Like any other audio file, podcasts can be converted to many types of formats, such as mp3. This can be done through different types of programs, such as iTunes, dbPowerAmp or online tools; just open the podcast with one of them, set the mp3 format as encoding and choose a quality option. However, unless you use a lossless codec (flac, alac, wav), the final audio quality will be greatly reduced when transcoding from one lossy codec (mp3, m4a, aac) to another.
Method 1 of 3: Using iTunes
Step 1. Open iTunes
If you don't have this program yet, download it here.
Step 2. Add the podcast to the library
Open the “File” menu in the menu bar and select the option “Add File to Library”; a new window will open for you to select the desired files.
Press the Ctrl+B keys on Windows to make the menu bar appear
Step 3. Open the “iTunes” menu and choose “Preferences”
A small window with several options will appear.
On Windows, enter “Edit” to find the “Preferences” menu
Step 4. Click on “Settings”
This option is next to “when inserting a CD” under the “General” tab.
Step 5. Select the “Import Using” drop-down menu and click on “MP3 Encoder”
The option is the first one that appears when opening “Settings”.
Step 6. Choose a quality setting, right under “Import Using”
Here, the user must select a bitrate (or bitrate) for the mp3 that will be encoded.
- The higher the bitrate, the higher the quality (and size) of the file.
- When encoding from a lossy (lossy data) source such as m4a or ogg, the quality will be worse even when choosing a higher bitrate. If possible, perform conversion from lossless sources (flac, alac, wav).
Step 7. Click “OK” in the lower right corner
Changes will be saved.
Step 8. Go to the Library and click on the dropdown menu in the upper left corner under the menu bar and choose “Music” or “Podcasts”, depending on where you added it
Step 9. Select the file you want to convert
Hold down the Ctrl key (Windows) or ⌘ Cmd key (Mac) while clicking to choose multiple audios at the same time.
Step 10. Open the “File” menu and select “Convert”
Another submenu will appear with more conversion options.
Step 11. Click on “Create MP3 Version”
A bar will appear at the top of the screen, indicating the transcoding progress; when finished, the copy of the selected file will be in the library and in the format you chose.
Method 2 of 3: Using dbPowerAmp
Step 1. Open the dbPowerAmp Music Converter app
This program, which works on both Windows and Mac OS, is well known for being used to convert audios and rip music CDs.
Download or buy it here. There is a 21-day free trial if you want to try it out first
Step 2. Choose a podcast file
The utility will open a window for the user to find the audio they want to convert; after choosing it, a menu with various conversion options will appear.
Hold Ctrl (Windows) or ⌘ Cmd (Mac) while selecting files to choose more than one
Step 3. From the “Converting To” drop-down menu, click on “mp3 (Lame)”
It is in the upper right corner of the window.
”Lame” is the name of the encoder that will be used
Step 4. Choose the encoding quality
Move the slider to the right if you want to increase the quality, or to the left to decrease it. Lower quality files sound worse, but the process is faster and they won't take up as much space.
You can also choose between bitrate settings such as VBR (“variable bitrate” or variable bitrate) and CBR (“constant bitrate” or constant bitrate). VBR encoding is more efficient and produces a smaller file, while CBR maintains higher quality throughout the recording
Step 5. Choose a location to save the converted podcast
Click a folder icon and define where on your computer you want to store it.
A copy of the podcast will be created in the defined folder, along with the new format. The file that served as the source will remain in the same location
Step 6. Choose the “Convert” option
A progress bar will appear to inform you of the percentage complete of encoding. Once it is completely filled, the “Done” button will be displayed. Click on it to close the window.
Method 3 of 3: Using an Online Converter
Step 1. Enter the Audio Converter website
Step 2. Click on “Open Files”
A browser window will open for you to select the podcast's audio; after the file is uploaded, its name will appear next to this button.
If you like, you can upload a file stored in Google Drive or Dropbox by clicking the corresponding icon on the right
Step 3. Select “mp3” from the list of file types
The m4a, wav or FLAC formats, also common, are other options.
Step 4. Move the slider to choose the quality
You can choose different bitrates, sound channels and add “fade in” and “fade outs” by clicking on “Advanced Settings” to the right of the quality selection
Step 5. Click on “Convert”
The progress bar will be displayed; on completion, a download link will appear.
Step 6. Choose the “Download” option
A window for you to choose the podcast storage location will be shown.
- If you prefer, save it directly to Google Drive or Dropbox by clicking on the corresponding icon under “Download”.
- The filename will have the name of the website, but you can rename and save it without any problem.
- A higher bitrate means better audio quality. Keep in mind, however, that there is no way to encode at a higher rate than the file that serves as the source. When transcoding a 128 kbps m4a to 320 kbps mp3, the quality will not exceed 128 kbps, even if the new file is marked as 320 kbps (actually, the quality will be worse as the encoding will use two types of files lossy).
- If your computer has a multi-core processor (with multiple cores), dbPowerAmp will use them to encode multiple files at once.