cwenc - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Logo

Q: Is cwenc really free?
A: Yes. You do not have to pay anything, or do anything special, or accept obnoxious banner ads, or whatever, in order to use cwenc. If you would like to hack the source code, you can even download it. If you want to incorporate the code in another software product, you could do that as well. If Cakewalk would want to ditch their own encoder and sell this tool instead, they could do this (not much chance of this happening, but I like the idea :-) ).

Q: OK, so it's free, but what's the catch?
A: There's no catch. I developed cwenc, because a) I could, b) it was fun (yes, I'm a nerd), and c) I needed a tool like this when my time-limited copy of Cakewalk's own encoder ran out of time, and the alternative would be to buy the full version (or use Jonas Eckerman's excellent shell).

Q: What about MP3 licensing? I have read that you need to have a license from Fraunhofer/Thomson if you use an MP3 encoder?
A: Strictly speaking this is correct. According to the licensing conditions put forward by Thomson (who owns the MP3 patents), anyone who develops software with MP3 encoding or decoding must purchase a license for each copy of the software sold. But for free software they have unofficialy accepted that no such fee is required. This can however change in the future. But this would be a problem for the developer of the encoding tool (me), and not for the user (you). No one will ever be able to cause you pain for using cwenc. If Thomson should ever start to give me problems in this area, I would simply remove the MP3 support from cwenc in future releases, and stick with Ogg Vorbis.

Q: Why does cwenc not support MP3 bitrates lower than 32 kbit/sec?
A: This is a limitation in the LAME encoder, and not something I can (will) do much about. Besides, you don't need lower bitrates. As an ambitious musician you would not want anyone to listen to your music in such a crappy quality.

Q: How do I publish my songs
A: If you are not concerned with making any money out of your songs, and just want a nice free place with to host your stuff, then I can recommend SoundClick. They run a completely free hosting service for home-recording non-commercial musicians, but as a consequence you cannot charge any fees for people listeting to or downloading your songs. If this is what you want, then you should probably try or similar commercial service.

Q: Is Ogg Vorbis really better than MP3?
A: Yes, without a doubt. You can either get better sound quality with the same file size, or the same sound quality with a smaller file. Any which way, you win. And it's free, and will always remain free.

Q: How can I use cwenc with Sonar 4?
A: You cannot. Cakewalk changed the interface to the encoder completely for Sonar 4, so cwenc will not work with Sonar 4. And as I have absolutely no plans of buying Sonar 4, it is very unlikely to happen in the future. The good news is that Cakewalk has added an option to specifically configure an external encoder. I'm told that it is accessible in the "Tools" menu. You can then configure Sonar to use the Lame encoder directly, and you have thus no need for cwenc anymore.