How to Convert a CDA to an MP3

By Ashia Sims

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Computer (laptop or desktop)

  • Space on your computer to store the MP3 file

In spite of the growing popularity of programs, such as iTunes, where you can purchase music online, many people still like going to the music store and picking up a CD. Or you may have a collection of CDs that you'd like to put on your MP3 player or iPod. A CDA file is a music file on an actual CD that you would purchase at a store. You don't have to be a technical genius to convert a CDA file to an MP3, but it does take time and a little patience. It's not an impossible task and once you get the hang of it, it's like riding a bike. You won't ever forget how to do it.

How to convert a CDA to an MP3

Before you do anything, make sure you have at least an hour of time available to do this. It might not take that long, but if you are rushing and you are unfamiliar with this process, you could make mistakes. Give yourself time to take in all of the necessary information.

Save and close down all of the programs on your computer. This is just to safeguard against anything weird happening and you losing data. Plus, you want to make sure that your computer is free to convert the songs with ease. If you have a lot of programs open and are doing several things at once, it will be a drain on your computer's resources.

Find out what audio playing software you have on your computer. If you have a PC, you most likely have Windows Media Player. If you have a Mac, you should have iTunes. Both of these programs are pretty standard. I will address both software programs in these steps because these are the most commonly used programs.

If you are on a PC and you have Windows Media Player, open the program. For explanation purposes, I'm using the Windows Media Player for Windows XP, but if you have Vista, it should be easy to follow these steps as well. Older versions may take more looking but your Windows Media Player should upgrade itself.

If you are on a Mac and you have iTunes, open the program. I know that iTunes is really good about sending updates so you should have the latest version of the program.

Once you've opened Windows Media Player, go to the "Rip" menu. There should be tabs across the top saying "Now Playing", "Library", "Rip", "Burn", "Sync" and "Media Guide". Run your mouse over the "Rip" menu and then click on the arrow below "Rip".

Once you've opened iTunes, go to the "Edit" menu. There will be a small menu on the left side of the program screen once it opens. The tabs will read, "File", "Edit", "View", "Controls", "Store", "Advanced" and "Help". Click on the "Edit" menu and scroll down to "Preferences".

Once you've clicked the arrow under "Rip" in Windows Media Player, click on "Format". You will see another menu pop up beside the one you just clicked with "Format" in it. This window will list different formats available on Windows Media Player. Scroll down and select "MP3". Now when you go back to the menu, you will notice a check mark next to MP3.

Once you've scrolled down to "Preferences" in iTunes, click on the "General" tab. This should be the first tab that you see in a list of tabs labeled, "General", "Playback", "Sharing", "Store", "Parental Control", "AppleTV", "Devices", "Advanced". Once you are in the "General" tab, look for a button labeled, "Import Settings". Click that button and you will see a small box.

If you've followed the steps so far in Windows Media Player, you're done. You can close the program and the next time you want to convert a CDA file into an MP3, you can open Windows Media Player and rip it to your computer. The files will automatically be changed to MP3 files.

If you're using iTunes, there are a few more steps. Now that you have the small box in front of you, you want to look for the menu next to "Import Using". There should be an arrow that you can click on. Once you click the arrow, you will see a drop-down menu. Click on MP3 encoder and select that one. Once you click that, you can go down to the bottom of the box and click, "OK". Then you can click on "OK" in the other box.

You should be set on both programs. The easiest way to convert CDA files to MP3 files is directly off of the CD. So you should just put the CD into your computer and pull up either Windows Media Player or iTunes and rip or import the CD. Once you do that, the files will be converted and you can put them on your MP3 player or just have them as MP3 files on your computer.