Sometimes, you need to convert a music file into another audio format for compatibility reasons. You might find, for example, that the new portable device you've just purchased cannot play your favorite tracks. This might be because they are encoded in a less popular format and therefore one that your device doesn't support. Another reason you might want to convert to a different format is that you've stored your original music library in a lossless format. Audio files are often large and not well suited to store on portable devices such as smartphones.
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So, in this case, you'll want to convert to a lossy format like MP3 before syncing. This guide lists some of the best free software for converting between audio formats. All have been selected due to their good audio format support and ease of use—not to mention the price tag (free!). Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc. Free: AC Audio Converter is a full-featured tool for converting music files to several formats. You can batch-convert audio files by adding them to a job list and then selecting an encoder to convert.
Currently, the program supports MP3, AAC, MP4/M4A, FLAC,, and Bonk formats. If you need to rip a CD, this free tool is ideal because it can convert your music to one of the above formats.
It's also smart enough to add automatically via CDDB. If you’re looking for a combined CD ripper and file-format converter, then this might be the only tool you'll need. Free MP3 WMA Converter has a user-friendly interface and excellent audio format support. It can handle MP3, WMA, OGG, APE, FLAC, MPC, and WAV. Once you have added all your files to the program's batch list, it's relatively straightforward to pick an output format via a drop-down menu. As a bonus, there’s also a built-in tag editor that you can use to edit basic ID3 information.