Lots of WMAs to lots of MP3s
November 3, 2008 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I have thousands of WMA files I want converted to MP3. Is there a freeware program or a good inexpensive program that will batch convert the files while preserving the original bitrate and ID3 in the final MP3 file and also creating a directory structure such as artist\album? This is for Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
posted by KI6ILS to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Import into iTunes. It's free and does just that.
posted by sourwookie at 7:06 AM on November 3, 2008

Transcoding to MP3 will cause a significant quality loss. You'd be better off re-ripping all the original CDs to MP3 with iTunes (provided you don't want to invest the time in an intelligent ripping application like Exact Audio Copy).
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:09 AM on November 3, 2008

"while preserving the original bitrate"

It doesn't work that way. You're moving from one lossy format (you've already thrown out a bunch of data the MP3 engineers decided you can't hear) to another lossy format (where different engineers will throw out *different* data that they decided you can't hear). What you'll get is something with a too much data missing that will sound like crap.

I happen to like Musicbrainz' Picard for organizing music. It's not a transcoder, but I hope I convinced you that is a bad idea.
posted by cmiller at 7:27 AM on November 3, 2008

If you find that your original requirements were a bit too optimistic but want to give it a shot anyway, I've been pretty happy with a free program called Switch Convertor. If you're not a serious Audiophile and your source files are a decent bitrate you'll probably be happy with the resulting sound quality.
posted by jluce50 at 8:04 AM on November 3, 2008

er, Converter...
posted by jluce50 at 8:06 AM on November 3, 2008

Seconding iTunes as a converter, and cmiller for saying it's a bad idea. You will end up with a file that is significantly worse, even if you create mp3's with much higher bitrates. It's a photocopy of a photocopy.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:47 AM on November 3, 2008

Lossy format to lossy format is asking for trouble. I always thought this was hogwash the audiophile crowd bandied about, but it's true - even I can tell the difference. Thus, if possible, re-rip your collection at a high-bitrate MP3 file with iTunes.

As for the conversion, use iTunes 8. It will run on the operating systems you mentioned and offers speedy conversion of unprotected WMAs to MP3, WAV or Apple Lossless. Just point it as a folder and go.
posted by cgomez at 9:23 AM on November 3, 2008

If you want to minimize audio quality loss, you're going to want to transcode to a higher bitrate, not the same.

It's still not going to sound as good. I vote you re-rip the CDs or get MP3 versions from the same place you got the WMAs.

why did anyone think WMA was a good idea, anyway?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:26 AM on November 3, 2008

dbpoweramp will do just what you want.
posted by flutable at 2:19 AM on November 5, 2008

« Older Help me make sense of my AmazonS3 usage report!   |   I'm looking for the opposite of good white shirts... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.