Edited by Ben Jacklin
February 7, 2022
The WMA format is not commonly supported by portable devices and media players. So if you can’t open your audio file, convert WMA to MP3 – a format supported by almost any device and player. One more advantage of converting WMA to MP3 is that MP3 files can be somewhat smaller than WMA files, which saves a lot of space on your media player or hard drive.
There are different ways to change WMA to MP3. You can convert WMA to MP3 online using the tool at the top of this page. Alternatively, you can use desktop conversion software. Here, you’ll learn how to convert files using two programs: Movavi Video Converter and the VLC WMA converter. You’ll also find a WMA vs. MP3 comparison table and the FAQ section.
How to convert WMA to MP3 on Windows or Mac with Movavi
To change the format of your audio file, you just need the right kind of WMA-to-MP3 converter – like Movavi Video Converter for Windows and Mac. This software supports audio conversion between almost all known media files. It can also let you change WMA to MP3 and vice versa or extract soundtracks from your favorite movies – and a lot more.
Download and install Movavi Video Converter and check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to convert WMA to MP3 files.
Step 1. Install the software
Hit one of the WMA-to-MP3 converter download buttons above.
Once you’ve downloaded the software distribution package, open it to run the setup application and follow the instructions. When the installation is complete, the program will open automatically unless you've specified otherwise.
Step 2. Add your files to batch-convert WMA to MP3
Click Add Media in the top left corner of the program interface, then Add Audio and choose the files you want to convert from WMA to MP3. Thanks to the batch conversion support in the Movavi software, it’s easy to transcode your favorite artists’ entire discography in one pass!
Step 3. Choose MP3 as the output file format
Open the Audio tab and expand the MP3 group. Choose the preset with the bitrate you want but keep in mind that a higher bitrate means a larger output file. If you're not sure which bitrate to choose, select MP3 – 256 kbps, which delivers reasonably good quality and average file size.
If you wish, you can change the sound parameters by clicking the Cogwheel icon and adjusting the sample rate, bitrate, etc.
Step 4. Specify the destination folder and start converting your WMA files to MP3 files
By default, the output files are placed in the Movavi Library folder, but you can specify a different folder by clicking the Save to button. Once you've set the preset and output folder, click Convert.
When the job is done, the folder with the converted files will open automatically. That’s all there is to it! Now you can play them or transfer them to your plugged-in multimedia device right away.
Great! Now you know how to convert WMA files to MP3 on Mac and Windows. The trial version of Movavi Video Converter enables you to convert WMA to MP3 for free. The program also lets you change the format of most other audio, video, and image files in seconds as well as perform some basic editing.
How to convert WMA to MP3 with VLC
MP3 is the most widely used and well-known audio codec in the world, so being able to convert WMA to MP3 for free is important for anyone who wants to move audio files across operating systems. VLC is a tool that will help you switch between file formats for free. The program lets you play and convert media files. You can use VLC to convert multiple files to MP3 at once.
Ready to use VLC to convert WMA to MP3? Read a quick seven-step process for using VLC’s “to MP3” converter, so you can easily access your audio files when you change between any device.
Here’s how to convert WMA to MP3 with VLC:
Step 1. Download and install the free WMA-to-MP3 converter
If you haven’t downloaded the VLC audio converter already, visit VLC’s official website and click the download link for the appropriate operating system. You can either select the icon below the orange Download VLC button (like the Android robot, Mac OS X symbol, the Windows window frame, etc.) or click the down arrow for a more robust drop-down list of operating systems to choose from.
Step 2. Open VLC, click Media in the top menu, and select Convert / Save
After opening up the media player, click Media, located at the top left of your menu. From the drop-down, click Convert / Save near the bottom. Note that if you want to repeat this process in the future, the Ctrl + R hotkey helps you omit this step.
Step 3. Add the WMA file/s you’d like to convert to MP3
In the Convert / Save window, click the + Add button on the right side. This pulls up your computer’s file directory. Track down the WMA file/s you’d like to change to MP3, select as many as you want, and click Open to move the files to the media player.
Step 4. Click the Convert / Save button
At this point, you’ll be able to see the name of your WMA files in the window. Once you’ve added all the files you want to convert, click Convert / Save at the bottom of the window to proceed to the next step.
Step 5. Adjust the Profile settings to Audio – MP3
At the center of the current window, you should see the Convert radio button automatically filled out (select it if it isn’t). Then you’ll notice the Profile section in the center of the window – click the drop-down menu next to it and choose Audio – MP3.
If you want to convert your WMA to other audio codecs, you can repeat the entire process leading up to this point and simply change the output in the Profile section.
Step 6. Click Browse to choose your download destination
Before you can start the conversion process, you need to choose where you want your newly-minted MP3 files to be downloaded to. If you prefer to organize them later, you can just let them download into the default folder or to your desktop, or you can create a new folder and send them all there.
Step 7. Click Start
The final step to convert WMA to MP3 using VLC is to simply click Start.
The time needed to convert WMA to MP3 with VLC will depend on file size/s and how many WMA files you’re trying to change, but it should take no longer than a couple of minutes. You can track the download progress on the VLC Media Player (the blue bar will indicate how close to completion you are).
That’s all you need to convert to MP3 with VLC!
Comparing VLC, Movavi Video Converter, and the online converter
Movavi Video Converter
|Modern UI that makes it easy for anyone to convert and modify their files|
|Support for over 180 media formats|
|Convert Sample feature to preview video quality before conversion|
|Color correction and filters|
|Cropping and trimming|
View all features Hide the table
So, which of the three conversion tools to choose? It depends on your needs.
- Movavi Video Converter. It’s a great tool for fast and easy conversion. We recommend this option if you want to convert large files or process several audio tracks at once. The app also lets you edit videos and preview the result of compression.
- VLC. It’s a bit harder to use since it’s not designed specifically for conversion. The processing speed is not very high. But VLC does a good job, considering it’s a free app. If you’re looking for a multifunctional program that lets you convert and play media files, VLC is a great choice.
- Online. The online converter that you can see at the top of this page is a good option if you need to convert a small file. This tool doesn’t have any editing features, but it’s a convenient way to quickly convert a single audio file.
WMA vs. MP3: A comparison
WMA (short for “Windows Media Audio”) is an audio file format developed and owned by Microsoft. The number of devices supporting this format is very restricted. On the other hand, MP3 (also known as “MPEG-1 Audio Layer III” or “MPEG-2 Audio Layer III”) is an industry standard recognized virtually everywhere, on almost any device, platform, and system. Technically speaking, the two formats are quite similar as both utilize lossy compression to eliminate non-essential bits of data to reduce the final file size. See the table below for a more detailed comparison of the formats – MP3 vs. WMA.
|File size||Relatively small||Relatively small|
|Audio codecs||Windows Media Audio||MPEG-1 / MPEG-2 Audio Layer III|
|Supported by||Windows-based devices||Windows, Mac, Linux; almost any device and program|
Frequently asked questions
What is a .wma file?
It’s an audio file in the WMA format. WMA (Windows Media Audio) is an audio format developed by Microsoft as part of the Windows Media framework. “.wma” is the extension in which WMA files are stored.
How do I convert WMA to MP3 on Mac?
Use a WMA-to-MP3 converter for Mac, for example, Movavi Video Converter.
- Install the app.
- Drag and drop your WMA files into the program window.
- Click the Audio tab below and choose MP3 as the output format.
- Click the Convert button to convert the WMA files to MP3 on your Mac.
Is WMA better than MP3?
Compared with MP3, WMA files reportedly deliver better sound quality – but only in low bitrates. Otherwise, the WMA format has no discernible advantages over MP3. Remember that you can always change WMA to MP3 with the help of a media conversion app.
Can VLC convert WMA to MP3?
Yes, the VLC media player can be used as a free WMA-to-MP3 converter. To convert WMA to MP3 for free using this app, do the following.
- Run VLC, select Media, and then Convert/Save.
- Click Add and browse for the WMA files for conversion.
- Click Convert/Save below.
- In another dialog box, select Convert and choose Audio – MP3 from the Profile drop-down list.
- Specify a name for the MP3 file and click Start to launch the conversion process.
Are WMA files compressed?
Yes, the WMA format uses a lossy compression system.
Does VLC play WMA?
Yes, VLC does play WMA files. The VLC Media Player can play anything from files and discs to video-game and webcam streams. It also lets users watch a huge range of video files and audio files – a range that rivals the best media players available today.
Can VLC convert WMA to MP3 in batch?
No, you can’t use VLC to convert WMA to MP3 in batch form, which is a problem if you’re trying to move a bunch of files off a Windows device to another operating system (like iOS or macOS).
If you want to convert to MP3 via VLC in batch, you’re better off using Movavi Video Converter. Here’s how to do so in 5 steps:
- In the converter tool, click Add Media and select Add Audio.
- Add all of the WMA files you want directly to the converter.
- In the Audio tab, choose the MP3 file format.
- Click Convert in the top menu.
- Wait until the conversion process is done (it should be quick).
How do I open a WMA file?
Although WMA files don’t have the flexibility and ubiquity of MP3 files, they’re still relatively easy to open using third-party software. Here are five media players that have no issues opening WMA files for your listening enjoyment:
- WMA Music Player
- VLC Media Player or the VLC app
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