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All About Audio
on Mac

Introduction
All about MP2
All about MP3
All about Ogg Vorbis
All about WMA
All about DRM protected Music
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All About MP3 on Mac

What is an MP3?

MP3, short for MPEG-1/MPEG-2 Layer 3, is the defacto-standard format for storing compressed digital audio.  While it is not strictly correct, the term “MP3 Player” has come into common usage to describe software and hardware products that work with not only the MP3 format but also other compressed digital audio formats. 

Most computer users are familiar with the MP3 format.  Originally it was royalty-free for developers to create products that used the MP3 format and as a result many MP3 products have been developed.  Now however, product developers must pay a licensing fee to use the MP3 format and so the MP3 format is now being challenged by other emerging compressed audio formats.  There are a variety of commercial and open source MP3 encoders available for Mac OS X, including the open source “LAME” (LameLib) MP3 software.

MP3 can be played on many CD players, car stereos, flash MP3 players and iPod. MP3s can also be played on your Mac using MP3 player software such as Music Man or iTunes.



How to Play MP3 on Mac

MP3s can be played on your Mac using MP3 player software such as Music Man or iTunes. They are also playable on many CD players (on MP3CD), car stereos (on MP3CD), and MP3 players.

You can play an MP3 on your Mac with iTunes by doing the following:

  1. Find the MP3 in your iTunes library. If the mp3 is not already in your iTunes library, you'll have to add it before you can play it. To add it, go to "iTunes > File Menu > Add to Library" and then navigate to where the MP3 is on your computer. Click the "Choose" button to add it to your library.

  2. Highlight the MP3 and press "play"

You can play an MP3 on your Mac with Audacity but it's not really a player, so the interface isn't very convenient:

  1. In Audacity, open the mp3 file.
    "Audacity > File > Open" and navigate to the file/files you want to play

  2. Move the cursor to where in the track you want to start playing and click the Play button

  3. To play the next song, repeat steps 1 and 2.

You can play an MP3 on your Mac with Music Man, from anywhere on your computer, from a CD, DVD or an USB device (thumb drive, external drive).




How to Rip MP3 on Mac

There are many utilities available to allow you to rip an Audio CD to mp3 on your Mac.

You can rip an Audio CD to MP3on your Mac with iTunes by doing the following:

  1. In iTunes preferences, choose the format you want to import to and click "OK" (Choose MP3).
    "iTunes > Preferences > General > Import Settings > Import Using MP3"

  2. Insert the Audio CD into your disk drive.

  3. If the "Do you want to Import to your iTunes Library" dialog pops up, choose "Yes". The CD will be ripped to MP3.

    If the dialog does not pop up, go to the "Import" menu item
    "iTunes > File > Import"
    Navigate to the Audio CD to track you want to rip and click "Choose"

You can rip an Audio CD to MP3 on your Mac with Audacity by doing the following:

  1. In Audacity, open the mp3 file.
    "Audacity > File > Open" and navigate to the file/files you want to rip

  2. Navigate to the track/tracks you want to rip, select them and click "Save". The files with be ripped to AIFF.

  3. Once the files are on your hard drive, use the "Convert to MP3" instructions below to convert them to MP3.

You can rip and Audio CD or a selection of tracks to MP3 on your Mac with Music Man




How to burn an MP3 CD on Mac

You can burn music on to CD or DVD to listen to in your car, on your stereo, on your portable music player or to play at a wedding reception in a number of different formats.

  • Stress Saving Tip: If you're going to play your MP3 CD (or WMA CD, etc.) on other hardware, especially if you are responsible for bringing all the music to your brother's wedding or some other important occasion, READ THIS CAREFULLY.

    Not all CD players will play MP3 CD, especially the older ones. In addition, not all CD players will play CD-Rs or CD-RWs. That's because although they all look the same to you, they're not all the same to the hardware. Make a test CD-R or CD-RW with just a few songs on it, and get it to play on the target hardware to verify it will play BEFORE ALL THE GUESTS ARRIVE. Once you've got it working, then continue with your project.

    (I've been to a wedding reception where the MP3 CDs were NOT TESTED at the hall before the reception began, and the DJ ended up playing the one CD that would play all night long. Don't let this happen to you. 8-) )


You can burn an MP3 CD in iTunes by doing the following:

  1. In iTunes preferences, choose the format you want to burn to and click "OK" (Choose MP3).
    "iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > Burning > Disk Format MP3 CD"
  2. Create or find a playlist of the mp3s you want to burn to CD. Put them in the order you want them to burn
  3. From the "File" menu, choose "Burn Playlist to disc"
    "iTunes > File > Burn Playlist to disc"

Audacity does not support burning MP3 CDs.

You can MP3 CD or MP3 DVD on your Mac with Music Man




How to Convert an MP3 on Mac

There are many MP3 converter utilities on Mac that will allow you to convert audio files FROM mp3 to other formats. Here are just a few of them. For more software, see the links at the bottom of this page.

You can convert an mp3 TO (AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless or WAV) on your Mac with iTunes by doing the following:

  1. Set the Preference for which format music will be converted to.
    In iTunes preferences, choose the format you want to convert to and click "OK" (Choose from AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless or WAV).
    "iTunes > Preferences > General > Importing Setting > Import Using ..."
  2. Find and highlight the track you want to convert in your iTunes library.
    If the track is not already in your iTunes library, you'll have to add it before you can play it. To add it, go to "iTunes > File Menu > Add to Library" and then navigate to where the track is on your computer. Click the "Choose" button to add it to your library.
  3. From the "Advanced" menu, choose "Create [format] version"
    "iTunes > Advanced > Create [format] version "

You can convert an MP3 TO (Ogg or WAV) on your Mac with Audacity by doing the following:

  1. In Audacity, open the mp3 file.
    "Audacity > File > Open"
  2. From the file menu, choose the format you want to export to and click "Save" (Ogg or WAV).

You can convert an MP3 to another format with Music Man (AAC, M4A, M4B, Ogg, WAV, Audio CD-AIFF or WMA)




How to Convert TO mp3 on Mac

There are many MP3 converter utilities on Mac that will allow you to convert audio files TO mp3. Here are just a few of them. For more software, see the links at the bottom of this page.

You can convert an audio file (AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless or WAV) TO mp3 on your Mac with iTunes by doing the following:

  1. Set the Preference for which format music will be converted to.
    Choose iTunes > Preferences, click Advanced, and then click Importing. Choose the format you want to convert to (MP3) and click "OK"
    "iTunes > Preferences > General > Importing Setting > Import Using ..." .
  2. In your iTunes library, Find and highlight the MP3(s) you want to convert.

    To convert all the songs in a folder or on a disk, hold down the Option key and choose Advanced > "Convert Selection to MP3," and then choose the folder or disk containing the songs you want to convert.

    To convert just one song, highlight it and then choose Advanced > "Convert Selection to MP3"

You can convert an audio file to MP3 on your Mac with Audacity by doing the following:

  1. You'll need the MP3 codec to convert a track to MP3. For more information on how to download and install it, go to the Source Forge site
  2. In Audacity, open the track.
    "Audacity > File > Open"
  3. From the file menu, choose the "Export to MP3" option and click "Save".

You can convert an audio file (Audio CD, AIFF, AAC, M4A, M4B, Midi, MID, KAR, Ogg, WAV or WMA) to MP3 on your Mac with Music Man




MP3 for Mac Resources


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