iTunes - M4a

  hawthorn59 02:29 27 Nov 2006

I recently backed up my mp3 files to a cdr as i was changing my laptop. At least i thought they were mp3 files! As I add them to the library now i see they are M4a files. My questions:

1 If I burn a regular cd now will they play in the usual cd players, car, mp3 player etc?

2 If not do I have to convert them?

3 When I burned them in from my cds were they automatically burned as m4a and can I change the default to burn then in as mp3?

4 And if i can, should I ? I have read that m4a is a lot better, but does that mean that a whole new generation of portable players will be released, to play m4a files?



  dogbreath1 08:03 27 Nov 2006

Converting m4a to mp3 is easy and free but will result in a quality loss (although each individual will notice this to greater or lesser degree). Personally, I think it sounds fine.

Use dBpowerAMP to do the conversion.

dBpowerAMP is available free in an older version click here

The m4a codec (not preinstalled) is available free from click here

  hawthorn59 20:18 27 Nov 2006

Thanks for reply. Sorry but there are still some things I dont understand. I dont necessarily want to convert back, but do M4a files burn to cd and therefore will they play as mp3 files used to?

Also I doubt if i would hear the difference, so would probably be happy to remain with mp3 files, but will iTunes automatically convert everything to m4a?

When you say the m4a codec is available, why would I want it? What is a codec, even? (Sorry!) Would this make WMP play the files?

Thnx again


  dogbreath1 07:24 28 Nov 2006

All file formats will burn to CD.

.m4a is just another format. All audio formats are encoded and can be played on any music player software (WMP, foobar2000, Winamp etc.)provided that you install the codec for that particular file format.

Most players are downloaded pre-installed with the .mp3 codec (a codec being a small program which can 'encode' a media file and then 'decode' it. It is usually though not always associated with a certain amount of compression to reduce the file size) but not all with the .m4a codec. The iTunes suite does have the .m4a codec as standard as you would expect (since .m4a, iPod, Quicktime and iTunes are all Apple products).

I assume that your iTunes downloads are all .m4a files (if they are .m4p copy protected files, it becomes another matter) and as such you will need to convert these to .mp3 files to play them on an .mp3 player (although .m4a's will play on an iPod).

To play the files on car and home stereos which don't support .mp3's (though many do), you will need to burn the files to CD as audio files. iTunes will achieve this for you. This also gives you an opportunity to 'rip' these created audio CD's to extract the files in any format you chose using dBpowerAMP as referred to in my first post. To rip in the first instance, FreeRip does what it says on the tin and is very easy to use. click here Download it from my source...some others are dodgy.

  hawthorn59 03:59 29 Nov 2006

Thank you!

Very thorough answer! I have some WMA files I ripped from cds when I was using WMP. Im now using itunes so they wont play in it.

I burned a lot of music files to cdr (backed up) from itunes. There were 2 cdrs at different times. The most recent one, thats the one I discovered were m4a files, but the older one has the files I burned in mp3 format.

I notice I can rip tracks as mp3 or Im assuming that either will burn to cds if i ever need to do that. But will m4a files play in mp3 players....I guess not...?


  dogbreath1 07:35 29 Nov 2006

Yup, .m4a files will not play in non-iTunes .mp3 players.

As a rule, change format as little as possible coz there is often a significant quality loss associated with each format change.

This is particularly the case when converting .wma to WILL be able to discern the poor quality result.

My preferred method of ripping is to use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to create .mp3's in VBR quality. The sonic result is very good and the file size not over large.

Alternatively, rip and archive as .wav files...these being top quality but often 4 times bigger than the corresponding .mp3 ripped at 320kbps.

Main thing though...enjoy your music! ;-)

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Honor 9 Lite review

How Sam Falconer transforms science and geology into digestible, elegant illustrations

HomePod review

Les meilleures séries Netflix (2018)