How do you convert Audible aa files to mp3?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by patent10021, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2004
  2. macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2011
    What type of aa files are you trying to convert? I have an app called SmartConverter on my iMac which claims to handle most music formats.
  3. thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2004
    Which type? Audible aa files.

  4. macrumors 68030

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
  5. macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2012
  6. macUser829, Jun 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014

    macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2014
    Smart Converter and All2MP3 don't handle the .aa audiobook format, unfortunately.

    I just searched for a couple of hours for a converter which handles audiobooks, and found nothing free. However, there are other ways.

    Here are the three ways which I've found to do convert .aa to mp3:

    If your audiobooks are from Audible, use your friend's Windows computer: convert them using Audible's listening software for Windows. This seems to be the easiest way.

    If you have time to let the audio convert in the background, you can let it play into an internal audio recording software such as Soundflower (which is free, and found at To use this, open your audio book in iTunes. Follow Soundflower's directions to record the audio - saving it as an mp3 file - as it plays. Note that it does not have to play through the speakers: Soundflower counts as an audio output device. You might not be able to use iTunes to play anything else, while it's converting. As far as I know, this records at the speed that the audio plays (so that a 14-hour audiobook would take 14 hours to be converted to an mp3 file). So, this is best done overnight or while you're out.

    Burn your audiobooks to a virtual (or real) CD, then import them from the CD. Thanks to blevins321 for this. ( This is a bit time-intensive, but it works.
    A good virtual CD software is This is only free for the first 15 days.
    In order for iTunes to recognize the CD, you need to burn it using iTunes (not Finder). Follow the instructions in this video: For a typical audio book, you'll need many virtual CDs, since iTunes assumes they're of a normal CD audio length (about 80 minutes). Make sure you set the time between tracks to 0s, since iTunes breaks the audiobook into 8 minute tracks.
    As you re-importing the files as mp3 files (following the video directions), watch out for iTunes' naming conventions and organize the multiple CDs' files how you wish. I found it simplest to organize them after each CD import, so that I didn't get confused about track order. (I put each imported CD into its own folder, so that I didn't have to rename every single track.)
    For a 14-hour audiobook, there are 12 CDs and just over 100 8-minute tracks.

    Good luck!

    If you're finding this all a bit messy, I highly recommend writing to whoever your audiobook provider is (such as Audible), asking them to supply a free mp3 converter for mac users or a downloadable mp3 version of the books.
  7. macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2011
  8. macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    Watertown, MA
    trying to use the Win audible player to convert...

    I was able to get a windows app called Audible Manager. I can play, but don't see a way to convert to mp3, the aa files.

    Can you advise?
  9. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    The problem is that Audible audiobooks use copy protection which means that (a) it should be impossible to convert them to anything, and (b) if you managed to through some technical trick then it would be illegal.

    In iTunes, you should be able to create Audio CDs from the audible files. Built into iTunes. Create a playlist containing the audiobook, and then you should be able to burn that playlist to CD (works on a Mac, should work on Windows exactly the same but I never tried). Once you have the book on CD, you can import it in any format you like. Unfortunately it fills each CD completely so you will get mp3 songs of 74 minutes each.

    Obviously it is not legal to give the resulting mp3 files to anyone else.
  10. earthsong, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015

    macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2014
    Thanks gnasher; can you clarify one thing, please? When you select Burn Playlist to CD in iTunes, a window opens giving you a few choices for the burning format - you can burn as Audio, as mp3, or as Data File/DVD. Obviously the last one is not necessary, but which should you choose between Audio & mp3, for the best results (and fewest CDs used) when copying the CDs back onto your hard drive in any chosen format?

    UPDATE: I tried burning the Playlist to CD using the Audio CD choice. It seemed to be initializing & burning, with each CD taking bout 4 minutes and request for the next blank CD, etc. But when I reinserted the CDs back into the Mac, they all brought up the window "You have inserted an empty CD..." and there was nothing on them. When I tried re-burning using the mp3 choice, I got the "...can't burn Audible to mp3 disc" window. So, so far neither choice works and your suggestion to burn Playlist to disc, then re-import, doesn't seem to work. What am I missing?
  11. macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2015
    With this and most audio that you might want to convert on the internet, I suggest looking for (in this case) the audiobook/CD on YOUTUBE first and foremost. Once you find the desired audiobook/CD on Youtube, if it's there, you can use to convert that video into an mp3. This is a great way around the difficulty possibly encountered when using or after purchasing an .aa (Audible) file.

    Cheers, peace and best

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