How to reduce size of m4a files?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by craig1410, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    Hi,
    I have tried searching for an answer to this on google and this forum but I (surprisingly) can't find an answer. Maybe I'm using incorrect terminology or something.

    Can anyone tell me how I can reduce the size of m4a files ripped from a CD via iTunes? What I'm trying to do is copy a couple of CD's (Now 67) for my daughter to her Samsung SGH-E900 mobile phone. It only has 64MB of space so I need to get the m4a files down to something like 1.5MB each in order to fit the album on. The tracks are typically 3.8MB at present using the default iTunes encoding. I know quality will suffer by reducing the size but on a mobile phone with headset I am hopeful it won't be a problem.

    Thanks in advance,
    Craig.
    :)
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    Mmm, there's no way that this is going to end up working out very well for you... if the phone can have a microSD card or something of the like, that'll be better. Otherwise you probably should settle for ringtones or just one album at the normal rip rate.

    However, if you're using iTunes to rip, you can do this: go to iTunes Menu -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Importing -> Setting -> Custom.

    You'll see the bit rate defined here. The size of the file is essentially directly proportional to the bitrate. So, if you reduce the bitrate by a factor of three (i.e. about 48kbps), the files will be about 1/3 the size. Make sure the Use Variable Bitrate item is selected to maximize the quality of audio at this low rate (assuming the phone supports VBR). VBR means that the average rate will be 48kbps, but the "mesh" will be "adaptive" so that demanding segments of the song have a higher bitrate and relatively empty segments a lower one.

    After you do this, you can select songs you already ripped, if you want, and do Advanced menu -> Convert selection to AAC, which will generate new files that respect your current import settings (e.g. 48kbps VBR).

    Good luck!

    If these songs are *not* being listened to with headphones, or I guess perhaps even if they are, you might also experiment with using Mono instead of Stereo, as that would reduce the file size as well....
     
  3. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #3
    Hi mkrishnan,
    Thanks for the info, I was beginning to think that maybe a memory card was the only way forward - I'll look into the cost.

    I did spot the encoder options in preferences in iTunes but I want to keep the full bitrate in my iTunes library for PC playback which might be awkward if I also try to have a reduced quality version. Maybe I could create a new user on my iMac for my daughter and just set up her iTunes preferences for reduced bitrate to feed her phone. Yes mono might help too.

    Thanks,
    Craig.
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    You can do a couple of things...

    You can get a program like Max to do separate encodings for the phone. Create a profile in Max that has the bitrate and other settings you want, and set Max up to delete originals (bear with me). Now create a folder for phone music somewhere. When you want to put a song on the phone, drag it from iTunes directly to the folder. This will make a COPY of it there. Now you can right click the copy, open with Max (or drag it into Max), and then hit the convert button. Max will make a phone version in the lower bitrate and delete the copy of the original iTunes file that you created in that folder. You end up with a separate phone library in the desired format fairly easily.

    Alternatively, in iTunes, when you do the Advanced->Convert, you actually get a second copy, that you can remove from iTunes or delete when you've put it on the phone. So you can continue to keep your originals as long as you switch back to your preferred ripping format before you rip new CDs for the iTunes library. The switching is kind of a pain, so eventually I started using Max to do conversions to MP3 for ringtones for my phone (my Blackberry also doesn't have a lot of space, but I really just wanted ringtones on it anyway, and it doesn't play M4A ringtones).
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    $10-20 for a 1 GB card depending on the media type.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #7
  8. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #8
    Hi Guys,
    Yes I agree that getting a microSD card is the best or easiest option. I can get a 2GB card for £17.61 which is about $35. I had expected the cards to be more expensive and didn't expect to be able to get them as big as 2GB to be honest. I think I'll get an adapter for the microSD cards as well.

    Sorted! Thanks again.
    Craig.
     

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