: In the article how do I embed sound and music in a page, I explain how to play MP3-format music as part of your website. But how do you convert music to the MP3 format in the first place? What if your music is in WAV files, Windows Media format (often found in files with a How can i mp3 download.
extension), QuickTime or another Apple format such as the AAC format used by iTunes? There are several ways to convert your existing audio files to MP3 format. The right solution varies greatly depending on whether you are using a Macintosh, Windows, or Linux system. In this article I'll assume you are using Windows XP (or possibly Vista).
The simplest solution is a little bit time-consuming, but it works with every audio format your computer can play back— if you can listen to it, you can convert it to an MP3. And that's tough to beat.
Re-Recording Your Audio Output: The "Stereo Mix" SolutionHow can you convert the audio that is coming out of your computer back into input? You're probably imagining a cable from your headphone jack to your microphone jack! Relax, you don't have to do anything so ugly or low in quality. We can simulate it with the "Stereo Mix" recording feature of Microsoft Windows. It's a bit tricky to find, but follow my steps carefully and you'll have no trouble!
Ready? Here's how to turn your audio output into your audio input:
3. Double-click "Sounds and Audio Devices"
4. The "Sounds and Audio Devices Properties" window appears
6. Locate the "Sound playback" area
7. Click on the "Volume..." button in the "Sound playback" area (NOT "Sound recording")
8. The "Volume Control" window appears
9. Pull down the "Options" menu
11. Locate the "Adjust volume for" area
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12. Click on the "Recording" radio button
13. Click "OK." The "Recording Control" window appears
14. Locate "Stereo Mix" (usually on the left) 15. Check the "Select" box beneath "Stereo Mix"
16. Raise the "Volume" slider for "Stereo Mix" about three-quarters of the way to the top
17. Click the "X" to close the "Recording Control" window
18. Click the "X" to close the "Volume Control" window
19. Click "OK" to close the "Sound and Audio Devices Properties" window.
Phew! Did you follow all that? Great— your computer is set up to record what it plays back.
But what will you use to do the recording? And how will you convert the results to MP3 format? To finish the job, you'll need audio conversion software. There are many audio editors out there, but when an excellent, free, open-source program can do the job, why look any further? That's why I recommend Audacity.
Converting Your Songs With AudacityAudacity is a simple, friendly audio recording and editing program. Although it is mainly intended as a musician's recording tool, it's also a fine choice for our purposes. You can easily obtain Audacity for Windows by visiting the Audacity for Windows download page and carefully following the instructions there to download and install the software on your computer.
There's one big catch with Audacity: for legal reasons, the filter that converts other formats to MP3 is not included "in the box." Are we stuck? Of course not! We just have to visit a separate website to pick up the MP3 filter,
Audacity's how do I download and install the LAME MP3 encoder? page explains in detail how to take care of this step. Read it and follow the directions carefully.
Do you have Audacity and its MP3 encoder installed at this point? Great! You're ready to move on to "recording" and converting your audio files. Just follow these steps to convert your first song!
1. If you have not already followed the steps above to set up your computer to record its own output, do so now.
2. Launch the Audacity software.
3. Click on the round red "Record" button. Audacity will begin recording.
Without closing Audacity, start playing the song you want to convert in your preferred music player software. It doesn't matter what software you use, play the song the way you normally play it.
4. When the song has finished playing, go back to the Audacity window. Audacity should still be recording. Click the square yellow "stop" button.
5. Right now there's some "dead air" at the beginning and end of your track. You can clean that up now if you wish. Use the scrollbar in Audacity to locate the silent sections at the beginning and end of the song. Select those areas with the mouse, then pick "cut" from the "Edit" menu to remove them. If you make a mistake, just select "Undo" from the "Edit" menu.
6. Click "Play" to listen to what was recorded. If the sound is distorted, your recording level was too high. You can fix that by returning to the Windows "Recording Level" window we used earlier and lowering the volume slider for "Stereo Mix." Then select "Undo" in Audacity to undo the recording, and start a new recording. (If you don't undo the old recording, you'll record a second track of audio, like a second instrument in a song. This is not what you want.)
7. When you are satisfied with the sound, pull down the "File" menu and select "Export as MP3..."
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8. If you have not already done so, you will be prompted to locate the
file. If you have not yet downloaded the MP3 filter for Audacity, visit the how do I download and install the LAME MP3 encoder? page and follow its instructions carefully.
9. In the "Save MP3 File As" box, enter a name for your MP3 file. You don't have to type the
10. The "Edit the ID3 tags for the MP3 file" window appears. ID3 tags contain information such as the title, album title, and artist's name. Enter as much information about the song as you wish. I recommend you select the "ID3v1" radio button, because more players understand that type of ID3 tag. When you're done, click "OK." When you click "OK," Audacity will convert your song to the MP3 format and save it to the filename you specified. This can take a little time if the recording is a long one.
When you're finished, you have a
file that is compatible with the XSPF Flash Music Player and other MP3-based software. For more information on what you can do with MP3 files on your website, see the article how do I embed sound and music in a page?