Best Free MP3 Tools For Converting Your Music Files

Solve incompatiblility problems by converting

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. 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!).

Main screen in Free:AC Audio Converter
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, Ogg Vorbis, 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 ID3 tag information 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.

Screenshot from Koyote converter

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. This could be useful if you need to change metadata before converting.

The installer comes with some potentially unwanted software, so be sure to uncheck/decline the various offers if you don't want this installed on your system.

Overall, Free MP3 WMA Converter is a great no-frills tool that does a great job of converting between popular audio formats.

Free MP3/WMA/OGG Converter
Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

If you just need a simple, easy-to-use audio file converter, Free MP3/WMA/OGG Converter fills the bill. Although the name suggests a limited number of supported formats, it actually works with quite a few, including MP3, WMA, OGG, AC, M4A, FLAC, and MP2. The interface takes you through a wizard in which you simply choose an output format using a drop-down menu. The program is ideal for basic audio format conversion.

Switch Audio File Converter
Mark Harris

Available as a free download for Macs and PCs, the free version of Switch Audio File Converter can convert among MP3, WMA, AC3, AIFF, AU, WAV, and VOX formats.

When you first install the program, you'll get a taste of what the full version (Switch Audio File Converter Plus) can do. After a while, this will revert to a free version (for non-commercial home use only) that doesn't expire.

The clean, simple interface makes converting files quick and easy. And it also comes with a basic player to listen to tracks. However, the free version doesn't support lossless formats like FLAC unless you upgrade. But, if all you want to do is convert to MP3 for example then it is still a useful tool.