How To Convert M4A to MP3 on Linux

There are many different formats out there for music and many different players out there, one of the most popular on Windows and MAC OSX is iTunes due to the iPod. The issue that we run into is being able to play the music you paid for on Linux without iTunes or another player. One such way to make the music universally play on  anything is to convert it to MP3 format.

This post explains how to convert it using three different methods.

Converting Using FAAD and LAME

If not installed you will need to install faad and lame.

$ sudo yum install faad2 lame

Next let’s convert the m4a file to a wav file, then use lame to create the mp3.

$ faad -o my.wav my.m4a
$ lame -h -b 192 my.wav my.mp3

The -h option of lame requests the production of higher quality output and the -b option results in a bitrate of 192kbps for the resulting mp3

Convert with ffmpeg

Install ffmpeg if it is not installed.

$ sudo yum install ffmpeg
$ ffmpeg -i my.m4a -acodec mp3 -ac 2 -ab 192k my.mp3

Convert with SoundConverter

First make let’s install soundconverter and the gstreamer mp3 plugin.

$ sudo yum install soundconverter gstreamer-plugins-ugly

Open Soundconverter and click on Preferences.



Click on the format drop down and select MP3 (.mp3) and click close. Next click on the Add File button and browse to the m4a you want to convert and click open.



If there are more files you want to convert use the Add File button. If you are done then click on convert.



The conversion will show progress until completed.



And there you go! A few ways to convert m4a to MP3.

8 Responses to “How To Convert M4A to MP3 on Linux”

  1. Tony says:

    You’ve got a goof in the ffmeg conversion line – that will convert it at 192 bits per seconds, not 192k. Change it to -ab 192k to get something with a bit of quality in it.

  2. Boris says:

    It is much easier with VLC
    1. Open Media
    2. Open File
    3. Select your file
    4. Choose Convert from List close to Play button
    5. Select desired profile (probably Audio – MP3)
    6. Type desired file name
    7. Start

    • newlife007 says:

      Thanks Boris, as with many things there are always different ways to make conversions, this was just a few of those many ways to make a conversion.

    • Tom says:

      Maybe so, but personally I’m doing this conversion on a computer without a monitor or any sort of GUI, so the terminal commands are much easier for me.

  3. paulaadriananew says:

    I use Avdshare Audio Converter to convert video to audio or converter between various audio formats like M4A, MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA, AIFF, DTS, Opus etc.

  4. Fanghdbr says:

    I recommend Avdshare Audio Converter which can convert all M4A files to AIFF and convert AIFF to M4A at fastest conversion speed.

  5. Great article!

    Recently I stumbled upon “parallel” an amazing piece of software that allows us to perform “parallel” tasks. Reading a little its manual and researching through the Internet I came up with another solution for converting mp3 files.

    find . -type f -iname “*.m4a” | parallel -j8 ffmpeg -i {} -acodec mp3 -ac 2 -ab 192k {.}.mp3

    -j8 ……… 8 jobs at once
    {} ………. the original name
    {.}.mp3 ….. the modified name


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