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Am trying to find a simple audio converter to convert various m4a, wma, mp3, and flac files to standard mp3 128KB VBR (for an ancient mp3 player with limited storage).

I'm probably only going to use this once and this is the one thing it needs to do however if it comes with additional features that'd be great too.

After looking into it a bit more (I've come from Windows recently so I know mp3 very well) I've discovered the benefits of m4a files over mp3. So I think I'm looking for a program that supports m4a output as well. Just wanted to throw that in there.

Also if it helps any I'm using a Late 2006 iMac, Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, OS X 10.7.5.

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    Related: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/7375/… – nohillside Oct 27 '15 at 14:59
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    xld!!!!!!!!!!!! – Max Ried Oct 27 '15 at 17:12
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    @MaxRied I tried XLD and it seemed like a good program, however after using it a couple times I couldn't open it anymore, the icon would pop up in the dock showing it was open, but nothing I did would get it to show. So unfortunately I had to move on. Could be because I'm on an older Mac. I'm using a Late 2006 iMac running 10.7.5. – herculeesjr Oct 28 '15 at 15:41
  • Maybe try an older version? sourceforge.net/projects/xld/files/?source=navbar – mtklr Oct 28 '15 at 17:21
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    I contacted the developer and they informed me that it's normal operation. "There is no main window." and that the window I saw was "just the setup screen for the first run". So to me that's a little bit confusing but it does work. After setting what encoder I want in "XLD - Preferences" and using "File - Open..." to add my music folder it scanned every music file and started converting three times faster than Max without freezing up the computer at times like Max. Running four conversion threads at 13-15x speed each on this old dual core is amazing. XLD is my winner here. – herculeesjr Oct 28 '15 at 18:34
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Get ffmpeg via Homebrew, which can convert a lot of audio/video formats.

Converting your audio files then basically is done by running the following in Terminal

ffmpeg -i input.mp3 -b:a 128k output.mp3

ffmpeg is usually able to deduce input/output format from the file suffix.


To run this over a bunch of files, cd to the top folder containing the audio files and run

find . -type f -print0 | 
    xargs -0 -I '{}' bash -c 'f="{}"; ffmpeg -i "$f" -b:a "${f%.*}.128.mp3"'

This will create files ending in .128.mp3 for all audio files found (and throw a lot of ffmpeg errors for non-audio files in the same folders).

  • Is there a way to set it to convert multiple file types in multiple different folders or can it only do one at a time? I currently have almost 4000 files in a folder structure of Music/Artist/Year - Album/Track Number - Track Name.xxx so it would literally take months to do them one at a time. – herculeesjr Oct 28 '15 at 15:34
  • @herculeesjr see updated answer – nohillside Oct 29 '15 at 8:00
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You might want to give Max a try.

Although it hasn't been updated in quite a while, I got a lot of mileage out of it for a number of years. (I stopped using Max after purchasing Fission from Rogue Amoeba.)

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    I'm using Max right now to try this conversion however it has to be babysat a LOT, seems every 1 out of 50 or so files it has an error which I understand as some of my files may be corrupted and I didn't find them, but it halts everything till you acknowledge the one failure. So I left it to convert almost 4000 files last night but it stopped after doing about 70 to tell me it can't read one file, instead of moving it to a "Failed" list and moving on. But over all... none of the fails are from Max itself, just bad files, so it's getting the job done. – herculeesjr Oct 28 '15 at 15:31
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While I've had multiple good suggestions for programs here I wanted to post my own answer as no one answered with the program XLD (it was in a comment by @MaxRied however).

X Lossless Decoder(XLD) is a tool for Mac OS X that is able to decode/convert/play various 'lossless' audio files. The supported audio files can be split into some tracks with cue sheet when decoding.

While confusing and over the top at first the learning curve didn't take too long to get over and in the end it is a very solid program that does everything I need and then some. One word of warning however, it will not re-convert files. So if you have a bunch of 320KBps MP3s and want to convert them to 128KBps MP3s it will refuse to do so. Other than that huge annoyance (I switched to Max recommended by @TraneFrancks to finish off these files) it works great.

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I have been using All2MP3 for Mac for years, not much it won't convert to mp3.

NOTE INFO AT THE BOTTOM, NO LONGER SUPPORTED.

All2MP3 is a free application for Mac computers, with a simplistic interface, designed to do one thing: convert your audio files into MP3 files. It doesn't require a help file -- All2MP3 is ready to use from the moment you launch the app, but we did find that it wouldn't convert all file types.

The application's interface is as simple as its installation: just a simple drag-and-drop window, and an Add button that can be used to browse files. All2MP3 supports a wide variety of audio formats, such as MPC, APE, WV, Flac, OGG, WMA, AIFF, WAV, and even video formats such as Apple's native MOV format. It excels at what it is supposed to do, and during our testing we loved the speed at which it converted our movie and audio files to MP3. You can use a slider to adjust the quality of the final MP3 file from "Less" to "Super," as well as change the path to where the file is saved. We were pleasantly surprised when we looked at the timer after putting the application to work to convert a huge number of audio files. We were also surprised by the audio quality after converting MOV video files.

The one downside we found was that All2MP3 couldn't convert iTunes' M4A format, but with its performance on other file types, we still feel this is a very handy addition to your Mac toolbox. Overall, All2MP3 is a useful little app that fits the bill if you are looking to convert most files into MP3 quickly and for free. Its simple interface makes it ideal for all levels of users.

  • 25 bucks for a job that can be done free & open source…? – Tetsujin Oct 27 '15 at 19:47
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    Well, I have never paid for what I use or what I was recommending. – Scott Porter Oct 28 '15 at 21:53
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    It appears the developer has closed their web site. Softonic continue to have a copy but it appears no longer supported. – Graham Miln Nov 7 '15 at 15:59
  • that is sad, I used the old copy just the other day, guess I look for a new one/ Thanks @Grahan Miln – Scott Porter Nov 7 '15 at 18:25

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