Convert WAV Files Into MP3 with Audacity

Audacity is a free, open-source computer program that is available online for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. It allows users to easily record and edit sound files. Audacity also converts various audio files to MP3, but it needs a little assistance from the LAME encoder plugin to do so. You can use Audacity with LAME to convert audio files to MP3.


Installing Audacity and LAME

  1. Go to the Audacity home page. If you are a Windows user, click "Other Audacity Downloads for Windows".
    • If you are using Mac or Linux, click "All Audacity Downloads".
  2. Consider the available options on the download page. Read the descriptions before deciding which file is best for you.
  3. Download the most recent version available for your operating system. It is best to download the install file if you are trying to learn the ropes because it comes with all the help documents.
  4. Double click the install file in your downloads directory. Follow the directions for installation and be sure to install the file in the suggested location.
  5. Go to the LAME download page. Audacity cannot convert to MP3 on its own due to patent considerations, so it needs some help from this little plugin with the strange name.
  6. Download the "FFmpeg for Audacity" file which matches your operating system. You can find the files for Windows and Mac on the same page.
  7. Double Click the installer in your download directory. This will prompt the easy-to-follow installation instructions.
    • Again, make sure you install LAME in the suggested location. This is to ensure that Audacity can easily locate the encoder.

Converting to MP3

  1. Open Audacity. You may need to restart your system first if you are doing this right after installing both Audacity and LAME.
  2. Import your WAV file. Click the "File" menu, go to "Import" and select "Audio."
    • Browse for the WAV file you would like to convert. Click "Open" once you have located the file.
    • Wait a couple of seconds for your file to load. Once you see the sound waves appear in the editing window, your WAV is ready to convert.
  3. Export the WAV to MP3. Go back to the "File" menu and select "Export".
    • When the export window opens, Click "Save as type" from the drop-down menu and choose "MP3 Files."
    • Rename your file now if you like. Then click "Save".
  4. Enter any metadata you wish to add. You will find fields for song and album titles, file dates, artist names, and other notes you may like to associate with your file. This is used to help MP3 players and music programs display the information while the file is in a playlist. Metadata can also make your file easier to find in a search.
  5. Wait for the exporting process to finish. Once the green bar has reached 100%, you may test the MP3 file using your favorite media player.

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