless files or copy lossy files, to a provided directory, with a “synchronization” behavior.

By carefully keeping the files’ timestamps, it also allows that destination to be easily rsynced elsewhere, and thus avoid any useless transfers.

Due to the usage of formats with Ogg containers, no tags are lost in the process of converting FLAC to Ogg Vorbis.

Since transcoding requires a lot of CPU time, it is useful to run as many jobs as possible in parallel. brutha will try to make use of powerful, time-tested tools (either GNU make, GNU parallel, or similar implementations) to do so. It’s not perfect but good enough while keeping it simple.

To our knowledge, no other solution can fully:

  • avoid encoding again files that were already processed at an earlier run
  • convert only lossless files (no lossy to lossy)
  • keep the directory structure
  • handle a huge number of files
  • handle parallel job execution (and not crash)
  • use the proper Ogg Vorbis settings (setting quality and not average bitrate)
  • guarantee usage of the highest quality resampling algorithms
  • save space for lossy files by using hardlinks or reflinks
  • not be an annoying GUI

To sum up, brutha is a music converter tailored to audiophiles, who want to convert their huge collections to more portable destinations, with the highest quality/size ratio in mind.

brutha is very simple and rests on the shoulders on giants: FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, sox, Python, mutagen, GNU Make, GNU Parallel, Bash, etc.


The first one is space. Since you can store locally all the source files, we suppose you also can store the smaller destination files locally. Alternatively, you will be able to sync to a portable player, a remote filesystem (NFS, sshfs, etc.) without issues except lower performance.

Software requirements

Optional :


brutha [options] SOURCE DESTINATION

brutha -h provides help for all available options.

You can run python -m brutha to use it without installing.

Default values

brutha tries to detect how many cores you have (run brutha -h to check the default for -j). It also tries to use a parallel method (make or parallel instead of sh) if available.

By default, it does not run or delete anything; when you are experienced with its usage, you will likely call it with -x (execute) and -d (delete).


A typical use would be:

brutha -d -x -q6 -R44100 -B16 ~/Music /mnt/portable_music_player/Music

This downsamples music to 16/44 as most portable players don’t handle 24/96 well (-R44100 -B16), encodes FLAC to Ogg at a reasonable quality (-q6), deletes old unwanted files (-d), and executes the commands right away (-x).


Since encoding eats a lot of CPU, you should start it at a low priority. The simplest way is to run nice -n19 brutha instead of only brutha.


  • 1.1.1
    • Fix some corner cases with directory walking.
  • 1.1.0
    • Add sox option to guard against clipping.
    • Add options to create hardlinks or reflinks.
    • Make parallel the default if available.
    • Code and documentation improvements.
    • Support for newer parallel versions.
  • 1.0.2
    • Code improvements.
    • Show defaults in command-line help.
  • 1.0.1
    • Bugfixes.


brutha is considered feature-complete. Python 3 support is waiting for mutagen.

If you want to help, here are some possibilities:

  • Support other formats (currently only FLAC to Ogg Vorbis, with Ogg Vorbis and MP3 as exact copies).
  • Make mutagen optional (only required for frequency / bit depth checks).
  • Port mutagen to Python 3
  • Support downmixing (5.1 to 2.0 for instance)

Contributions can be sent in the form of git patches, to

Project details

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