Which Audio File Format Should I Use?

Best Audio Format
Image by Didgeman http://bit.ly/1Hi6Asw

When you’ve been out and about, collecting music from the web, or digitizing your music collection, you have surely found out that there are way more audio formats out there than just MP3 – or Apple iTunes’ AIFF. Usually, it doesn’t matter much in which format you download or save a song or piece of music. But especially when iTunes or Windows Media Player aren’t able to open those files, a fast solution is needed.

Furthermore, with so many file formats for audio files alone out there, which one should you choose when digitizing your collection? Sure, MP3 is the most popular one, but which one is the best for your individual preferences and purpose?

Lossy vs. Lossless Audio Files

In earlier blog articles, we have talked about lossless and lossy audio file types already. In sum, both lossless and lossy describe the quality in which you can save your music files.

Lossless files keep the original audio quality of the medium it was ripped from intact, whether it was a CD or an audio recorder.

Lossless formats include:

WAV, AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless ALAC, or APE

 Lossy files compress the audio files to reduce the file size and thus save space on your hard drive. Thus, they are far more common to the casual music listener and collector. Depending on the bitrate, you may not even here a difference between them and a lossless audio file.

The most common lossy file formats include:

MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, and WMA

 Which One To Use?

Putting aside that you have any special needs regarding the file, which file format should you use for either downloading or ripping music from a CD? The most secure way to go is with either MP3 or AAC. Why? Because these formats are the most common, widely spread, and supported by a big variety of media and music players. If you rip your music using a high bitrate for either MP3 or AAC, it will be almost impossible to notice any difference to the source when it comes to audio quality.

However, this is a very easy answer, and every easy answer has it’s tricky part.

The problem with lossy formats like WMA is that, if you want to convert said file later one, e.g. to MP3, the quality of the music will be noticeably reduced. To prevent that, you can either choose a high bitrate before converting your audio file and thus reduce the quality loss, or you use a lossless format! Converting between lossless formats will result in no quality loss at all. Thus, if you plan on archiving your music collection for future usage that may involve converting or professionally using the files, you should go for a lossless format like FLAC or ALAC.

In the end, every format that is widely compatible with a variety of players and devices is the best choice. As long as you do not convert between lossy formats without setting the bitrate, you can enjoy your music in the best quality.

Make Transcribing Easier!

Image by mpclemens http://bit.ly/1wHFOS9

In our daily life as well as in our work life, we have to handle a lot of different file types and formats day after day. Depending on how versatile and computer-savvy you are, you will have to deal with audio, video, spreadsheet, and presentations files more frequently than others. And if you have a job that requires you to work with online or other technical issues, you will find yourself face-to-face with unknown and diverse file formats even more. For example: when you do transcriptions!

Transcribing as a Business

Simply put, transcription services offer the conversion of speech into written text. They are quite often used and necessary when  you held a speech, broadcast, or have any other recorded audio of a conversation or presentation, that you need in text form. Especially in the field of medicine, politics, in court, or for other business purposes, professional transcribers are often required. They are either sitting at a court meeting or event, or receive a recorded audio of the speech/consultation in question.

Transcription is a growing field for either professionally trained transcribers, or people that like to earn some extra money in their free time or after retirement. There are companies specialized in transcription, but many general assistance and administration companies also provide this service among others.

Before the introduction of tape and cassettes, the transcriber had to be present at the time of speaking, writing down what she or he heard, also using skills like abbreviating and shorthand. But since tapes, cassettes, CDs, VHS, DVDs, and – in recent years – audio files can be send to anyone around the globe, the job became a lot easier, and the time spend on transcribing a lot more flexible.

Transcribing Software vs. Manual Transcription

Of course, there are transcribing software and online solutions (via API) available. These programs may be quicker, easier accessible, and – depending on the pricing – cheaper than hiring someone for the transcription, but these programs are by no means error proof.

Having one or even more people do, check, and double-check a transcription made for you can be a bit more time-consuming and a tad more expensive, however you will get a result that is done thoroughly and tested multiple times, best by different ears. A software that always uses the same algorithm can not provide this double security.

Convert for easier Transcription

There are a few problems that can occur whether you are using a transcription program, or transcribe yourself or have someone do it for you.

Obscure Audio File Format

As mentioned above, nowadays it’s way more common to not send CDs or cassettes, but audio files via mail or cloud storage. However, if you only needed a CD player in the past, you now have a vast diversity of audio files that could be send to you – and it may happen that you are unable to open some of them.

Using an online audio converter can help you to receive a format that Windows Media Player, Quicktime, or any other audio player on your computer can open the file. Convert it to MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF, or another format you know.

Distorted Audio Files

What’s also possible is that the file you receive can be distorted, contain a lot background noise, or that the speaker or speakers are generally hard to understand. Adjusting volume may not be enough in such cases, but some files can still be rescued – or at least be enhanced.


@cyberspaceayuda is one of our users that brought to our attention how versatile an online converter can be to simplify working with transcriptions as it is one of the many services they offer at Virtuadmin. By changing bitrate, sampling rate, or normalizing the audio stream, it is possible to enhance an audio file to an extend that makes the transcription easier.

Audio Converter

How To View All Kinds Of Files Without Installing Anything

Did you know that there are several options on how to view all kinds of Files without having to install the specific program needed? Yes, even programs that are capable of opening and displaying different kinds of files mostly require download and installation – if not even a purchase!

Open Anything
Image by Tripp http://bit.ly/1HblqPL

Thus, we have collected a view websites that allow you to view different kinds of audio, document, eBook, spreadsheet, image, or presentation files online. Oftentimes, you are sent a file that you can not open with the programs available on your computer – may it be an Apple pages document that you can’t open in Microsoft Word, or a RAW camera image.

Furthermore, most of these pages do not even require you to register or log in to use them. The service is completely for free.

ThinkFree Online

ThinkFree Online is a tool especially useful for users of Apple Macs or platforms without the installation of the Microsoft Office Programs. The site allows you to open all kinds of Microsoft Office files of 2003 and 2007 like DOC, DOCX, XLS, or PPT.

Furthermore, you are able to use a DOC, XLS, and PPT editor on the website. By creating a free account, it is also possible to store your documents and spreadsheets on your account.

Unfortunately, the site is limited to processing Microsoft Office files only, however the support provided is very reliable.



rollMyFile is a very versatile online file viewer. They claim to support over 500 different file types, ranging from documents and spreadsheets, to images and even eBooks. The handling of the website is very easy as well, since you can simply drag & drop the file you want to open on the home page. rollMyFile is supported by the most common browsers like Opera, Safari, Firefox, or Google Chrome.

With a paid subscription, the user is able to edit the files uploaded and save those changes to, e.g., Google Drive or Drop Box.

However, there are still many files, especially media files or raw image files from DSLR cameras, that can not be opened by the service.


Convert your Files

Another option to view any kind of file that has been sent to you or that you found on your hard drive is to convert them into formats your computer, tablet, or mobile phone is able to open and display. Just as with the two services mentioned above, no installation of a program to your computer or phone is needed, however, the converted file will have to be either downloaded on your hard drive or stored on a cloud storage service.

The possibilities are almost endless though. Usually not supported RAW camera files like NEF or CR2 can be converted to JPG, 3GP or other more “exotic” video files can be converted to MP4, and eBooks and all kinds of documents can easily be converted to PDF.


How to create an iPhone Ringtone

iPhone Ringtones
Image by Matthew Pearce http://bit.ly/1dkJ0zF

Sure, those ringtones inherited by your iPhone or available on iTunes are nice, but don’t you want a more personal one? A part of your favorite song, or simply one that gets you up and going in the morning? To achieve that, you do not have to purchase a ringtone from the iTunes store! We can show you how it can be done very easily using the fitting cost-free resources and your iTunes library!

1. Grab the Song

First things first. Do you know which part of the song you want as your ringtone? You need to remember the exact part with the start and ending time to the second. Best, you write it down somewhere real quick.

Now, you can basically choose any free audio converter to trim the song, however, using this M4A converter can save you a later step already. Go to the converter and upload the song you want to trim. Under “Trim Audio” you can enter the start and ending time. After hitting “Convert File”, the song will be cut and the part you wanted will be converted to M4A. Using iTunes or the Apple Quick Time Player, you can now listen to the part of your song again, making sure it’s the one you want. The best thing about this: your original song will remain untouched, contrary to clipping and converting it using iTunes.

Once you have the desired part, you can move on to step 2.

2. Get the Ringtone File

Having an M4A file to begin with is nice, however it’s not the one suitable for iPhone ringtones. To get the appropriate file, you have to locate your downloaded and converted file first. Either, it will be stored in the folder specified in your browser’s download history, or you can select it from there directly and choose “Show in folder” or something similar after right-clicking on the file. You will be lead to the download destination right away.

To change the file, you will have to rename it. However, not the name of the file itself, but the name of the file extension. If you’re lucky, you can simply right-click on the image and choose “Properties” or “File Info”. There, you can rename the file extension as well as the name of the file. In case the file extension is not visible, you have to switch it on. There are different tutorials about that on the internet, depending on which version of Windows or iOS you have; for example this one for OS X Mountain Lion.

Once you are ready, all you have to do is change the file extension of your file to “M4R”. For example, your file had had the name “Rhianna-Umbrella.m4a” and now you renamed it to “Rhianna-Umbrella.m4r”. Once you tried to apply this change, your computer will send a warning and ask you, whether you really want to change the file extension. Confirm.

3. Add your Ringtone to iTunes and your iPhone

Once you renamed your file, you can drag and drop it into your iTunes library. It will show up under “Tones”.

To get the ringtone to your phone, you will have to sync your iPhone to your computer. In your iPhone menu on iTunes, you have to go to Tones and select “Sync Tones”. Hit “Sync” and “Apply” and wait. Once the sync is completed, you can use your new ringtone! Simply go to “Settings > Sounds > Ringtone” and choose it as your currently used one.

Extract Music from Video Files – Tutorial

From Video to Audio
Icons by http://www.iconarchive.com/

In one of our earliest posts, we have already talked about the possibility to extract music from video clips. By now, you know that the answer on how to get that movie score, song, or piece of background music from a video or movie scene is to convert your video into an audio format.

However, this time we want to provide a better and more extensive tutorial on how to get the sound track ripped from a video.

All you need is the video you want the sound track to be extracted from – either downloaded from vimeo, dailymotion, YouTube, or elsewhere; or recorded by yourself – and one of the audio converters from online-convert.com. No download or installation of any software is needed.

1. Choose an Output Format

Depending on what kind of audio file you need, you have to choose the output format first. Pick the format you need from the big list of audio converters – for example iTunes’ AIFF, or MP3 – and click on the link.

Click for full size

2. Upload your Video

Now that you know what kind of audio file you want, it’s time to choose the video you want to extract the music or sound effects from. If it’s a short video that only contains the part you want to rip, you can directly upload it to the converter by using the “Choose Files” button, entering an URL, or choosing a file from your cloud storage.


If you only want a part of your video clip to be converted into an audio file, however, you have the option to select the correct time frame from which you want to extract the music. You find this option underneath the other settings you can apply to your desired audio file.


Once you have specified all your settings, you can hit the “Convert File” button.

3. Receiving your Audio File

On the next page, the progress of your conversion is shown. As soon as the conversion is completed, the file will automatically download to your computer.

Of course, you can also send the download link to yourself or someone else via email, or save your file onto a cloud storage.

Et voilà, now you have the sound track extracted from your YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, or otherwise downloaded and recorded video clip!

Windows Media Player File Types

If you use the Windows operating system on your computer, you have some version of Windows Media Player installed on it. In today’s world, many people install other types of software that will play music and videos, but there are still a lot of people who stick with the old-school WMP for their needs. In the current version of WMP, it can play many different types of audio formats. However, if you have an older version, you might need to know about Windows Media Player file types in order to get your audio to play.

windows media player file types
Image by Dan Gravell http://bit.ly/1y9ia6s

Playing WMP Files on Other Systems

Since the Windows Media Player comes from the Microsoft library of products, the files it produces are generally accepted in other types of software and tools.  Audio files are typically created with the WMA file extension and video files use the WMV extension.

If you create an audio file in WMP and want to use it on other types of devices, in nearly all cases you will be able to do this without any problem. After all, other types of software and music systems would be crazy to not accept files created in something by Microsoft. That would be severely limiting the functionality of their device.

In the off chance that you run into this problem, you can simply use on online audio file converter to convert the Windows Media Player file types into the type of format that is needed. You will need to check with the service you are using to determine what types of file formats they accept.

Adding Other Files to WMP

However, if you are trying to add music from other places into Windows Media Player, there are a few more restrictions. Part of this is due to the fact that Windows simply can’t handle every single type of audio file that is available. Since every product or service gets to make their own choice about what type of file format they will use when they create audio files, it isn’t possible for WMP to have the capability to handle every possible option.

However, they do have the ability to handle most of the major types of audio files that are created, but there is a caveat. The list of Windows Media Player file types that can be handled depends upon which version of WMP you are using.

Windows Media Player File Types for Version 12

The most recent version of Windows Media Player is WMP 12.  The list of Windows Media Player file types that can be handed in 12 include the the following file extensions: MOV, M4A, MP4, M4V, MP4V, 3G2, 3GP2, 3PG, 3GPP, AAC, ADT, ADTS and M2TS. However, since these are recent players in the world of audio and video, older versions of Windows Media Player do NOT have the ability to handle those types of files.

Handling an Error

If you try to open a file in WMP and get an error related to the file type, it means that type of file extension is not supported. However, this doesn’t mean that you will not be able to play the music you want to listen to. It just means you will need to convert it.

Use a good online audio file converter and you can easily convert the file to a Windows Media Player file type that can be opened.


How to pay without creating a PayPal account

Credit Cards
Image by Sean MacEntee http://bit.ly/1wW3Kq6

Many services all over the world wide web require you to pay via PayPal. Why? Because it’s easy, convenient, and provides many useful features, securities, and possibilities for both, buyers and sellers. Yet, not everyone feels safe using and registering for PayPal, and linking their bank account information to their new PayPal account. PayPal fraud is still something many people are afraid of. All that’s needed – most of the time – is clicking on one link to give your private information to someone on the other side of the net.

Some sellers, however, offer you to pay for their services via PayPal without creating an account! If you, for example, want to sign up for one of the premium services of Online-Convert.com, all you need is a credit card.

If you decided for the service package you want to purchase, you will be automatically directed to PayPal. The standard view is the one displayed below. Yet, after being prompted to log in to an existing PayPal account, many don’t look further. If you want to pay with your credit card without signing up on the page, you should do that though. Click on “Pay with Debit or Credit Card”.



Now, you are presented with a form that requires the information about your credit or debit card. Depending on your country, you may also be asked to enter your address, email address, or phone number. To continue after entering all the information necessary, simply click on “Pay now” at the bottom of the form.



Afterwards, you will be asked whether you want to create a PayPal account. If you decide to do so, you can register with the information entered. If you still have no desire to use PayPal more regularly by entering your information, you can – of course – decline.

With getting the confirmation of PayPal that your purchase has been made, the services you ordered will be available for you immediately.


Problems you may encounter

While Online-Convert.com offers the service of paying with credit card instead of creating a PayPal account, not everyone does. Sellers can choose to disable this feature, only enabling you to pay when having an account with PayPal.
Furthermore, it may be that your country isn’t supporting this kind of payment. In case the problem lies within PayPal though, it may help to clear your browsing data and delete the cookies.

If PayPal is not accepting your credit card, it may also be that you already have an account that is linked to your card’s information, preventing the site to pay with it without logging in.

For more information about paying with credit or debit cards, please visit the PayPal customer support page or refer to this announcement.


EDIT 11/08/2016: We have updated the screenshots and our article since PayPal did a few changes.

Convert Text to Audio

Image by Marina Montoya http://bit.ly/1wOxm2W

There are so many possibilities to convert across different file types – aka cross conversion – but what is it all good for? We looked at several types of cross conversions already, showing why you may need them, how useful they are, and how easy the results can be obtained.

After extracting text from pictures, ripping audio from a movie clip, and other useful conversions, we will look at the so-called TTS today; Text to Speech.

What’s TTS good for?

There are several reasons for you to convert text to audio, actually. Plus, such conversions bear advantages for different groups of people like elders, students, business men, or dyslexics.

Listen to lecture notes, text books, etc.

Instead of printing out endless lecture notes and spending hours reading through text books, one can add more value to studying very easily. By turning text and documents to audio, another kind of learning input is given. Next to reading your material, you will be able to listen to it as well.

Plus, you can go through important notes anytime from anywhere by transferring the resulting MP3 file to your iPhone, computer, or other mobile device.


Proofreading is important for many texts, may it be applications, assignments, take-home exams, or even a thesis. By writing, one can find many spelling or grammar mistakes, yet what about the content? Finding holes and discrepancies can be a lot easier if you hear your own work read out to you.

Speech preparation

Have an important presentation or speech coming up? Then listen to what you are about to say. Inconsistencies, and halting expressions can be detected a lot faster. Plus, you’ll get a rough overview of how long your speech or presentation will take.

Avoiding eyestrain

Reading tiny fonts; may it be in documents, emails, or on websites – can be very straining for the eyes. As is reading when you are dealing with stress or headaches. If you still need to know about the content of an email or text asap, letting it read out to you is a good solution.

Audio books

The TTS conversion is also an easy way to get an eBook or PDF turned into an audio book. Listen to it yourself or create some kind of radio play for your children that way.

Help those with reading problems

Especially people with reading problems can benefit from text turned into MP3 or another audio format. This is especially true for dyslexics, language learners, or blind and visually impaired people. Elders that do not want to read through long emails or children that aren’t too versatile in reading yet, gain from a text read out loud as well.

How to convert text to audio

Creating an MP3 or WMA file from your texts and documents is fairly easy. You can convert many different document files like DOC, ODT, TXT, or PDF into any audio file format available as a target. For demonstration purposes, we chose an MP3 converter.

MP3 ConverterAfter choosing the fitting converter for your needs, all you have to do is browse your computer or hard drive for he document you want to convert. The source file we wanted to be converted to speech was a DOCX document with lecture notes.


After clicking on convert file, the only thing you have to do is wait. Depending on how big your text file is, the upload, conversion, and download may take a little longer. In the end though, you’ll have your text converted into an audio file that’s ready to be listened to.

Audio File


Average File Sizes

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There is one thing about files that everyone can’t help to notice as soon as they want to download, upload, or send it via the internet, or when the computer announces that there isn’t enough storage left: File sizes.

No matter if you store music on your iPhone, want to send a picture via email, or upload a funny video to Facebook, file sizes – when too big – can and will cause problems, especially when you are on mobile or stuck with a slow internet connection.

There are natural limitations, no matter if they are set by your email provider for attachments, or by different pages when you want to upload a video or profile picture. Keeping the kilobytes and megabytes in mind prevents you from encountering unnecessary problems.

Why’s File Size important?

As stated above, there are a number of reasons why you would want to keep the size of your files in mind. One we encounter almost daily is the limitation set by many email providers when it comes to attachments. Consider this for example:

An attachment for an email sent via gmail can not exceed 25 MB, while emails sent via Microsoft Outlook allow for individual files (not the whole bundle) to not be bigger than 20 MB.

This may not seem to be a problem at first when you want to send a picture or PDF document, but as soon as you want to send multiple files or even a video, matters become more pressing. Thankfully, most email programs let you know when you exceed the file size limit.

Another factor are upload and download times. Sure, for many users, the download of a file takes about 15 seconds, but households that still have a dial-up or other slow connection can take up to one hour for a file with a size of 10 MB. Thus, when uploading documents or other media to share on the internet, you should also keep in mind people that aren’t blessed with highspeed internet connections.

Same goes for uploading an entire album of photos to Facebook, for example, or a video to YouTube. While users of a fast internet connection can easily wait through the uploading process and even browse the net meanwhile, some people still have no chance of doing anything on the internet while the upload is in process. Especially people with a slow connection who want to upload their videos, music, or images would have to keep a close eye on the file size of their media.

Especially nowadays, mobile internet is the number one way for people to connect with the world. Yet, even if many mobile phone providers have internet flat rates in their contracts, the download speed is limited in most cases. Thus, browsing pictures or watching videos can be very annoying considering the long loading or buffering times when you are stuck with mobile internet.

Bits and Bytes

Which units are there even, and how big are they? Refer to this short list:

  • 1 B = 1 byte
  • 1 kB = 1.000 bytes
  • 1 MB = 1.000 kB or 1.000.000 bytes
  • 1 GB = 1.000 MB, 1.000.000 kB, or bytes

Average File Sizes

But, what are the average file sizes of media we use daily? After browsing the net and producing some examples ourselves, we found out the following:


  • PNG ~ 2 – 4 kB
  • GIF ~ 6 – 8 kB
  • JPG ~ 9 – 12 kB
  • TIFF ~ 900 – 1.000 kB
  • BMP ~ 900 – 1.000 kB


  • DOCX ~4 – 8 kB
  • PDF ~ 18 – 20 kB
  • ODT ~ 80 – 90 kB

Media Files

  • eBook ~ 1 – 5 MB
  • MP3 song ~ 3 – 4 MB
  • DVD Movie ~ 4 GB
  • HD Movie ~ 5 – 8 GB
  • Blu-Ray Movie ~ 20 – 25 GB

Reducing File Sizes

Reducing the size of individual files can be achieved in different ways.

Image files can easily be cropped using different photo editing software or online editors. Photographs for displaying on the web or in Facebook do not have to be big in dimension. Buttons, lines, clipart, and the like can even be stored as formats that are smaller in size because they don’t contain much color or style information, like PNG or GIF. However, uploading RAW camera images (like CR2 or NEF) are 2 to 6 times bigger than JPG files and can’t be displayed correctly anyway. TIFF and BMP files should be converted to JPG or the like as well since they are bigger in size than the compressed JPG files.

Document files that should be displayed online or provided as a download can be slimmed down as well by getting rid of unnecessary pictures and formatting. In most cases though, saving as or converting your file to PDF correlates with a reduced file size as well.

Video files can be treated similar to image files, yet getting and mastering a video editing program is much harder and takes longer than achieving the same with photo editing software. However, changing the screen size by using a video converter is be a fast and easy to use alternative.

Last but not least, bigger audio files can be converted to MP3. This goes hand in hand with loss of quality to some degree, yet for your listening pleasure this should be marginal.

How to Transfer iTunes Music to Android Devices

In the technology world we all now live in, most things are getting better at “talking with each other”. At least this is true for the major players in most areas.

transfer iTunes music to android
Image by Stephen Fulljames http://bit.ly/1AmHQdM

Unfortunately, when you need to transfer iTunes music to android devices, it doesn’t necessarily work that way.

Why it’s So Difficult

For example, everyone knows that Microsoft Office is one of the major players in the word processing and spreadsheet worlds, so when they create a new piece of software that handle either of those two functions, they make sure that their software is compatible with both Microsoft Word and Excel. It only makes sense to make it easy for people to go back and forth between your software and some of the other popular options people use.

However, that is not the case with some Apple products, including iTunes. They have made the specific choice to NOT make it easy to transfer music and other types of files that you keep on iTunes to other types of non-Apple devices.

This is done because they want you to make a decision, and they hope and assume that if you have to choose between iTunes and other options, you will choose iTunes.

In the beginning, this wasn’t really an issue because people who used Apple products, always used iTunes to store their music. However as time has gone on, people have become a little less reliant on a single operating system. There are more quality cell phone options available and many other types of devices that have made people less reliant on a single system.

This new multi-device phenomenon means that there are now many more choices available if you want to transfer iTunes music to android devices.

How to Manually Transfer iTunes Music to Android

There are several methods you can use to transfer iTunes music to android if you know what kind of a cloud player or music streaming service you want to use. But if you don’t know those things, or you just want to do a straight transfer to your android device, the best option is to do a direct transfer.

The oldest method to transfer iTunes music to android doesn’t involve any complicated software or downloads. You just need a simple micro USB cable that can connect the device that shows your iTunes library to the android device you want to transfer your music to.

If your main device is a Mac, you may need the app called Android File Transfer installed, but that is very easy to do.

Once you have the two devices connected, you simply need to navigate to the location of your music. On a Windows device, you should start your search under My Music / iTunes. If you are on a Mac, you should look under Music / iTunes / iTunes Media.

From that point, it’s just a matter of using the drag-and-drop process to move your music between the devices.

When this is complete, your music should all be available to play on your android device, but you may have trouble with a few of the files because of their file types. In some cases, you may need to convert your music files to something that can be read by your android.

This could be because there were files in your iTunes account that were specific file types that your android device doesn’t have the ability to handle. The good news is that it’s very easy to convert your music files when you have a good online music converter.