How to Convert CDA to MP3 Free

By Jason Artman

The MP3 file format has revolutionized the music industry, making it possible for music collectors to store thousands of songs on their computers. Thanks to inexpensive personal audio players such as the iPod, all those songs can even travel with you, entertaining you wherever you go. Converting CD audio (CDA) to the MP3 format can be done in just a few minutes.

Converting with iTunes

Step 1

Launch iTunes. Click "Edit," then "Preferences." In the window that appears, ensure that the setting next to "When you insert a CD" says "Ask to Import CD."

Step 2

Click on the "Import Settings" button.

Step 3

Click on the drop-down menu next to "Import Using" and change the setting to "MP3 Encoder."

Step 4

Click on the drop-down menu next to "Setting" and choose a quality level. The higher the level, the more hard drive space the resulting MP3 files will consume. A 45-minute CD requires about 43 MB of space using the 128 kbps quality setting or 64 MB at 192 kbps.

Step 5

Click the check box labeled "Use error correction when reading Audio CDs" if any of the discs you want to import have light scratches. This setting might cause CD audio to import more slowly, but it can help correct problems resulting from scratched discs. Click "OK" and close the Preferences window.

Step 6

Insert a CD into your computer. A prompt window will ask whether you want to import the CD into your iTunes library. Click "Yes." ITunes will read the CD and convert the data to MP3 files. To select individual tracks, click "No" in the popup window and uncheck the files you don't want to convert. Click the "Import CD" button to convert the checkmarked files.

Converting with Windows Media Player

Step 1

Launch Windows Media Player. In the Tools menu, select "Options" and go to the Rip Music tab.

Step 2

Click on the drop-down Format menu and select "MP3." Make sure "Rip CD automatically" is unchecked.

Step 3

Choose a quality level by adjusting the Audio Quality slider. Lower quality is to the left, and higher quality is to the right.

Step 4

Insert a CD into your computer. A track listing will appear automatically. Click on "Rip CD" to copy and convert all the tracks into the MP3 format. To rip individual tracks, uncheck the ones you don't want to copy before clicking on "Rip CD."

Tips & Warnings

  • Generally, 192 kbps is the highest quality that you should consider using when you convert your audio CDs; it is difficult to hear the improvements that higher quality levels provide without top-quality audio equipment.
  • Avoid using quality levels under 128 kbps unless you are attempting to fit a very long recording into a small amount of storage space. At very low quality levels, MP3 files can be quite unpleasant to listen to.