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How to Convert M4A to MP3

MP3 is a standard file format for audio and M4A files can be converted to MP3 without difficulty.
Techspirited Staff
Last Updated: Aug 31, 2018
It is very important to understand a little bit about the various file formats available before we progress to the process of converting them. The pros and cons of different file formats available can leave the average user flummoxed. A file format is a way of encoding information so that a computer can understand it or store it.
Everything you use on your computer, from word processor to the music player, is saved in a particular file format. As technology has progressed, there has been improvement in the way things can be encoded, devising different formats, each with some improvement over the others. Here, you'll get to know about ways to convert M4A file format to MP3 format.
M4A vs MP3
M4A and MP3 are basically audio, music formats. The MP4 file format preceded the MP3 format and was used for video as well as audio encoding. It is a part of the MPEG4 container format and can handle video, audio, and Internet streaming as well. In other words, an MP4 file could store video, audio, and even subtitles, while MP3 could manage only audio.
MP3 came into existence when it became difficult to separate the audio from the video and subtitle files of the MP4 format. With the MP4 file extension, it was difficult to know if the file contained audio, video, or both. Thus, for the easy identification of content, audio files were given the extension M4A.
Since the MP4 container format was based on the QuickTime format specification, MP4 and M4A were the file formats of choice used in the products of the most popular brands. Consequently, with the rise in popularity of these brands, these file formats also rose in popularity.
MP3, an audio-only format, is the choice of format used for storage and playback on most digital and portable music players. Introduced in 1991, the popularity of this format rose due to its capability to encode files to a much smaller size, while not losing much of the quality of the sound.
Another benefit is that the bit rate or the quality of encoding could be changed as well. Higher bit rate files had more quality, but had a larger file size and vice versa. This worked out well for the end user, who could convert files depending on the size or the quality desired. Thus, MP3 has become the most popular audio file format used today.
Converting M4A to MP3
Since MP3 is the popular audio file format used today, most of the audio files come in this format. Due to the small size of MP3 files, this format is used in portable MP3 players, where space comes at a premium. MP3 is also considered the standard audio file format across the globe and is supported by almost all players capable of playing audio files.
Thus, it is better to have all content in the standard MP3 format, rather than risking compatibility problems with other formats. Other formats can also be converted to the MP3 format. One way is to convert it online, a good option for the technologically challenged. Another way is to download an audio converter software and run the M4A files through it.
Here are ways to help you convert other audio file formats into MP3 format.

1. Search the web for a good converter program. There are many free ones out there and you can take your pick. A good option is to look for something that converts the specific file format you are looking to convert. In this way, you will have less confusing options to worry about.
2. When you download the converter, you should have the codec downloaded as well. If not, you will have to search for the M4A codec and install it on your computer. Usually, this is done by the program, so you need not worry, but in case the program does not have the codec, you will have to install it manually.
3. Once you have the codecs and the software installed, converting is just a matter of adding the files to the program and choosing your settings. Simple programs will do everything by themselves, or in other words, will not allow you to change any setting, while advanced programs will allow you to change settings such as the bit rate, quality, etc.
4. In most programs, you will have to choose the M4A file you want to convert as the 'source file' and select MP3 as the desired 'output file'. You should also take note of the location where the program is storing the 'output file'. It might be stored in a location such as My Downloads or My Music, or the program might even make its own folder.
The best option is to choose a location manually and use a folder named 'Converted Files' on your desktop. This way, you will spend less time searching for the file when the conversion is over.
5. You can even convert many files at a go, free converters might not support this. You can add a folder or multiple files in a go and let the software do its work.
That's all you have to do to get the best conversion done. Your work will be as easy as a hot knife through butter once you find the apt converter. For people unsure about the manual conversion process, there are programs online that can help you. Before starting any conversion process, research and determine the file type that would be best suited to you.