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Occasionally, you may need to convert an audio file from one format to another. For example, if you ripped an uncompressed AIFF version of a song from a CD, that file is probably too large to send attached to an email to a friend. So you may want to convert it to an AAC or MP3 file. We saw at the beginning of this chapter that you can go to iTunes > Preferences or Edit > Preference on Windows and under the General section, you can select the encoder you want to apply to the music you take off of your CDs by clicking Import Settings. These settings also apply to any individual tracks already in your library that you may want to convert.
Maybe for instance I'm in a band, and I want to submit one of my songs to a talent agency's web site. All of my songs are encoded as AACs and the website requires me to send MP3s. No problem. I just go into my preferences here and I can change my import setting to MP3. Now as a general rule, you should probably avoid converting an AAC into an MP3 or vice versa, if you want to maintain the highest sound fidelity. When you compress an already compressed audio file, you're bound to lose a bit of quality.
Chances are you might not be able to tell the difference, but some people can. Your best bet is to convert an uncompressed file like an AIF or WAV file, or even rip the song off the original CD again if you have access to it. But for this example I am just going to convert an AAC file to an MP3. To do so, just select the song, right click on it, and choose Create MP3 Version. What this menu item actually says depends on what you have selected in your import settings. If I had selected the WAV encoder for example, this menu would say Create WAV Version.
In any case all I have to do is select my command, Create MP3 Version, and iTunes creates this MP3 version, which is now sitting right here in my library. Now I have two versions of the same song in a different format and I can't necessarily tell which is which from just looking at them in my library. Instead, I am going to right-click and choose Get Info, and under the Summary section I can say that okay, this one is an AAC audio file. If I click Next, this is the one that's the MPEG or MP3 file. And if I am going to email this to someone, I find it easiest to then right-click on the file, choose Show in Finder, or in Windows, Show in Windows Explorer, which reveals the file for me, and from here I can grab the file and drag it into my email application.
So that's how you can convert a single file or multiple files, if you select them all at once, into another format here and iTunes.
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