Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Free M4a to MP3 Converter

CNET Editors' review

M4A is the file extension for MPEG-4 Audio, the audio part of your MPEG-4 videos. Apple has used the M4a (small "a") designation for several of the low-loss audio formats it's sold for years at the iTunes Store. To add to the confusion, some have digital rights management encryption, and some don't. To make a long story short, compatibility is the issue, especially for people with large MP3 collections. Maniac Tools' Free M4a to MP3 Converter does what its name indicates: it converts M4a, AAC, 3GP, and MP4 Audio files to MP3s (or WAVs) that are compatible with most media players and portables. While we're on the subject of compatibility, we should point out that Free M4A to MP3 Converter doesn't convert or play M4B files used by audiobooks.

Free M4a to MP3 Converter's simple user interface is easy to understand. It has a two-tiered toolbar, but only the top row contains buttons that activate Free M4a to MP3 Converter's features, the Add, Remove, Play, and Convert buttons. The bottom row links to other Manic utilities functionally related to Free M4a to MP3 Converter, such as ID3 Tag Editor, MP3 Splitter/Joiner, and Movienizer. We didn't try these downloads. But the M4a tool proved easy to use and capable. We changed the destination from Explorer's Music folder to our own destination; we could also specify whether we wanted the tool to save converted files in the destination folder or somewhere else. Under Output Formats, clicking the Setup button opened a simple tool for setting MP3 audio quality and some general preferences. While all this was really pretty easy, there's a good Help file. A Notifications Area on the program's menu bar popped up with notice of more of the developer's tools.

When we'd set Free M4a to MP3 Converter's options, we merely had to add our files, select the output format, and press Convert. Many a music collection contains some orphan files awaiting conversion, and we found a few without too much trouble. The converted MP3s played normally and sounded great, too, in our usual media player, though Free M4a to MP3 Converter plays files, too.

Free M4a to MP3 Converter - Convert files in M4a/AAC format to MP3 - Download Video Previews:

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.2 stars

    out of 129 votes

    • 5 star: 86
    • 4 star: 19
    • 3 star: 7
    • 2 star: 3
    • 1 star: 14
  • Current version:

    4.5 stars

    out of 20 votes

    • 5 star: 14
    • 4 star: 4
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 1
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 20

  • 4.0 stars

    "Slow but works"

    November 24, 2012  |   By amyiw

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Works, is free, and essentially ad free.

    Cons

    It is a bit slow

    Summary

    Haven't used it a lot, just on a few m4a files so cannot rave or rant much but it was easy, I didn't have to install Ask toolbar or any junk, and it converted the files which worked well with my mp3 player afterwards. It did take a long time to convert. I had a 14 hour m4a and it took about 15 minutes to convert. My computer is a dual core 3.40 Ghz with 4GB ram. Just so you have an idea of what it was being converted with.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "PUP.Adware.Agent"

    November 18, 2012  |   By djmixxx1970

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Works Very Well Until your DONE Converting and go to your browser to find its been hijacked with ASK.COM and a downloader manager that after looking up is in the agrement that nobody ever reads,

    Cons

    PUP.Adware.Agent is what malware malbytes found on system after running

    Summary

    gave it a 1 cause there was no neg 0 , SPYWARE BE WARNED !!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Did what it said it would do--and it's free!"

    November 18, 2012  |   By Doug Hazlewood

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Worked great so far (only did some new .m4a files.

    Cons

    None so far

    Summary

    I needed some free software to convert .m4a audio files someone had sent me. The converter I have used for years says it will, but would not even recognize them. It has served me well on other files.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Works as they say it does."

    November 5, 2012  |   By BigAl35540

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Can convert MP4a files, (which includes VARIABLE BIT RATES), to your choice of multiple steady state stream speeds in MP3. Transfers the album art and titling (in it's original format ITunes or everyone else!).

    Cons

    You cannot drop a FOLDER containing an entire album of songs, but have to SELECT ALL and copy the songs into the converter...clumsy! Not real fond of the interface initially, takes some getting used to. Puts the output folder in Music Library by default and can cause you to "double up" music if you add files to your library with a media player.

    Summary

    Being a person who despises the proprietary nature of any Apple product, MP4a is just another method of forcing you to deal with overpriced Apple products! Unfortunately LOTS of equipment DOES NOT support MP4a. MP4 was originally designed as a VIDEO PROTOCOL. Thus, most older MP3 players and car stereos that can play MP3 music don't support MP4a. This was the problem I ran into. I tried to put newly acquirred music onto a flash drive and play it on the car stereo. The files weren't even there! Winamp on the other hand does play these MP4a files fine and actually displays the album art from ITunes too, (which is also proprietary). So to get them on my JVC/Kenwood car stereo, they had to be converted.

    First thing you need to do is to look at where these files are going to be output to. I will describe how the interface appears in Microsoft Windows 7. That is done on the lower portion of the interface, SPECIFY FOLDER. You then can change where that goes. I usually browse to the USB stick and to the actual folder you are going to replace the songs in. After you have done this, make sure that the MP4a music in that original folder is deleted otherwise you will have two copies of each song Mp3 & MP4a! That's just a waste of space as the device that doesn't support MP4a can't see those files but a device that does will now see two copies of each song and that can literally drive you crazy in a player like Winamp! The SETUP button on the lower right allows you to output either MP3 or WAV and allows you to change the output stream rate. MP4a appears to be variable upon content bit rate and when at maximum resolution is very close to CD in quality. The converter is default at a 128 Kbps setting and this does reduce the resolution of the audio file from the original to the trained ear, so use 256 or 320 Kbps on the output file. If you can't hear the difference don't bother, the size of the 128 Kbps file is smaller and uses less space. Picky audiofiles like myself though will gladly sacrifice file size for audio resolution. The conversion will transfer the album art in the original protocol it was on there, the totally proprietary ITunes format or the standard Windows Media Player protocol, so if the player does not display anything but the ITunes format like my JVC/Kenwood car stereo does it will not display art on music purchased off of anything but ITunes, but when the converted to MP3 file plays, it displays. Same holds true for anything designed for Windows Media Player, that art will display in it's original format. All song titles imbedded in the music also sucessfully transfer.

    You will notice buttons up in the top part of the interface. THESE ARE NOT AVAILABLE ON THE FREE VERSION!!! They send you to a website to purchase them. Some of these are handy like the ID/Tag Editor which allows you to edit the EMBEDDED artist/album/song information. This is handy when you have a media player such as Winamp that sorts it's library by the embedded information but ignores completely a folder name you may have designated for it. Avoids that UNKNOWN ALBUM problem when the library is sorted. Frequently, that folder is a jumbled mess and things are quite lost inside it! This would allow you to edit those tags so that a program like Winamp would sort it correctly.

    I basically use this when the odd album I acquire is encoded in MP4a and I want to put it in the car stereo music collection. This free version does that nicely. Those still running Window XP and trying to play music on the Windows Media Player may find this converter handy because the player in that program may not support the MP4a format. So this is a nice tool to have for the music collector who now plays their music entirely from a computer or MP3 player. I would reccommend this to a friend.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Easy to use & fast"

    November 4, 2012  |   By 1chele1

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Very simple to use program, and does bulk jobs, so that saves a lot of time. I tried another program first, and it would only allow me to add one file at a time.

    Cons

    None that I noticed

    Summary

    I like easy, cut-to-the-chase programs. They don't have to do fifteen things; just do one thing well and quickly. This program fits the bill.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Simple and Powerful"

    October 29, 2012  |   By mmarino77

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    This program is focused on a task and it does it really well. I was converting my M4A files to MP3 within minutes of downloading it.

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

    Summary

    A very easy to use yet powerful program for converting M4A to MP3.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Amazing Piece of software"

    October 27, 2012  |   By Itsausjjmsc

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Did everything I could have hoped and dreamed .. no hidden "stuff". I was blown away when it didn't ask me to upgrade for some price to get more than a number of songs done!! Well done!

    Cons

    None that I could find

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Does everything I expected of it."

    September 30, 2012  |   By Palebushman

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Nice simple UI, that's always a winner with me.
    If there is anything missing from the conversions, it's not audible
    to me.

    Cons

    It took me so long to discover this awesome piece of software!

    Summary

    Without being patronising, CNET really does host some of the finest free software available.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Works great!"

    September 20, 2012  |   By RubbrChickin

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Does what it needs to do.
    Converts iTunes MP4 to MP3 with ease.

    Cons

    Will partially convert all files if you cancel.

    Summary

    I downloaded because my new phone doesnt support the MP4 format. After losing my iPod, I needed something to substitute. Enter MP3 Converter. I was able to easily covert all of my iTunes MP4s into MP3s that I can use on just about everything. All I needed to do was copy all of my iTunes music into a separate folder, go into the converter, select all of the songs, hit convert and sit back while it works.

    It is a little picky though. I remember I didnt have the destination path set right so I cancelled the convert. Needless to say, it partially converted all of them then stuck them into a folder as fragments. When I tried to use on my phone, didnt work. After another go with my destination folder set right, it worked with ease.

    For free its hard to beat. Just be sure that when going through setup to uncheck both Ask Toolbar boxes. They like to sneak those into everything that is free.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Worked great"

    September 18, 2012  |   By bspbuco

    Version: Free M4a to MP3 Converter 7.1

    Pros

    Did exactly what I wanted, without hidden pitfalls like signing me up for some new search engine - without making such things blatant.

    Cons

    Nothing negative

    Summary

    For free, this is a terrific conversion program!!!!! (5 Stars)

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Results 1-10 of 20

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Free M4a to MP3 Converter