Converting WMA to MP3

Converting WMA to MP3 September 8, 2014

Anybody know any freeware for that?  Something that will make my music (recorded on Windows Media Player) visible to the music software in Windows 8?  And without a lot of crappy malware and other programs attached?

Please let me know in the combox.  Thanks!

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  • JoeWetterling

    It’s overkill, but Audacity is the audio editing software that I use. It’ll import WMA and, with a free library, output MP3.


    MP3 library:

    • Linebyline

      One caveat: The MP3 format is still covered by patents, so to use the MP3 library separately you need to buy a license if you live in a country that recognizes software patents. That’s why Audacity makes you download the library separately in the first place. Basically they’re making you take the responsibility for making sure you’re allowed to use it (though I suspect that most users just apply for the “Don’t Get Caught” exemption).

  • Brandon Jaloway

    Yeah, as JoeWetterling said, Audacity will do it. You will also need to download the “Lame” codec to convert to MP3. Audacity will prompt you to download the codec if you try to save a file as MP3 and it redirects you to a website to download the Lame codec. During the download process for the lame codec you will run into some
    offers to download viruses so just be careful to make sure you
    avoid the bad links and stay on track to the good one.

    • Brandon Jaloway

      The links Joe gave will help you.

  • Here, this is WAY simpler:
    Just drag&drop files from Windows Explorer, set the output to “Audio”, choose “MP3”, and press Covert. Then wait for the black box to say “press any key to continue”, and you’re done.

    Works for videos, too.

  • Kevin J. Bartell

    I usually just burn the files to CD with Nero, then use Windows Media Player to rip them back to the computer as .mp3

    • Linebyline

      I like your thinking. Not quite the analog hole (audio CDs are digital, unlike, say, vinyl) but the same basic idea. If you’ve got time and a CD-RW, it’s not a bad option.

      (At least I think you can reformat and reuse an audio CD-RW. If not, a stack of CD-Rs isn’t that expensive, and hey, now you have a hard copy backup of your media files.)

  • Audacity, already recommended, is nice, in that it allows to do also manual retouchings, trimming, combine channels, etc (think of it as a Photoshop or Paint for audio).

    A simpler alternative, just for conversion, is Switch Sound Converter, from NCH: (free for non commercial use)

  • Linebyline

    iTunes will do it. Apple products don’t play nice with WMA, so iTunes will convert those files to something without a competitor’s product in the name.

    You’ll want to make sure to go into options first and make sure that iTunes is set to rip music (like from CDs, those little metal-and-plastic circles that our ancestors used) in MP3 format. By default, Apple stuff prefers its own AAC format. Of course, you could always just use iTunes as your media player, and it will have no problem with AAC, but I don’t know about your Win8 player of choice, and anyway iTunes does just fine with MP3 as well.

    I’m not 100% sure I’m remembering this correctly, but I think iTunes will offer to convert them all as soon as you try to import them, and it won’t let you import them otherwise. If I’m wrong about that, then it will convert them as soon as you try to sync them to an iPod or other iDoodad.

    You can convert songs one-at-a-time by right-clicking on them and going to “Create [format] version” where “format” is whatever your current rip setting is. To speed things up, you can probably just select a bunch of tracks (I assume you know how to use ctrl+click and shift+click to select multiple list items) and use the same right-click menu option.

    I like Audacity, but I don’t use LAME (and thus can’t save MP3s from Audacity) because it’s still illegal in the US unless you buy a license for the underlying MP3 technology. The owners of the patent rights generally ignore it where open-source software is concerned (maybe because of the bad PR they’d get otherwise?) but technically you need to (a) have a license or (b) live in a country that (unlike the US) doesn’t recognize software patents. The good news is the known MP3 patents expire sometime in the next couple years.

    Also worth noting: Windows 8 still includes Windows Media player. It can’t handle DVDs out of the box anymore (Microsoft got tired of paying those royalties) but it should still handle WMAs and WMVs. Just open up your Start Screen and start typing “Media” and it should be one of the first search results.

  • James Griffiths

    just use format factory….it is freeware and is really simple to use. On a side note I use goldwave to record files which does use the lame mp3 codec and is really simple to use…if you need I can zip the file and email it over to you. Another possible suggestion is that you simply change the extension of the file from .wma to .mp3 I have opened many a wma file in goldwave and it seems to be the same or similar format as for an mp3

    • Linebyline

      Renaming the file doesn’t actually change the format, though. Sometimes that can appear to work, but only (as far as I know) because the program knows how to open the original format, so when it opens the file it determines that it’s looking at a WMA and plays it as such regardless of what the file extension says.

      • James Griffiths

        thanks for explaining that…it makes sense

        • Linebyline

          You’re welcome.

          I should probably point out that while I’m pretty confident that’s usually why that appears to work, I’m not 100% certain. There may be cases when a program will detect that someone has tried this and do the conversion automatically, but I don’t know of any offhand.

  • James Griffiths

    Another thing is that when you rip the music in windows for future use…choose the mp3 feature as opposed to the default wma file setting

    here is the link to downloading the format factory program…you should check it out but I mainly use it for converting videos but it also handles audio quite well

  • Patrick Cullen