Convert Audio Formats using VLC Media Player

VLC media player can not only convert between different video formats but it also does the same with converting audio formats. Originally thought to play media only, this player has many additional functions. Converting between audio formats is quite easy with the free software. A lot of people do not use such features mainly because they do not know that they exist or there is not need for them.

Well, for those who need to convert between different audio formats, they do it for reasons like compatibility issue and size reduction. While almost all popular audio formats are supported by most devices, we sometimes need to convert them due to various reasons. For Example: Not every device can support .ogg or .dts audio and if you want to convert it to MP3 for let’s say making an MP3 cd then VLC Media Player comes to the rescue. Sometimes, you might need to reduce the bit rates of your MP3 while maintaining the same format. This is generally done to reduce the size of the file. Another great use is converting .wav files to .mp3 which preserves the audio quality while drastically reducing the file size.

Whatever the reasons may be, it is very easy and quick to convert from one format to another or swapping bit rates for audio withVLC Media Player.

The steps to convert audio formats and bit rate using VLC Media Player:

  1. From the VLC menu go to Media > Convert / Save [CTRL + R ].
    convert-save-menu-vlc
  2. In the Open Media dialog, click on the Add button and browse for your music file. Then click on Open.
    add-select-audio-files
  3. Hit the Convert/Save button to proceed to the next step.
    convert-save-button
  4. In the settings of the convert dialog box, only change the Profile part. Select the audio format that you’d like to convert to. By default, the formats present in the drop down are Audio – MP3, Vorbig (OGG), MP3 (MP4), FLAC, CD. Choose the format you are converting to.
    audio-conversion-options
  5. Optional step: If you need to explore additional codecs and container options then click the “Create a new profile” button present on the right of the profile selection dialog box.
    create-new-profile-button
  6. In the next option that follows, switch to the Audio codec tab. Mark the “Audio” checkbox to activate it. You can set different options. You can change:
    • Profile Name: A required name for your new profile that you are creating.
    • Codecs: MPEG Audio, MP3, MPEG 4 (AAC), A52/AC3, Vorbix, Flac, Speex, WAV and WMA 2.
    • Bitrate: Enter in the bit rate value like 128 KB/s, 256 KB/s and so on. Lower bit rate value lowers the quality as well as the filesize.
    • Channels: Number of output channels. 2 for stereo.
    • Sample Rate: Choose the sample rate: 8000 Hz, 11025 Hz, 22050 Hz, 44100 Hz and 48000 Hz. Similar to bit rate, changing sample rate changes filesize. 44100 Hz (44.1 kHz) and 48000 Hz (48 kHz) are the standard ones.
    • Encapsulation Tab: From the same dialog box, choose your file format or container for your desired file extension/type.
    • After selecting the options for your new profile, you can click on create to save this new profile. You will return to the previous step where you will find this new profile as an option from the Profile selection dropdown.
      audio-codec-settings
  7. Give your converted or destination file a name from the browse option.
    browse-save-converted
  8. The final action that you must take is to click on the Start button to begin the audio conversion process.
    start-audio-conversion
  9. VLC’s progress indicator will move and that means that the audio format is being converted.
    file-conversion-pointer
  10. After completion, your new converted audio file will be saved.

Video Tutorial

28 thoughts on “Convert Audio Formats using VLC Media Player

  1. Apparently only work if both the source and destination are local files. If you use a network share for either location, VLC doesn’t do anything when you tell it to start encoding…..

  2. Seems to work fine, but if you carefully listen to the output file you’ll hear a low noise… not indicated as a fast converter in music production.

  3. How to keep the ID3 Tags during VLC audio conversion? If for example I convert mp3 files to ogg files, all the ID3 tags are lost….

  4. I converted a MP4 file to MP3 on 1st march 2016. Today, 3rd March, I tried again, but there is no MP3 or other file options. When I select Audio-Mp3, only Containers (.ts) file type is available! If I convert to .ts type and then rename to .MP3, it does not work. It is very interesting that even 2 days ago, I could convert, but today VLC does not have such Mp3 option!! It is totally vanished!

  5. I successfully created an mp3 of a film, keeping the video track as the .mkv wouldn’t play on my lg tv. However it just creared an .mp3 audio file there was no video… how do I import tat .mp3 into the .mkv video file to play on my tv??

    1. MP3s are just audio files. To create video files that typically work on televisions try the H.264 format with .mp4 instead.

  6. I have the same problem. Went through the steps to copy a CD to mp3, and VLC just shows “Streaming” and the play bar doesn’t move. Timer shows –:–. I also tried to convert the CD to ogg, same results. The destination file exists at 0 Mb. I downloaded fre:ac from Sourceforge and it worked like a charm. Did you know that every time VLC fails, a puppy dies? Fix this for the puppies!

  7. VLC 2.2.1
    – Converting .mp4 to .mp3:

    CTRL+R > Add file > click Convert/Save > in Settings: choose from drop down menu “Audio – mp3” (set bit rate 256) > in Destination: click Browse: write in your File name > Save > Start

    The result will be a converted audio file with .raw extension. Do not worry.
    Rename .raw to .mp3.

    You are done!

    1. Nope.

      I have been researching this issue on different sites for a while now, and I keep seeing “all you need to do!” type answers which don’t actually solve the problem. I have to ask if these folks are actually using the method they advocate or if they are just repeating the instructions that are supposed to work – but do not.

      I choose the mp3 profile. I select the destination. The only option i get is .ts container. I try changing the extension to mp3, and I get a white noise file. I go with the .ts option and I get a file with sound, but if I rename it to mp3 it becomes white noise again.

      I tried creating a new audio profile for mp3 and I get the same results above.

      Like Andrew Brown, I started to have this problem after changing the bitrate for the default Audio MP3 profile. And I think what’s happening is this initial change resets with the Encapsulation setting to MPEG-TS! When I change the encapsulation to MP3, things work fine again.

      I can’t confirm this solution 100% because I deleted the original MP3 profile during my mad experimentation, but I am able to convert MP4 to Mp3 at whatever bitrate I chose. Subsequent edits to the profile do not seem to cause problems.

      Hope this helps!

  8. I’ve been evaluating VLC because of the future demise of Windows Media Player after Win 7. I just tried 2.2.1 for Windows and had the same problem as others…that is only an option for a 0 byte .ts file after trying to modify a conversion profile. Eventually, after a Tools/Preferences/Reset it did produce a MP3 of the first track of the CD at 128 kb/s. I was hoping for a feature like Windows Media Player that simply required selection of rip format (including 320 kb/s MP3) and then a single check box to rip **all tracks** of a CD.

    I’m sorry, but many other VLC features seem clunky and awkward to use compared to WMP 11 which just gets on with the job with no fuss.

  9. Has anything been done to address the MP3 Conversion issue as described by Andrew Brown in March 2015? It’s been over 5 months.

  10. It worked for me but only if online. It would not work offline. In VLC I chose the mp4 file I had saved (in the source file box), then from the dropdown in the convert section chose mp3. Saved to my desktop. It plays fine. But why would I need to be online to do this conversion? When I tried it while offline, VLC crashed.

  11. I had the same problem as the others. I tried to convert a 3ga file to mp3 and the conversion resulted in a file with 0 bytes. I followed Andrew’s instructions on resetting the preferences and now everything works perfectly!

    Thank you.

  12. Andrew Brown – I have this exact problem. There is no mp3 container file available for me to choose from. Very annoying as I can’t convert very large FLAC files to MP3.

  13. Hello, to support as this is appicable to you.

    A friend and I have just downloaded version 2.2.0, and tested both the 32bit version and the 64bit version, and we have discovered a common problem. When using the profile choice of MP3 and leaving the defaults alone, it works and saves the audio in an MP3 format, and the listed container is indicating “Containers (*.mp3). The moment we change the bitrate to a higher level, either 160 or in my case 192, the output container now indicates “Containers (*.ts), and the resulting created file is garbled, basically destroyed. Even if I force the extension to MP3 by changing the container option to “All files (*.*)”, and the file name and extension accordingly, it does not help. I have not tested further with other input file formats, but we are currently trying .mp4 and .mp4a files, video recordings from our mobile phones, and trying to extract the audio only.

    And it stays like this for all future use of the MP3 format, until one goes to “Tools””Preferences””Reset preferences” which then returns all to defaults and it works, but only at the 128 bit rate. Other formats like OGG Vorbis etc are not showing this behaviour, and I don’t remember my previous verson which was 2.0.5., doing this.

    Also sometimes but not consistently, if extracting to a .wav of the mentioned above input files, then the resulting file is a white noise hiss.

    I’ve also noticed that you have removed the choice of “Open Advanced file”, which I found useful, a different way of extracting and converting the audio in the past, compared to the choices today.

    Regards
    Andrew Brown

  14. Probably same problem as Jay above, it shows the new file on my computer but 0 bytes. I’m trying to convert from WMA to MP3. When it comes to Encapsulation, default is set to MPEG-TS, shld I change this & what do I change it to? Also for Destination file, by default it’s on Containers (*.ts), do I change this?

    1. Just use the default audio profile while making the conversion. Do not follow the options steps 5 and 6. Just choose “Audio – MP3” as shown in step 4 and move forward.

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