m4a to mp3 conversion using iTunes

Hi all!  My first post here.  I am fairly new to mp3 players.  I have a 5th generation 30GB iPod (my one and only player)and have all my music in iTunes.  I ripped my entire CD collection in the default import setting of AAC.  So all my music is in m4a format.  

I recently bought my twin daughters the 2GB Sansa Fuze (1 for each, of course!).  Now I’m in the process of re-ripping CDs in the mp3 format.  Doh!  Now I’m wishing I had originally ripped as mp3s!

When I do this process using iTunes, it tells me I already have this album in my collection, and asks if I want to replace it.  I am wondering if there is any downside to telling iTunes to replace the m4a format with the mp3 format.  For some CDs, I said “Don’t replace” and wound up with duplicate tracks–one in the m4a format and one in the mp3 format.  I listened to both, and they sounded equally good to my novice ears.

Am I going to regret deleting/replacing the m4a formatted tracks?

I also saw an option to “Convert selection to mp3” within iTunes.  Is this a better way to go rather than re-ripping everything? 

Thanks for your help.  I’ve read lots of your posts, and found much help already!

Is this just a really dumb question?

I would definitely suggest using the “convert selection to MP3” function, much faster.  You could use the “Create MP3 Version” function instead, which will not replace your AAC versions, if you want.

I do this all the time with iTunes Plus (non-DRM) purchases.  I hear no difference in sound quality.

Thank you PromisedPlanet.  I will definitely convert to MP3s.  Is there an advantage in having music in BOTH formats?  The downside I see in having the same music in both formats is that when I listen with my iPod, I will hear each track twice.  Of course, my daughters won’t have this problem, since it will only appear once (as MP3) when they use their Sansa Fuzes.

No advantage that I can think of, but you could save the AACs just-in-case.

Re the iPod; you could create a Smart Playlist in iTunes and use the “Kind” attribute to create a playlist that contains only AAC, MPEG etc.  Then sync that playlist to your iPod.  Example, “Kind contains MPEG”, “Kind contains AAC”, etc.

Message Edited by PromisedPlanet on 09-29-2008 01:36 PM

I had that same problem.  I bought an Ipod about 4 years ago and my entire collection was in AAC.  I’ve moved several times since then and don’t even have all my CD’s.  So I found a free software tool that converts your AAC to MP3.  Sure there may be slight loss in quality because everytime you convert something you lose some quality, but I can’t tell the difference.  Best part is you don’t need the CD’s, just drop all your files into the program and convert them.  It will create a duplicate file on your HD but it keeps all the info IE album, artist, song.  No spyware that I know of and it doesn’t shut off after a certain amount of conversions.  Here is the link http://www.maniactools.com/soft/m4a-to-mp3-converter/index.shtml

Anyway, it works for me.

Wait, hold the phone…Itunes will convert MP4 to MP3??? When did this happen? (sorry to piggyback on the thread)

@shlurpee wrote:
Wait, hold the phone…Itunes will convert MP4 to MP3??? When did this happen? (sorry to piggyback on the thread)

 

Not MP4, M4A.  See thread subject.

Sorry, that is what I meant, since when can Itunes convert M4A to MP3? Is that new?

Thanks for the info PromisedPlanet and shlurpee.  The software program sounds interesting, but I’m not sure I have enough music to deal additional programs.  My husband already gripes every time I put something new on the computer.  We just need a newer (bigger, better, faster…) computer.  lol.

Yes, shlurpee, iTunes has an offering to convert from m4a to mp3.  Within iTunes, I went to:  Edit>Preferences>Advanced>Importing and then selected “MP3 Encoder” from the drop down as the default import format.  Then when you go to your music folder, you can right click on a song and you have a choice to “Convert selection to MP3”.   You can also click on a bunch of songs by clicking on a song, holding down the shift key and clicking on a song further down the list.  This is a pretty standard method of selecting more than one thing.  Then you just tell it to convert them all, and, voila, your songs are all in MP3 as well as whatever other format they were in previously.  Pretty slick, eh?   But now you have TWO of each song.  For me, it is one in AAC and one in MP3 format.

I’ve just been a bit afraid to dump all the AAC encoded songs, but I think I’ll take the leap and just delete them.

PromisedPlanet, I like the idea of using the Smart Playlist to select the “kind” of file I want.  That may be a handy way to go.  Right now I use my smart playlists for keeping my audiobooks separated from my music.  Works great.

Message Edited by TwinMa56 on 09-29-2008 04:11 PM

@twinma56 wrote:

I’ve just been a bit afraid to dump all the AAC encoded songs, but I think I’ll take the leap and just delete them.

Or just move them off to a backup drive.

@promisedplanet wrote:

No advantage that I can think of, but you could save the AACs just-in-case.

 

Re the iPod; you could create a Smart Playlist in iTunes and use the “Kind” attribute to create a playlist that contains only AAC, MPEG etc.  Then sync that playlist to your iPod.  Example, “Kind contains MPEG”, “Kind contains AAC”, etc.

Message Edited by PromisedPlanet on 09-29-2008 01:36 PM

Well, you can also right click on the bar with Name, Album, Artist, Genre, etc. and choose “Kind”, then sort by that. Using a Smart Playlist narrows down stuff, though.

@dennizvu1107 wrote:


@promisedplanet wrote:

No advantage that I can think of, but you could save the AACs just-in-case.

 

Re the iPod; you could create a Smart Playlist in iTunes and use the “Kind” attribute to create a playlist that contains only AAC, MPEG etc.  Then sync that playlist to your iPod.  Example, “Kind contains MPEG”, “Kind contains AAC”, etc.

Message Edited by PromisedPlanet on 09-29-2008 01:36 PM


 

Well, you can also right click on the bar with Name, Album, Artist, Genre, etc. and choose “Kind”, then sort by that. Using a Smart Playlist narrows down stuff, though.

And helps to get music on your iPod if you sync using playlists.  :wink:

Uhm guise iTunes 8 doesn’t have the option to “Convert to MP3” in the Prefrences…

@dennizvu1107 wrote:
Uhm guise iTunes 8 doesn’t have the option to “Convert to MP3” in the Prefrences…

No, it doesn’t.  It has “Create MP3 Version” in the Advanced menu, and in the song context menu.

I only see Create AAC Version with an M4A file selected.

@dennizvu1107 wrote:
I only see Create AAC Version with an M4A file selected.

You need to set your importing type to MP3.  Edit->Preferences->General->“Import Settings”->“MP3 Encoder”.

Message Edited by PromisedPlanet on 10-14-2008 08:11 AM

@dennizvu1107 wrote:
Uhm guise iTunes 8 doesn’t have the option to “Convert to MP3” in the Prefrences…

It isn’t in the Preferences.  You need to right click on the song you want to convert.  The menu that pops up does have the option to “Convert Selection to MP3”.

This will create a second copy of the song.  So now you have one in the original m4a format and a second one in mp3 format.