Converting m4a music file

m4a is a new format for me. This link says it’s a Apple Lossless Audio File

Based on the file size, I’m skeptical that m4a is lossless. These songs are only 4 meg. A lossless flac song is typically 15 to 20 meg.

If it’s really lossless, can I convert it to flac without losing quality?

Can I convert m4a and use a high bit rate mp3? I typically convert flac to mp3 for my mp3 player.

I use muvaudio to convert files to other formats. When I was ripping all of my CDs, I forgot to change the format and some ripped to m4a. I switched them over to mp3 at 320. As for losing quality? I have no idea, I didn’t notice any but I’m not particularly fussy about that (and most who are, wouldn’t touch mp3 format anyways).

that’s true. I use my mp3 player because it fits in my pocket and is convenient. I don’t expect hi fidelity.

I have dbpoweramp and the converter that comes with it. I’ll check and see if it handles m4a.

You can convert it right in iTunes - just right-click and select “create mp3”.

Don’t think m4a is a lossless format - I understood it was basically just Apple’s protected version of an mp3.

An MP4 is just a container format. It can contain any number of codecs, MPEG-1 Layer 3 (aka MP3) is just one of them.

You really need to somehow see what codec is being used to know how well it can convert, but it will convert to any lossless format (like FLAC) or a really high quality lossy format (like MP3 360K) without any noticeable loss in quality.

You can convert anything to FLAC without losing quality. However, you cannot convert from one lossy format to another without degradation. Honestly, I wouldn’t bother transcoding, especially not without checking the bitrate of the source file.

It was AAC 130 kbps.

I downloaded a codec for dbpoweramp and got the files converted to mp3.

Just for fun, I converted one m4a song to flac. File size jumped from 5.6 Meg to 33.8 Meg. I don’t think it’s worth doing the whole folder.

Why would you? I can think of zero upsides to coding into FLAC. You lose flexibility (not many players support FLAC) and hard drive space for the exact same audio quality.

M4A is just another suffix for AAC; it’s certainly not a lossless format. AAC is similar to MP3, but it’s a newer format and offers higher sound quality at the same file size. Thus, if you’ve already got a song in M4A format, you can only lose quality by converting to MP3.

Apple reckons that a 256-bit M4A is about the same sound quality as a 320-bit MP3, and I haven’t heard any contradiction of this.

Most modern music players support AAC, so there’s really no good reason not to use it.