Recursive Command-Line FLAC to Opus Conversion

· 793 words · 4 minutes

Converting FLAC to OPUS

I am currently rebuilding my music library from scratch so that I can effectively archive all of the music I own in the FLAC file format, a lossless audio codec.

However, streaming FLAC files outside of the home can be difficult due to the size of the files, especially if you're using a weak connection.

So, in order to archive the music in a lossless format and still be able to stream it easily, I opted to create a copy of my FLAC files in the Opus audio codec. This allows me to archive a quality, lossless version of the music and then point my streaming service to the smaller, stream-ready version.


The process I follow utilizes the opus-tools package in Ubuntu. Before proceeding, install the package:

sudo apt install opus-tools

If you want to use a different conversion method, such as ffmpeg or avconv, simply install that package instead.

Conversion Process

The script I'm using is stored in my home directory, but feel free to create it wherever you want. It does not need to be in the same directory as your music files.

cd ~ && nano

Once you have your new bash script opened in an editor, go ahead and paste the following logic into the script.

You MUST edit the following variables in order for it to work:

You MAY want to edit the following variables to suit your needs:

## - The IFS takes care of spaces in file and dirnames
## - your folders may vary
## - what you mount to the folders does not matter
## - in RELDIR, the f5 most likely MUST be edited,
##    since its responsible, how many leading directories
##    will be removed from the directory structure in order
##    to append that exact path to the outfile
## - the commented echos are still in place in order to give
##    you the variables for testing, before running.


## the paths given here contain the directory structure that I want to keep
## source=/mnt/music/archives/ARTIST/ALBUM/FLACFILE.flac
## local=/mnt/music/library/ARTIST/ALBUM/OPUSFILE.opus


for i in $(find $source -type f -iname '*.flac' );
        fulldir=$(dirname "${i}")
        reldir="$(echo $fulldir | cut -d'/' -f5-)"

# is that working?
# outfile='$local/""$(echo $(dirname "${i}") | cut -d'/' -f5-)"//flac"/"${i##*/}"'
#       echo 'output file: ' "$outfile"

#       echo 'File found:' "$i"
#       echo 'Relative dir: ' "$reldir"
#       echo 'directory will be created: ' "$outdir"
#       echo 'Filename: ' "$filename"
#       echo 'FileExt: ' "$extension"
#       echo 'output file: ' "$outfile"

echo "\n\n"

## CREATE Output Folders
        mkdir -p "$outdir"

## RUN
# ffmpeg and avconv are alternative options if opusenc isn't adequate
opusenc --vbr --bitrate 128 --date "$DATE" \
--title "$TITLE" --artist "$ARTIST" --album "$ALBUM" --genre "$GENRE" \
--comment "LYRICS=$LYRICS" "$fullfile" "$outfile"

## just for testing
#        sleep 1

Once you're done, simply save the file and exit your editor. Don't forget to enable execution of the script:

chmod +x

Finally, you may now run the script:


If you used opusenc, you'll see the conversions happen within the terminal as it progresses. You will also see variables printed if you un-commented any of the bash script's comments.


As I noted above, I didn't customize my reldir variable in the script, which caused my output directory to be /mnt/music/library/archives instead of /mnt/music/library. So, I moved the output up one level and deleted the accidental directory.

cd /mnt/music/library
mv archives/* .
rm -rf archives

Check Resulting Size

If you want to see what kind of file size savings you've gained, you can always use the du command to check:

cd /mnt/music
du -h --max-depth=1 .

In my case, my small library went from 78GB all the way down to 6.3GB!

78G    ./archives
6.3G   ./library