Presto Change-O! Audio Codec Changes on the Fly

Ever had the need to quickly convert one of your AAC audio files to another format? I was asked today for a down and dirty way to quickly convert an M4A file to an MP3 file. The assumption was that we were going to have to look for an application to handle the conversion, or try some screwy import/export thing in GarageBand. But there’s an easier way, and once you’ve used it once, you’ll be singing the blues no more!

Assuming that your audio track exists in your iTunes library, open up the iTunes Preference window. From there, click on Advanced. You’ll see an area about midway through the window labeled “Import Using”. Unless you’ve changed this setting previously, this is most likely set to AAC Encoder. Click on the drop-down menu, and select MP3 Encoder. You can also adjust your settings based on the bitrate that you prefer your files encoded as. Now click on OK.

Back in your iTunes library, select the track that you’d like to convert. Control-click the track and select “Convert Selection to MP3”. By making this selection, you’ll create a secondary version of your selected track in the MP3 format – this DOES NOT overwrite your source file.

And you’re done! Now you can Control-click the newly created MP3 file and select “Show in Finder” and do with it what you will. Enjoy!