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View Full Version : How do I batch covert m4a files to mp3 please?



mikehende
12-22-2014, 01:12 PM
Hey guys, friend of mine just brought his macbook to me, his niece copied around 50 cd's into itunes but now every file is showing as m4a and he needs to convert them all to mp3, searching the net I am only finding videos on how to convert "an m4a file to mp3 in itunes" but what I am not seeing is how to "batch" convert to mp3. Guess what I need as first option is some way to select all 60 albums and have them converted, if that is not possible then I would need to convert all 50 albums one by one which obviously I will try to avoid, what's my best option please?

RadDave
12-22-2014, 02:35 PM
Hi Mike.... - well as you likely know, the default iTunes audio codec is AAC which Apple uses for their tunes in the store. Not sure about a 'batch conversion' option, but I've used a quick 'free' program called Adapter (http://adapter-support.macroplant.com/customer/portal/questions/8521412-mp3-tags) - screenshot below. There was an issue (see link) on whether the 'tags' were carried to the MP3 conversions, but I've done several albums and the information is present.

If you google 'm4a to mp3', you'll of course get plenty of hits, some free and others at a price, and I'm sure that at least the latter paid apps will have a batch choice. Good luck - Dave :)
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mikehende
12-22-2014, 02:47 PM
So for my knowledge, if you import a cd into itunes, it will be in the AAC format by default but I am guessing I can change the import format to mp3 in itunes settings for future use for the friend?

Also, I guess the Adapter utility your are using does not have a batch option?

RadDave
12-22-2014, 02:56 PM
So for my knowledge, if you import a cd into itunes, it will be in the AAC format by default but I am guessing I can change the import format to mp3 in itunes settings for future use for the friend?


Sure, just go into iTunes Preferences -> General and change the 'Import Settings' - I usually rip to MP3 at 256 Mbps; the ACCs I own were bought from iTunes.



Also, I guess the Adapter utility your are using does not have a batch option?

No, not an option - I've usually just dropped the album onto the app and a dialog box opens to OK the conversion - I guess that you could select a bunch of songs but not sure how album organization would be maintained - note that the original files are saved, so since the app is free you might want to experiment or search for another one - Dave :)

Slydude
12-22-2014, 03:12 PM
Here's a description of the conversion process (http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT1550).

I think you can batch convert the files by putting them in a playlist first, selecting the songs first, then following the conversion procedure. When done if you sort the playlist by Kind you can determine which are the original files and which are the converted ones.

mikehende
12-22-2014, 03:17 PM
Thanks for the import settings instruction, I will set it for him but my immediate headache is the batch issue as all softwares I am finding when they say "batch convert", they mean exactly what you've stated above that I would have to select all tunes in every folder and drag into whatever utility then it will covert sunc as this which costs $50:

How to Convert M4A to MP3 on Mac (Mountain Lion included) (http://www.iskysoft.com/convert-audio/m4a-to-mp3-mac.html)

that's way too much work and cost too much for a one time usage so I am still looking for some way to either select the root folder and have all files converted or just highlight an album and have all files in the album converted.

mikehende
12-22-2014, 03:20 PM
Here's a description of the conversion process (http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT1550).

I think you can batch convert the files by putting them in a playlist first, selecting the songs first, then following the conversion procedure. When done if you sort the playlist by Kind you can determine which are the original files and which are the converted ones.

This would still involve a lot of manual work, I am looking for a windows batch converter now as another option.

Slydude
12-22-2014, 03:24 PM
Were the songs that need converting imported at or about the same time. If so, it would be easy to have iTunes find the songs that need to be converted. This sets up the "batch" and the rest is a right click. Assuming that the encoding format has already been set.

mikehende
12-22-2014, 03:41 PM
Derek said all cd's were ripped over time and he has no idea within what time frame. Alright guys, here's what I am thinking, since the friend does not want to have his niece re-rip the cd's, I am thinking easiest thing to do may be to use itunes to convert each album one at a time but what would this involve please, would I need to clear itunes of all current playlists completely then import one album of m4a from his hard drive, name that album as a playlist and do it this way after setting the mp3 encoding format? There's no easier way?

RadDave
12-22-2014, 04:03 PM
Here's a description of the conversion process (http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT1550).

I think you can batch convert the files by putting them in a playlist first, selecting the songs first, then following the conversion procedure. When done if you sort the playlist by Kind you can determine which are the original files and which are the converted ones.

Sly.... - thanks for the iTunes link - I have not used that feature (nor even looked for it!) - for my occasional conversions, I'll give it a try next time, although that free 'Adapter' app works well. Dave :)

mikehende
12-22-2014, 04:32 PM
Oh wait a minute guys, seeing that the albums [playlists] are already created in his itunes, wouldn't it be easier for me to simply select each album and convert them one by one? I have already set the mp3 encoder in the settings, let me know if this would be easiest please?

mikehende
12-22-2014, 04:52 PM
Ok, I just tried that and it converted all tracks in the itunes media appropriate folder on the hard drive but the mp3 version does not show in itunes so how do I replace the current m4a files showing in itunes with the mp3?

mikehende
12-22-2014, 06:24 PM
Don't worry with this guys, I will convert in itunes and move all converted mp3's to another foler for his DJ software use, just one thing's puzzling me please, in itunes I am trying to burn only a few songs from a playlist but I am not seeing the option to do when I right lick on the selected songs. Will itunes burn only an "entire" playlist?

RadDave
12-22-2014, 06:58 PM
Don't worry with this guys, I will convert in itunes and move all converted mp3's to another foler for his DJ software use, just one thing's puzzling me please, in itunes I am trying to burn only a few songs from a playlist but I am not seeing the option to do when I right lick on the selected songs. Will itunes burn only an "entire" playlist?


Hi again Mike..... - I buy some MP3 music on line (usually Amazon or Classicsonline) and will usually burn the purchase onto a CD-R via a playlist in iTunes (the little gear @ the bottom of the left hand column w/ your playlists) - have not tried to 'burn' one or several songs so cannot advise w/o exploring the app - of course, you could make a 'short' playlist - let us know if you figure it out (the other issue w/ just a few songs burned is not to close the disc out if you want to add more songs later?). Dave :)

mikehende
12-22-2014, 07:59 PM
Yes, that should work Dave if no other option, start a new playlist, and put only the songs in it that you want to burn, thanks.

Slydude
12-22-2014, 08:54 PM
in itunes I am trying to burn only a few songs from a playlist but I am not seeing the option to do when I right lick on the selected songs. Will itunes burn only an "entire" playlist?

As I understand it you have a playlist already but want to only burn part of the playlist. You're not seeing that option when you want to burn. Try the following:

1 Select the files you want to burn
2. From the File menu choose Playlist from Selection (Shift Command N)
3. You should now be able to burn just those songs.

Slydude
12-22-2014, 11:45 PM
Sly.... - thanks for the iTunes link - I have not used that feature (nor even looked for it!) - for my occasional conversions, I'll give it a try next time, although that free 'Adapter' app works well. Dave :)

You're welcome. Hope that helps.

I sometimes forget about that feature until I am trying to convert something. Even then I sometimes use other utilities..

mikehende
12-23-2014, 10:41 AM
As I understand it you have a playlist already but want to only burn part of the playlist. You're not seeing that option when you want to burn. Try the following:

1 Select the files you want to burn
2. From the File menu choose Playlist from Selection (Shift Command N)
3. You should now be able to burn just those songs.

Sorry, I am not seeing "Playlist from Selection" as option, please see attached screenshot:

Slydude
12-23-2014, 11:32 AM
It is in the "New" item under the file menu. When you choose "New" a pop out menu with "Playlist from Selection" appears. The shortcut is Shift Command N simultaneously.

mikehende
12-23-2014, 11:59 AM
Hmmnn, when I open a playlist and select the tunes then choose the NEW under file menu this opens a new playlist with the selected tunes but I am not seeing the burn option?. Also what would I need to do to0 add tunes to burn from other playlists?

RadDave
12-23-2014, 12:10 PM
It is in the "New" item under the file menu. When you choose "New" a pop out menu with "Playlist from Selection" appears. The shortcut is Shift Command N simultaneously.

Hi Mike - just trying some of Sly's directions - believe he means the selection shown in my screen capture - a 'new' playlist will be made of just those tracks chosen, which can then be burned to a CD-R - of course, just making a new playlist and adding the songs is still another option.

Now, if a short playlist is 'burned', then iTunes typically closes and ejects the disc, which will then be playable on a standard optical disc player, BUT further burning to that disc has been closed out. If you need to keep the disc 'open' for future burning, then you'll need to see if iTunes can provide that choice (I don't know having never wanting to use it) - and maybe Sly can 'chime in' yet again on this question. Dave :)
.

mikehende
12-23-2014, 12:22 PM
well the problem I am facing is after the selected tunes show in a new playlist I rightclick the selected tunes I am not seeing a burn option anywhere?

RadDave
12-23-2014, 12:29 PM
well the problem I am facing is after the selected tunes show in a new playlist I rightclick the selected tunes I am not seeing a burn option anywhere?

Well, taking my screen shot above a step further, I first made a playlist from the selection; the new playlist was given a name and added to the left sidebar - in the screen shot below, I've highlighted the playlist, then click on the 'gear' at the bottom which opens the lower left dialog box - burn to disc can then be selected. Dave :)
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mikehende
12-23-2014, 12:34 PM
Yes, it does work now, thanks!

Slydude
12-23-2014, 12:49 PM
Thanks for clearing that up Dave. I forget that the burn disc button is now behind that gear.

I usually go to the Burn to Disc option in the File menu. It becomes active when a playlist is selected.

mikehende
12-23-2014, 04:08 PM
Just one more issue guys, if you wish to use tracks from multiple playlists to create one master NEW playlist to burn that new playlist, how can this be done please?

Slydude
12-23-2014, 04:21 PM
That will take a bit of work/thought but can be done. Unless someone knows a better way here's how I would go about it.

1. Make sure you can see playlists in the sidebar of iTunes.
2. Create a new playlist. It should slow in the sidebar.
3. Now make the window show your music collection.
4. Drag tracks to the playlist that you just created and burn using the same directions from above.

BTW I neglected to mention in the earlier discussion of converting/burning music that a Smart Playlist might be useful. It's possible to create a smart playlist based on say a specific artist or album then burn that playlist. It's even possible to limit the size of the playlist automatically so it doesn't exceed the size of a CD.

The Smart Playlist option is in the same area of the File menu as the rest of the other playlists.

mikehende
12-23-2014, 04:30 PM
Yes, that works, thanks!

Slydude
12-23-2014, 05:22 PM
No problem. Glad to help.

mikehende
12-24-2014, 09:37 AM
Just one final thing I am unclear on please, when you download from Apple or the net into itunes and when you import a cd, does the cd and downloads go into different folders on the HDD by itunes default setup?

Slydude
12-24-2014, 01:12 PM
If you have iTunes set to keep the media folder organized a new folder will be created for each album, CD, movie etc.

mikehende
12-24-2014, 01:23 PM
The friend took back the machine but I remember seeing a lot of albums imported from cd in the itunes->Media folder on the HDD but most of the albums showing in the itunes playlists were located in a different folder, can't remember the name or location of that folder, think it was itunes-> Music but that is why I am asking.

RadDave
12-24-2014, 01:24 PM
Just one final thing I am unclear on please, when you download from Apple or the net into itunes and when you import a cd, does the cd and downloads go into different folders on the HDD by itunes default setup?

Well, my music folder has albums from various sources - see attachment of a portion of its contents (blue arrows added), e.g. when I buy music from Amazon, it enters that location; from Classicsonline yet another folder; and when I buy from iTunes or rip CDs into that folder.

Now the rest of those folders was music I had on my old laptop and simply copied them into the music folder on my MBPro (then needed to import them into the iTunes library) - I guess that I could arrange it differently but it works for me. You have some control over that folder, just open iTunes Preferences -> Advanced. Dave :)
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mikehende
12-24-2014, 01:34 PM
Ok, I understand that you can point to whatever destination you want for whicheevr sources you are importing from but to clarify, itunes will place music imported from different sources into whatever folders it sees fit?

RadDave
12-24-2014, 01:59 PM
Ok, I understand that you can point to whatever destination you want for whicheevr sources you are importing from but to clarify, itunes will place music imported from different sources into whatever folders it sees fit?

Hi again Mike - iTunes works in strange ways when organization is involved and my library is not as tidy as desired, so I've really not delved deeply into getting it re-organized. I would suggest looking at Apple's iTunes Support (https://www.apple.com/support/itunes/sharing/) - go to the bottom of the link and look at the articles under 'Managing Content' - if you figure it all out, then post a tutorial back here - good luck! :) Dave

mikehende
12-24-2014, 02:03 PM
I don't use itunes myself Dave, I use only DJ softwares for music, itunes in my opinion is a plague on mankind :) but to each his own. I was only curious about the location of files issue since I had to look into this to help the friend. Anyway, can you tell me which screenshot software you use to have those arrows pointing please?

RadDave
12-24-2014, 02:27 PM
I don't use itunes myself Dave, I use only DJ softwares for music, itunes in my opinion is a plague on mankind :) but to each his own. I was only curious about the location of files issue since I had to look into this to help the friend. Anyway, can you tell me which screenshot software you use to have those arrows pointing please?

Well, I've always found iTunes frustrating but use it mainly to get my music onto an iPod (previously) and now an iPad Air 2.

As to your screenshot question, all is built into the OS X - the key combinations of CMD-Shift-3 & CMD-Shift-4 permit a full screen capture or a selected capture, respectively. The capture can then be opened in Preview (see attachment) - if you click the 'Toolbox' icon, the lower menu bar will open giving you a number of basic editing options; if you crop the image, then an icon for that function will appear.

Arrows, other symbols, and text can all be added as shown; colors can be adjusted along w/ the size of arrows, lines, and text. An important selection is also arrowed, i.e. image re-sizing - the screen captures (or other images on your HD, such as imported from a digital camera) and often LARGE and must be down-sized for web uploading (e.g. I re-sized this image to 1/2 its pixel dimensions) - hope this helps. Dave :)

P.S. also look in the 'Other' folder in Applications - Grab is another app that can do screen captures included 'timed' ones.
.

mikehende
12-24-2014, 02:37 PM
Thanks for the help! For all transferring of Apple devices I use these 2 cheap utilities, works great:

Free iTunes alternative - Manage iPod iPhone without iTunes (http://www.copytrans.net/copytransmanager.php)

Transfer iPod to iTunes, copy iPhone to PC and iPad to computer (http://www.copytrans.net/)