Audio File conversion
February 10, 2018 7:01 AM   Subscribe

I downloaded a few voice text messages from my phone and the file is just called "file." I can play the files in VLC Media player but nothing else will play them. I want to convert them to .avi or mp3 so I can use them for project. I even tried Trader's Little Helper and that software couldn't do it. Any ideas?
posted by zzazazz to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
 
The file doesn't have a suffix? It's possible nothing else will play them because softweare can sometimes be dumb. Usually the answer for this sort of question is Audacity. It doesn't have a "save as" type of feature per se, but it definitely has an Export feature which should do what you want.
posted by jessamyn at 7:12 AM on February 10, 2018


I tired Audacity and it couldn't play the files either. Just white noise.
posted by zzazazz at 7:15 AM on February 10, 2018


VLC has a convert/save function (under the Media menu.) Doesn't always seem to work, but worth a shot.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:28 AM on February 10, 2018


If the voicemails are in AAC format from an iOS phone and you're using Audacity on Windows, you'll need to install the FFMPEG libraries before Audacity can open the file.
posted by bluecore at 7:37 AM on February 10, 2018


Can you open the file with a hex editor and post the first few bytes of the file? That should help determine what file type it is.
posted by dilaudid at 7:39 AM on February 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Do you have a Mac? You can run the "file" command on them in the Terminal. Or MeMail me the file and I can do it for you, or post it here.
posted by wnissen at 7:59 AM on February 10, 2018


I am using an Galaxy S7 and I use Windows 10.
posted by zzazazz at 8:00 AM on February 10, 2018


Who is your carrier? My carrier (T-mobile) has a web interface to voicemail that lets you download them directly as mp3.
Might be easier than trying to figure out what this file format is.

(Edit: if "voice text messages" are something different from voicemails, then maybe nevermind)
posted by jozxyqk at 8:05 AM on February 10, 2018


These are different than voice mails. This is audio sent via a text message.
posted by zzazazz at 8:10 AM on February 10, 2018


jessamyn is on the right track that your programs probably don't know what format to read without a filename.

since it's playing in VLC, open it back up and select 'Codec Information' from the Tools menu (or use the keyboard shortcut 'Control-J'). you'll get a screen like this that will tell you what format the audio is in.

Rename it as appropriate (probably .mp3 or .wav) and you should be good to go to open it in audacity.
posted by noloveforned at 8:18 AM on February 10, 2018 [3 favorites]


These might be AMR/3GP files. VLC has a metadata function that says what files are. My android does AMR as a default.

They could also be GSM-coded WAV. So many voice message formats!
posted by scruss at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2018


Thanks, this is some good information. I will try again tonight after I get home from work.
posted by zzazazz at 8:23 AM on February 10, 2018


The first thing I do in this situation is add ".mp3" to the end and see if it will play. But if by default you aren't seeing .mp3, .jpg, .doc, etc. on other files, then you need to go into your folder settings and change it to showing file extensions. (In Windows 7, it's literally just the settings when you have a folder open, not sure where it is in Windows 10, but you can google "show file extensions windows 10" or something.) Once that is set, then I'd just change the filename to have .mp3 or .wav at the end and see if it works.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:07 AM on February 10, 2018


On mac you just 2-finger click on a file (on pc I believe it's right-click) and select 'get info' which, among other things like file size, tells you what kind of file it is, then you can rename it with the extension. (I hate extensionless file names :[
posted by sexyrobot at 2:14 PM on February 10, 2018


The converter option in VLC worked.
posted by zzazazz at 11:38 AM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


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