Song Conversion 101

Image by Todd
Image by Todd

You may think that there is not much to converting an audio file that you downloaded from iTunes. It is true that it’s simple, but did anyone ever tell you the mechanics behind it all. Here is how you can convert a song from iTunes to a different file format and keep a copy of the original intact.

When you are converting files from a compressed format to an uncompressed one, for example converting an MP3 file to an AIFF one, the sound quality will remain the same. But if you are converting between two compressed files, then you will easily notice the sound quality has gone down.

Now the solution to this is that for best results, you might want to import the original audio file using a different encoding method.

To convert the format, you need to follow the steps given below:

  1. Go to iTunes Preferences. If you are using Windows, you might have to select edit first and then click on Preferences.
  2. Click on the General button and then select Importing Settings.
  3. From here, you will see the Import Using menu as a pop up. Choose the encoding format you desire and click OK.
  4. Next, choose the songs from your library and move on to File and from there Create New Version. The menu will show options for: MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV and Apple Lossless.

If there are some songs that you have not imported to iTunes yet, you can do that now, and after that convert them then and there. Based on your preferences, a converted copy will be made of the file in the iTunes library. If you want to convert all the songs in the library then hold the Option key if you are using Mac or the Shift key if you are using Windows, and select File, then Create New Version, and then click on Convert. The Import preference setting will easily match what you chose in step number 3.

iTunes will automatically ask you for the location of the folder you want to import and have it converted. And viola all the songs will be converted just like that.

Compressed Data

When you are converting a song, some of the data can be lost because of the way some formats compress it. Because of this reason, sometimes the formats are called ‘lossy’ formats. There is a benefit of using such formats; the file sizes are always a lot smaller which means you can always store a lot more songs in the same amount of disk space. The downside of this is that the sound quality will not be what you expect it to be, that is the quality you heard from the compressed file. That being said, if you are using a really good pair of headphones or speakers, you might not be able to tell the difference at all.

Remember, once you compress a song file, (that is forcefully let go of some of its data) you will not receive that lost data back by uncompressing it.