If you find yourself searching the web for this particular instructional, chances are that you’ve found yourself wanting to transfer music from one device to another but have hit a roadblock – most probably a notice that your devices have incompatible formats and that you need to convert the files in order for them to work. If you’ve downloaded most of your media files over the Internet, they most likely will be in the MP4 format, and if you wanted to transfer them to a portable media device, these players are more likely to support MP3 files, thus the need to convert from one format to another. Now, if that just went over your head, you need to understand the basic differences between the two formats before you go conversion-happy.
- MP4 vs. MP3. MP3 is short for MPEG-3 for, which in turn is also short for the following mouthful: Moving Pictures Experts Group 3. This was developed in 1999 to compress audio files – in fact; it could reduce an audio file up to 1/10 of its original size. Further, you can also choose how much you want your audio file compressed by controlling the bit rate. Varying from 96kbps to 320kbps, the higher bit rates will give you higher quality sound, but these also have larger file sizes. MP4 (MPEG-4) was developed in 2003 and this format can handle not only audio but video as well. It’s also a file compression technique and allows you to watch streaming video over the Internet or on your cell phone. It comes in two formats: Simple Profile, which gives you low resolution content and is popular in online streaming such as YouTube, or AVC (Advanced Video Coding), used for High Definition (HD) recording.
- Search for a Converter Online. With so many file formats going around these days, converters are a cinch to find. Of course the question now is, which one? For the best and safest results, head over to download.cnet.com. What’s great about this site is that it has one of the most extensive software libraries – think of it like the Wal-Mart of software programs. It’s also very user-friendly; all you have to do is type in MP4 to MP3 converters and it will give you a list of programs to choose from. It’s best to choose from the programs that have already been highly rated by either users or the site’s editors. Some programs are free outright, while some are free for a limited time – allowing you to decide if you’re happy with the program’s features and ease of use.
- Install your software. Once you’ve installed your software, follow the step by step instructions to convert your MP4 files to MP3. Each software is different, but the general steps would be:
- Locate the files you want to convert. The program will generally ask you to locate the files you wish to convert – most programs will allow you to choose multiple files by simply clicking on the proper files in the list box that will appear.
- Set your parameters. Most software will give you options to choose your bitrate, size, and destination.
- Click on convert. You have now successfully converted MP4 files into MP3 format files!
- Sample 3 programs, and then decide. It’s best to try out three programs so that you may have an idea which program best suits your needs and know-how. There are programs that can convert the other way around (MP3-MP4); some can do both directions. It’s best to get a converter that handles most of your audio needs to minimize the number of programs on your laptop/pc. Once you’ve made your decision, remember to uninstall the others to prevent possible software conflicts.
Happy transferring! You can also check back every now and then to see if there are newer versions of your converter software, or new programs altogether. One advantage of this high-tech age is that it all benefits the end-user: you.