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How to Make MP3 files

How to make mp3s in iTunes:

please note: these instructions are precise for iTunes 9 on a Mac.

The location of IMPORT SETTINGS submenu in step 3 below may be in a slightly different location in older and/or PC versions of the program but you should be able to find it and continue with the instructions from there.

iTunes is probably the most popular way to play and manage one’s music these days. It is generally simple and intuitive to use but there are some specifics that people are often unaware of that may help you improve how your music sounds when you play it back and how it sounds to others if you make your own music and post it on the web.

The main focus of this article is to help people make MP3s from their own CD quality music using iTunes

1) Open iTunes.

2) At top of screen, go to iTunes menu and then PREFERENCES

3) From within PREFERENCES, go to GENERAL tab and select IMPORT SETTINGS


5) From within MP3 ENCODER, select your preferred SETTING (directly below where it says Import Using)

Notes: The higher the number the better the quality, but also the larger the file). If you are posting your music to a site like soundcloud, reverbnation, etc. you may have to experiment to see how big a file it creates at different settings because some sites or email servers have limits on the file size. Size will also effect how many songs will fit on your iPod so you will have to balance quantity and quality in your own mind. I am very sensitive to sound quality issues so I choose quality and don’t like to listen to MP3s encoded lower than 256 Kbps. To set higher than 192 Kbps, you must choose custom€ from settings box. There are lots of other settings choices that may come up depending on what you choose at this point. Without making this more complicated, I will give my recommendations and you can explore the subtleties if you care on your own.  Do not mark the boxes for “Use Variable Bit Rate Encoding,” “Smart Encoding Adjustments,” or “Filter frequencies below 10Khz.”  Sample Rate€ select AUTO, for Channels select AUTO, and for Stereo Mode select JOINT STEREO.

You won’t have to reset all this every time and most of these choices are fine. These are just my preferences.

Once you have set iTunes to import using MP3 encoder etc. (steps 1-5) you can

6) close the general preferences window by clicking OK and then close the full preferences menu by again clicking OK.

7) Now if you select a song in your iTunes library (just click once so the song title is highlighted), then go the FILE menu at top of screen and you will see a choice to “create new version.”  When select “create new version,” Itunes will expand to show the option to “cretae MP3 version.”


You will see iTunes working for a few seconds as it says “Converting…your song title”.

So, WHERE the heck is that MP3 file now?  iTunes will create an MP3 file of that song and place it your iTunes music folder. On a Mac go to Music/ iTunes/iTunes Music (Unless you’ve changed the location of this folder yourself from within your iTunes Preferences – in which case you probably know where it is anyway), your iTunes music folder should be in mymusic/iTunes/iTunesmusic.

In there you will find folders organized by artist, album, etc.  Please note: if you are creating an MP3 of your own recording or any other untagged and ripped CD (if it just shows up on your computer as “track 1”, “track 2”, etc., your song will likely show up in a folder called UNKNOWN ARTIST and a sub-folder called UNKNOWN ALBUM.  Lastly, you can rename and “tag”€ your song if need be.

One more thing to complete this lesson: There are a few other options available when you go to your iTunes preferences and select ”import using…encoder” (steps 4-5 above). Whatever file type you pick there is the file type that will appear in the “Create new xxx version” option (step 7 above). So, if you had selected “import using wav encoder” in steps 4-5, you would now have the option to ”create a wav version”€ instead of an MP3 version in step 7.