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How to Convert M4A to MP3 in Audacity

by Christine Smith • Jul 23,2019 • Proven solutions

Audacity is a free open-source software developed by volunteers to enable everyone to work with audio in whatever manner they want. It is available in all the major operating systems i.e. Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Some of its features include ability to record audio, work with multiple audio tracks, edit the same tracks, and converting them to different file formats. In this article, we will show you all the steps that you will need to convert M4A to MP3 using Audacity and best Audacity alternative. We will also brief you on the file formats supported by Audacity.

Part 1. How to Use Audacity to Convert M4A to MP3

M4A is an audio file type just like MP3, but unlike MP3, it isn’t as portable as MP3. This media file is mainly used by Apples iTunes store and is not an ideal format for usage outside of iTunes. This necessitates the need to convert M4A files to MP3.

Steps on How to Convert M4A to MP3 Audacity:

Step 1: Install required libraries LAME and FFMPEG.

To use M4A to MP3 Audacity feature, you will first have to download and install LAME and FFMPEG. This is because Audacity doesn’t come with inherent ability to handle M4A.To download LAME head over to https://lame.buanzo.org/#lamewindl. The recommended install method is by downloading the .exe file and opening it. To download FFMPEG, head to https://lame.buanzo.org/#lamewindl again and download the FFMPEG’s zip file. After that, extract this file to a location that you can remember say desktop.

Now the only thing remaining is to point Audacity to where you extracted FFMPEG. To do this, launch Audacity which can be downloaded here https://www.Audacityteam.org/ and click on Edit> Preferences>Library and select Locate button next to FFMPEG library and navigate to the file avformat-55.dll in the folder where you extracted FFMPEG.

add files to the M4A to MP3 converter

Step 2: Open M4A file with Audacity.

If everything worked correctly, then you can now open your file with Audacity and use Audacity M4A to MP3 feature. If you try this and it produces an error, close and reopen Audacity and try again. If that fails then repeat the steps about of installing FFMPEG and LAME making sure you don’t miss a step. Finally, if the error doesn’t resolve, then it could be unrelated to FFMPEG and LAME.

To open M4A file, click on File -> Open menu item and select where you MP4 are located.

Open M4A file with Audacity

Step 3: Export to MP3 file.

The final step is to export your audio in the desired format, in our case MP3 file. We do this by selecting File -> Export -> Export as MP3.

aExport to MP3 file

Step 4: Customize export options to Convert M4A to MP3.

Finally, let us fine tune the export settings by setting the File name that we want to save as, appropriate bitrate and channel mode. Finish by clicking the “Save” button to convert M4A to MP3 using Audacity.

Convert M4A to MP3 audacity

Part 2. Recommended Audacity Alternative to Quickly Convert M4A to MP3

Using Audacity to convert M4A to MP3 is a really cumbersome process and that doesn’t work out of the box. You need to download extra libraries like FFMPEG and LAME. An easier and better alternative to convert M4A to MP3 is by using Wondershare UniConverter (originally Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate).

Wondershare UniConverter - Best M4A to MP3 Converter for Windows/Mac

  • Convert M4A to MP3, MP4, MOV, AVI, and other 1000 formats.
  • Convert M4A files to MP3 in batch without quality loss.
  • Convert M4A files to MP3 at 30X faster speed than common convertes.
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  • Supported OS: Windows NT4/2000/2003/XP/Vista/7/8, and Windows 10 (32 bit & 64 bit), Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14, 10.13, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6.
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How to convert M4A to MP3 with simple steps:

Step 1 Add M4A files to the best Audacity alternative.

Download, install, and launch Wondershare UniConverter from the above given download link. Choose the right version per your needs. You're optional to convert M4A to MP3 Mac or Convert M4A to MP3 on Windows, here we make Windows 10 for example.

Add the specific M4A file(s) to Wondershare UniConverter. To do this, select the Convert tab and select Add Files. This will open an “Open file” dialog allowing you to select the appropriate file.

Add M4A files to the best Audacity alternative

Step 2 Choose MP3 as the target format for M4A to MP3 conversion.

Now you need to select the destination file format. In our case, we need to select MP3 to convert M4A to MP3 in the Target drop-down. Note that Wondershare Audacity alternative supports a lot of media formats and it can be a little bit cumbersome to scroll down to the appropriate one. To make this process faster and more efficient, Wondershare provided a search box at the bottom of the destination panel. Type into the search box to filter all the supported media file types.

Choose MP3 as the target format for M4A to MP3 conversion

Step 3 Convert M4A to MP3 using Audacity alternative.

Finally, click on the Convert All button to convert from source to destination file formats. You will see a progress bar as Wondershare UniConverter converts our file from source target to destination target. In the end, the file will be stored where you selected as the Output folder.

Convert M4A to MP3 audacity alternative

Part 3. What Format Does Audacity Support

When you install Audacity or run the portable version, it can support uncompressed audio formats e.g. WAV, compressed audio formats like Vorbis.

To use AC3, M4A, MP4, and WMA, you need to install FFMPEG library. Furthermore, to export files as MP3, you will need to install LAME encoder. These are extra libraries that are required by the software but are not packaged together.

Conclusion:

When it comes to converting M4A to MP3, Audacity can be of great help. But its experience cannot be compared to that of Wondershare UniConverter. With this software you can batch convert media files at super speed and transfer files to your mobile device easily. Download and have a try now.

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Christine Smith

Christine Smith

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