How to Convert M4A to MP3

MPEG-4 Part 14 or as it is more often referred to, MP4, file format is a multimedia container format standard which constitutes part of MPEG-4. It is popularly used to store digital video and digital audio streams; chiefly those defined by MPEG, but may also be used to store other forms of data including subtitles and still images. Seeing as the two different file extensions used for naming audio-only MP4 files there has been some amount of challenges for both users and multimedia playback software.

Since MPEG-4 Part 14 is a container format, MPEG-4 files have the potential to house any number of audio, video, and even subtitle streams, making it impossible to pinpoint the type of streams in an MPEG-4 file based solely on its filename extension. In response to this predicament, Apple Inc. started using and popularizing the .m4a file extension. Software that has the ability to playback audio/video is now able to recognize files with either .m4a or .mp4 file extensions as there are no file format inconsistencies between the two. Most software capable of creating MPEG-4 audio will give the user the option to choose the filename extension of the MPEG-4 files that have been produced.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 or as it is more popularly referred to, MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format which incorporates a form of lossy data compression. The lossy compression that is used in the MP3 algorithm is designed to greatly lower the amount of data needed to represent the audio recording and still sound like near flawless reproduction of the original uncompressed audio for the majority of listeners. An MP3 file that is generated using the setting of 128 kbit/s will yield a file that is about 1/11th the size of the CD file created from the original audio source. An MP3 file can also be developed at higher or lower bit rates, with higher or lower resulting quality

You may opt to convert your M4A files to MP3 if you are experiencing compatibility problems using a multimedia device. However, regardless of the reason you would like to convert from M4A to MP3 you will be able to do so quite easily with few issues. It is also possible to use many CD burning software to accomplish this task which is nowadays equipped with audio format conversion capabilities.

Things you will need

  • A corresponding conversion software in this case AltoMP3 Gold
  • The M4A(s) to convert.


  1. To begin download the latest version of AltoMP3 Gold or any other conversion software available on line.
  2. Open the file that contains the downloaded information and run the setup program and install AltoMP3 Gold on your operating system.
  3. Once installed open the program and go to the main [File] menu, and click [Convert Files]. Alternatively you may click the second button in the main toolbar.
  4. A convert dialog should be visible at this point.
  5. Click on the ‘Add’ button to add your .m4a files to the list. Then click on the ‘Convert’ button to convert the .m4a files to .mp3.
  6. Once the program has successfully completed this task you can click the [Output Folder] to retrieve your output mp3 files.


  • For better organization of your music files use a destination folder that you have specifically designated for music storage.

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