Convert virtually any audio file format to MP3 with ease

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If you ever come across a case where you need to convert audio file of any strange format to MP3, here’s how.

Nowadays, you often come across situations where different music file formats do not work practically everywhere. However, when you do, it can be maddening. When converting an audio file to work with another application or service, your best option is usually to encode it as MP3. Here is an overview of a few ways to do it. The first two options are free, but the last, Xrecode, is an affordable audio converter utility.

Convert audio files using Audacity

Audacity is multitrack audio editing and recording software, and you can do a lot of things with it. It’s a great free tool for those new to podcasting or home music recording. But here we are just looking to use it for a simple function. First, download Audacity – note that it is cross-platform and available for Mac, Windows and Linux. Although you can convert multiple audio formats to save them to MP3, you also need to install the LAME MP3 encoder. But don’t worry, if you didn’t install it at first, Audacity will provide a link to get it.

Once installed, launch Audacity and drag the audio file you need to convert. For this example, I’m converting a WAV file to MP3. Then go to File> Export audio and choose the location to save the file, give it a name and choose MP3 as the file type. If you are a more advanced user, you can choose the audio quality and stereo settings.

3 Audacity Export audio

You will get a screen asking if you want to manually enter metadata for the file. Click OK and wait for the file to be processed. The time required varies depending on the size of the file, but it only takes a few seconds.

Convert audio files using VLC

Another free option you have is to use the desktop version of VLC. Launch it, and in the menu, click Media and choose Convert / Save menu.

You can drag and drop the file to the box at the top, and it will be automatically copied to the path. Then click on the Convert / Save button at the bottom.

Then under Settings, choose MP3 from the drop-down menu, provide a destination path for it, and click Start.

Of course, VLC can also play any kind of media file you throw at it, convert video files to audio, etc. Be sure to check out our article: Five Awesome Things You Didn’t Know VLC Could Do.

Convert audio files using Xrecode

Xrecode is not free, but it is cheap and powerful for converting audio files. With it, you can convert any file format to another. To convert a file to MP3, launch it and drag it to the top area. Pop in the destination where you want the output file, choose MP3 as the output format, and hit the start button.

If you want to take it a step further, you will find that this is a great tool for ripping CDs to any file format. I used it to finally convert a good portion of my CD collection (remember?) To lossless FLAC format for storage on my home server. I should also note here that Windows 10 natively supports FLAC and MKV files.

Another good thing about Xrecode is that it is optional in the context menu of Windows 10. Just right click on a file and you can choose the format you want to convert it to.

You can also convert video files to MP3 or any other audio format. This is great if you have a live concert on DVD or Blu-ray and want to extract audio from it or convert video podcast to audio only. We have already covered how to rip concert DVDs to MP3, but it’s much easier with Xrecode. You can also go to settings and change the quality of the files. It offers a 30-day free trial, but if you need to convert audio file formats on a regular basis, Xrecode 3 is well worth the price at just EU 10 or $ 15.

Compatibility of audio files was a much bigger issue several years ago, when we had many competing audio players, software, and formats. But it’s rare to run into compatibility issues these days. But when you do, hopefully one of the options above will help.

Do you ever need to convert an occasional audio or video file? Let us know what your favorite conversion tools are in the comments section below.


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