In order to save more space on my music collection, I want to use XLD to convert all my CBR (constant bit rate) 320 kbps MP3 to VBR (variable bit rate).

How do I use Spotlight to find all 320 kbps MP3 in a particular folder so that I can select all of them and open (and thus convert) in XLD?


It was easy to find all Flac files since I just typed in .flac.

Obviously I can use iTunes to get a list of all songs that are 320 kbps MP3 but I can't open them from there.

  • Some unsolicited advice - Transcoding lossy audio is never recommended. Anecdotally, LAME MP3 encoding is anywhere from 50-70% lossy (I could find no definitive source to cite for this, but these numbers seem to be frequently referenced on music & torrent forums), which means that your conversion from 320CBR to V0 could potentially inflict an additional 50-70% loss of quality. All this for files that are 10-25% smaller. Consider using an app like TuneSpan to free up space on your startup disk.
    – ian.pvd
    Apr 25, 2013 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


Using mdfind:

mdfind 'kMDItemFSName=*.mp3&&kMDItemAudioBitRate=320000'

Or the search syntax:

kind:"mp3 audio" AND bitrate:32000

See https://superuser.com/questions/51122/how-to-search-with-spotlight-more-effectively.

  • and blog.superuser.com/2011/06/03/… as well
    – nohillside
    Apr 22, 2013 at 13:08
  • mdfind 'kMDItemFSName=*.mp3&&kMDItemAudioBitRate=320000' seems to work perfectly but how would I open all those files specifically in XLD from the Terminal?
    – hobbes3
    Apr 22, 2013 at 16:12
  • I got kind of close with something like mdfind 'kMDItemFSName=*.mp3&&kMDItemAudioBitRate=320000' | grep '/ORGANIZED' | xargs -0 open -a XLD. But that didn't work.
    – hobbes3
    Apr 22, 2013 at 16:22
  • Replace the xargs command with this: while IFS= read -r f; do open "$f" -a XLD; done.
    – Lri
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:07
  1. Open up Finder and use the Spotlight/Search on the top right of the window.
  2. Type .mp3 in the search bar and Finder will suggest you things like Filenames (Name matches: .mp3), Kinds (MP3 Audio), Downloaded from (...)
  3. Select MP3 Audio type under Kinds section in the suggestion popup.
  4. There is a secondary toolbar which appears below the main Finder toolbar and above the search results, which has options like Search (This Mac) (User home) (Shared) Save button (on right side) and + icon
  5. Click on the Plus icon in the right most corner of this toolbar. This will give you a list of filters/attributes that you can apply to current search. For eg. Kind, filesize, created date etc
  6. From the filter type menu choose "Other..." and enable "Audio bit rate" attribute.
  7. Now select the newly enabled "Audio bit rate" attribute with equals condition and enter 320000 as the value.

You will see a list of files which are encoded with 320kbps bit rate.

To see files with 128kbps change the value to 128000

  • This "Audio bit rate" seems very buggy. I noticed that as soon as I start typing any number, it would remove some songs automatically. One particular song that Spotlight filtered out when I typed (bit rate greater than 3) had a bit rate of 192 kbps on iTunes. Also typing 320000 or even greater than 300000 doesn't show any of the 320 kbps mp3.
    – hobbes3
    Apr 22, 2013 at 16:08

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