Getting AACs in bulk to become MP3s to better be played with SDs.
February 24, 2012 3:21 PM   Subscribe

What's the best - and ideally free - way to get a LOT of AAC's onto a memory card that will play in my car?

So I have a new VW and one of the cool things that comes with the car is an SD slot that plays music. Unfortunately, as part of the cult of Jobs, I stopped buying anything except iTunes a long time back. And after testing it out, I see the SD reader is playing the Mp3's and skipping the AACs.

The question is what now?

I know I can do one song at a time with the MP3 encoder in iTunes. But that's not really helpful for my purposes. It'll play an 8 gig card and I'd rather not make 8gigs of song re-encodes one song at a time. So what's the best (and ideally free) way to do this in a batch and keep all the metadata that goes with it so it'll show up in the listings when it plays in my car?
posted by rileyray3000 to Technology (9 answers total)
Right click any AAC and choose "Create MP3 Version".
posted by humboldt32 at 3:37 PM on February 24, 2012

Sorry, I see that's not the answer you were looking for.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:39 PM on February 24, 2012

Select more than one song at a time (using ctrl or shift), right click, and "create mp3 version" of all of them at once. There's no reason to do one at a time.
posted by The World Famous at 3:40 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can select a group of songs by using the shift-click or command-click and then "create MP3 version" to batch process them all. 8 gigs isn't really that much.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:42 PM on February 24, 2012

If you find you can't do what you want with iTunes, you may want to look at WinFF. It is a Windows interface for ffmpeg, which will convert most anything to most anything.

WinFF is free, and can certainly process files in bulk. I'm not sure about your metadata requirement though. It should be able to do that, but might need some digging around to figure out if it doesn't happen by default.

I personally don't buy much from iTunes, so I'm more often converting videos to a format that an iThing can play, rather than going in the reverse direction.
posted by philipy at 4:14 PM on February 24, 2012

If some of your songs are older back when Apple put DRM on its audio files, you own't be able to play them on a non-Apple device like a car or convert them easily to MP3.

If you right click (control or command click) on the list view at the top of the list in the column label section, you can add "Kind" to the column view. If a song has a "Protected AAC" you can't play or convert easily. If a song has "Purchased AAC" as the kind, these can be easily converted. MP3s have "MPEG Audio File" as the type. You can set up Smart Playlists in iTunes to help you figure out what is what.

Back when Apple stopped with DRM they had an offer for letting you convert your DRM'd AAC files at a lower bit rate to the higher bitrate non-DRM'd version. The problem was it was all of nothing and in my case I had a bunch of iTunes samplers and free songs of the week that it wanted to count in the songs that it would update at something like a quarter a song.

I haven't tried to strip DRM from iTunes in a long time but the old way was to onerously burn the songs to a CD and then rip those songs into an MP3. Time consuming if you have a lot of songs to convert. There might be other methods to this out here now, but my Jetta has an iPhone port and so I leave my AACs as AACs and can do Pandora ands surf.

But your non-DRMed files should easily convert as a batch in iTunes.
posted by birdherder at 5:21 PM on February 24, 2012

XLD is named as a lossless encoder, but can transcode AAC to MP3 (using LAME) at whatever rate you set. You can batch feed it folders or whatever and set the output directory as you like. It's multi-threaded so will make short work of a batch task if you have processor cycles available.

You should note though that transcoding one lossy format (AAC) to another ALWAYS degrades the quality, so a complaint to VW is in order to encourage them to update the firmware. AAC was declared an MPEG Standard in 1997, so they really need to get with the times. You could argue that the frustration caused by the drop in quality is dangerous whilst driving!
posted by dirm at 5:27 PM on February 24, 2012

dirm: I almost suggested XLD earlier - but I'm pretty sure it only opens "AAC" files that are really Apple Lossless.
posted by Pinback at 7:41 PM on February 24, 2012

Pinback: Oops, you're right - well caught, and thanks for the correction. Strange though that it will encode mp3 to other lossy formats without warning :/ In that case Max is probably worth a look.
posted by dirm at 4:51 AM on February 25, 2012

« Older Should I get multiple domains for my website?   |   How to stay calm & cool on a date? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.