- The M4A file format, also known as MPEG-4 Audio Layer, is an audio format developed by Apple.
- It is part of the MPEG-4 standard, which is a multimedia container format used to store various types of media content.
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If you have both Apple and Windows devices and are constantly juggling between different audio formats, such as M4A and MP3 (Audio Layer III), while listening to music, this guide can help!
We’ll explore three simple methods with step-by-step instructions to convert your audio tracks to the desired format.
What is the M4A file format?
M4A (MPEG-4 format) is an Apple audio file format and popularly used on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
These audio files are similar to MP3 files but come with a digital audio stream encoded with Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) for compression, meaning better sound quality at higher bit rates and smaller file sizes.
They are also compatible with multiple devices and media players, making them a great choice for streaming, music distribution and storage.
Can I use any Windows tool to convert M4A to MP3?
You can convert M4A to MP3 using Windows Media Player in Windows 7 and 8. For Windows 10 and 11, you need to enable the optional Windows Media Player Legacy feature through the Settings app.
FYI, this built-in Windows player doesn’t have direct audio conversion capabilities, and you have to burn M4A to a CD, then rip the CD to MP3 format, which can be overwhelming.
If you don’t want to use this indirect method, you can use VLC media player, iTunes or other popular online platforms like FreeConvert or VEED.IO to get the job done.
How can I convert M4A to MP3?
1. Use Windows Media Player Legacy
Windows Media Player is no longer part of a newer version of Windows. However, you can add it as an optional feature. Also, before going through the steps, keep a CD handy. If you don’t have one, skip this method.
1.1 Enable it as an optional feature
- to press Windows + I am to open the Definitions application.
- go to applicationsand then click on optional features.
- locate Add an optional feature and press on Show features button.
- On Add an optional feature window, search Windows Media Player.
- choose Legacy Windows Media Player and pressure the next.
- knock install.
1.2 Burning M4A to CD
- Tap on Windows key type Windows Media Playerand pressure open.
- Insert the blank CD and press Burn tab.
- go to A drop-down menu under Burnand choose Audio CD.
- Add the M4A file to list of burns by dragging it to the right pane of the media tool.
- knock start burning Start the process and wait for it to finish.
1.3 Copy music from a CD
- First, insert the audio CD you burned and then press Copy disk button.
- go to Copy settingsThen More options.
- On Rip Music tab, site formatand choose MP3 from the drop-down menu.
- You can also click change to select a destination for the audio. When you’re done, click OK.
- Now click on Copy disk button and wait until the process is complete.
If you’ve encountered Windows Media Player can’t play this file error, we recommend you check out this guide for solutions.
2. Use iTunes
- Tap on Windows key type iTunesand pressure open.
- Locate and click edit in the menu bar and select preferences.
- On general tab, click Import settings.
- On Import settings window, for import via option, select MP3 encoder from the drop-down menu and then click OK.
- Click again OK close the preferences tab.
- Now select the M4A audio file, go to fileSo choose Convertand then select Create an MP3 version.
Once you’re done, new song files with the desired audio format will appear in your iTunes library.
3. Use VLC media player
- Tap on Windows key type vlcand pressure open.
- From the menu bar, select mediaand then select Convert/Save.
- go to filepressure add and select the audio file you want to convert.
- Press on Convert/Save button to open Convert Definitions.
- under Definitionschoose Convertthen go profilechoose Video – H.264 + MP3 (MP4) from the drop-down menu.
- Now below targetpressure browse to select the location to save the converted file, and then select start to start the process.
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After the conversion, you will receive a message; You can run the file to check the quality of the file.
Does the audio lose quality when converting?
Loss of quality while converting an audio file depends on the method you choose. There are three different ways including encoding, decoding and transcoding.
For this particular scenario, you can choose Transcoding or Encoding. Transcoding is generally not preferred because the conversion involves double compression and data loss.
While encoding is a conversion process to convert a lossless format to a lossy format, such as M4A to MP3. This is useful if you want to reduce the original file size and increase the compatibility of audio files, while compromising quality and data in the process.
Is M4A better than MP3?
M4A is a lossless format and is better than MP3 because it has better audio quality due to its high bit rate. This also means that they have a relatively large file size.
However, streaming is difficult because it is limited to a few devices and platforms where MP3 (Audio Layer III) can be easily played on almost all popular devices and media players.
So these are the methods you can use to convert M4A files to MP3 on your Windows PC without breaking a sweat.
If you’re looking for options to convert MP4 to MP3, we recommend you check out this guide for free and paid solutions.
Please feel free to give us any information, tips and your experience with the theme in the comments section below.
Still having problems?
If the above suggestions didn’t solve your problem, your computer may be experiencing more serious Windows problems. We suggest choosing an all-in-one solution like Fortect Fix problems effectively. After installation, just click on View and fix button and then click Start repair.
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