Whether you want to transfer music to a portable device or share your latest masterpiece, you may need to convert audio for the best experience. One of the easiest ways to accomplish the conversion is by using VLC. Short for VideoLAN Client, VLC is a free and open-source software application that can play local and network media, as well a convert media. Follow this simple guide to convert your audio files quickly and easily using VLC on Windows or Mac. Let’s get started!
Convert Audio Using VLC on Windows
From the main VLC window, select Media from the menu bar at the top and choose Convert / Save.
(Figure W1). Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Control + R.
Next, in the Convert and Save window, Click the Add button to begin selecting the audio files that you want to convert. You may choose one file or multiple files at a time. (see Figure W2)
Once you have added all of your desired audio files to the conversion list, the next step is to move down to the Convert / Save button at the lower-right corner of the window. Don’t click the button just yet – instead, click the downwards arrow to expand the options menu and select Convert. (See Figure W2a below)
The next window that you see will be the Convert window, where you will be presented with your source files and destination options. Be sure that the Convert option is selected in this window, as demonstrated in Figure W3 below.
You will also be able to select the output format for your conversation here as well. By default, VLC has presets for OGG, MP3, FLAC, and CDA (audio CD format) conversions. You can also create your own presets for additional formats by clicking the New Preset button shown in Figure W4.
If you are only converting a single file, you can specify the destination folder and file name using the Destination file field at the bottom of the window. Otherwise, for multiple files, they will be saved in the same location as the source files, using the same names.
Once you have everything set to your liking, click the Start button to begin the conversion process.
Side note for creating a new Profile Preset
If you opted to create a new preset for a non-default format, you will be presented with the New Preset window (not pictured). The specifics of these settings are outside the scope of this guide; however, you can find more information about file encapsulation and encoding formats here. For the purposes of this guide, pay attention to the Audio and Streamable indicators depending on how you intend to use your converted file. Once you have set encapsulation, select the Audio codec tab and set the parameters to your desired values. Refer to the link above if you need help.
After you're done setting the parameters, click the Create button.
The conversion time will depend on your computer speed, network latency (if files are not locally stored) and the total number of files being converted. You can view the progress in the main VLC window. The file currently being converted will be highlighted in the playlist, and the seek bar will show the progress of that conversion. (See Figure W5)
Please note: There will be no alert or indication when the conversion process is finished. They seek bar will simply reset to the beginning.
Convert Audio Using VLC on Mac OSX
The process for converting audio files using VLC on Mac OSX is similar to Windows, but some user interface areas are different. Follow these steps to convert your audio files on VLC for Mac OSX.
With VLC open and in the foreground, select File from the application bar, and choose Convert / Stream as shown in Figure A1, below. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + S.
Next, you will be presented with the Convert & Stream window shown below in Figure A2. From here, you can drag-and-drop your source files into the “Drop media here” area. You may also use the Open media button to select your desired files for conversion.
Next, use the Choose Profile section to select the desired conversion profile. Note that the default profile is a Video format. Be sure to change the format to an audio format type before proceeding. You can also create your own profile by selecting the Customize button, but that is beyond the scope of this article.
Once you have selected your source files, and have chosen your desired conversion format, click the Save as File button. You will then be present with a window allowing you to choose the destination location and name of the converted files, as shown below in Figure A3.
Click the Save button after specifying your destination file location and name. You will then notice that the “Go!” button in the Convert & Stream window has changed to Save. Click the “Save” button to begin the conversion process, as shown in Figure A4.
The conversion time will depend on your computer speed, network latency (if files are not locally stored), and the total number of files you're converting. You can view the progress in the main VLC window. The file currently being converted will be highlighted in the playlist, and the seek bar will show the progress of that conversion.
Please note: There will be no alert or indication when the conversion process is finished. The seek bar will simply reset to the beginning.
We hope that you have found this guide useful. Additionally, you can also use FormatFactory to convert your audio files if VLC is not available for you to use. Format Factory is a free media processing tool that supports video, audio, and image conversion, as well as ripping CDs, DVDs, and BRs. You can also use it to record your screen, download online audio, and even convert PDF files to other formats.