MP3 is the worldwide standard for transporting audio files and it is compatible with almost every mobile music device there is; even proprietary devices such as iPods and Sony AC3 disc players still support MP3 even though they are made to interface with proprietary software.
M4A is an audio file format which may have audio streams formatted in Advanced Audio Coding or AAC as well as Apple’s proprietary audio formats; M4A is the audio extension for MP4 which is a video container format, but this does not mean that all audio streams in an MP4 container must be M4A – it only means that M4A was intended for use with MP4.
Container formats usually refer to video as is the case with MP4, which means that the format will contain streams which are usually audio and video; an audio stream in an MP4 container may be M4A, MP3 or anything else while the video stream could be DivX, X264 or whatever the original encoder decided to place in the container format.
Reasons for converting from the more popular MP3 to M4A format may include safeguarding your audio collection among other things; due to the popularity of the MP3 file format there have been instances where computer viruses target and delete MP3 files from a person’s computer, so converting your files to M4A would protect against this. Whatever your reasons are the process is fairly easy regardless of which software tool you use.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED
• Computer or laptop
• MP3 files
• Conversion software
• Internet connection (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ITUNES
1. If you have an Apple device such as an iPod or iPhone download the iTunes software.
2. Ensure that all MP3 music files are added to your library.
3. Locate the files you want to convert.
4. Right-click on the file and select “Convert Selection to AAC” from the list.
5. Once completed you may opt to delete the duplicate MP3 or leave it for your own purposes
INSTRUCTIONS WITHOUT ITUNES
1. If you have another M4A capable player that you would like to use then download a free conversion application such as Format Factory or paid solutions such as dBPowerAmp. At this point you may opt to use iTunes for the sake of music library management but if you don’t, then take the following steps.
2. Install the application after downloading and open it.
3. Locate the MP3 files you wish to convert and drag into the application window.
4. Choose or set the output file format to M3A.
5. Hit the button to start encoding.
6. On completion locate your converted M4A files in the output folder and use as you please.
DO’s AND DONT’s
Don’t delete the original MP3 file until you are sure that the M4A file was converted properly.
If using iTunes do not convert your MP3 files to protected M4A files as this may render them unplayable in any other device aside from an iPod or iPhone associated with the program.