Convert Audio to M4A in Mac OS X Lion

Convert Audio to M4A in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

One of the many understated features in Mac OS X Lion is the ability to natively convert audio to m4a directly in OS X Lion’s Finder – without any additional downloads or add-ons. Yes, an MPEG audio encoder is built directly into Mac OS X 10.7, meaning you can convert audio directly on your desktop without using any other apps, and it’s really fast too.

How to Convert Audio to M4A with Mac OS X Lion’s Built-In Encoder

OS X Lion’s audio encoder is confirmed to support AIFF, AIFC, Sd2f, CAFF, and WAV files, but other formats are likely supported for m4a conversion as well. Here’s how to use it:

Convert Audio to M4A in Mac OS X Lion

  • Locate the source audio file(s) that you want to convert
  • Right-click on the audio input file and choose “Encode Selected Audio Files”
  • Select the Encoder Quality you wish to use, the menu translates as follows:
    • High-Quality is 128 kbps
    • iTunes Plus is 256 kbps
    • Apple Lossless is lossless
    • Spoken Podcast is 64 kbps
  • Specify the Destination, otherwise it will default to the same location as the source file
  • Click on “Continue” to start the conversion
The audio encoder is very fast and within just a few seconds you will have an m4a file ready to import into iTunes or elsewhere. You can also batch process a group of audio files to convert them to m4a using this tool, just select a group of files instead of one.

The same encoder in Mac OS X Lion also includes the ability to encode and convert video files directly in the Finder too, making this utility even more powerful. By selecting a movie file, you can also choose to strip the video and directly encode the audio track, which is another nice touch.

Posted by: William Pearson

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