How to Convert AAC to MP3 in Ubuntu

by Anthony Brandt

MP3 is the most well-known of all digital audio formats, and is also the most supported by personal digital audio players. AAC is one of many other digital audio formats. Using Sound Converter on Ubuntu, you can convert AAC files to MP3.

Step 1

Click "System," "Administration" and then select "Synaptic Package Manager."

Step 2

Type "soundconverter" into the Search field at top. Click Search. "Soundconverter" will appear in the list of Packages.

Step 3

Select the check box next to "soundconverter." Then click "Mark for Installation" from the menu that pops up.

Step 4

Type "gstreamer" into the Search field at top. Click Search. Scroll down until you find "gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse" in the list of packages. (The numbers in the file name are a version number. If that number is different, that is okay; just make sure you have selected gstreamer's ugly set, multiverse variant.)

Step 5

Click the check box next to" gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse." Then choose "Mark for Installation" from the menu that pops up.

Step 6

Choose "Apply at top" to install Sound Converter and the gstreamer plugin. Click "Apply" in the dialogue box that pops up to confirm the changes. A "Changes Applied" dialogue box will pop up. Close Synaptic Package Manager.

Step 7

Click "Applications," "Sound & Video" and "Sound Converter."

Step 8

In Sound Converter, click "Edit" and "Preferences." Under "Type of result?" select MP3. You can adjust the Bitrate Mode and Quality. Click "Close."

Step 9

Click the "Add File" button to select files for conversion. (Click the "Add Folder" button to add an entire folder's worth of files to the conversion queue.) After selecting files, click "Open."

Click "Convert." By default, Sound Converter saves the converted files to the same folder as the originals. You can adjust where the new files are saved under Preferences.


  • MP3 and AAC are both lossy formats, which means they are not full CD quality. Even high-quality MP3's have some loss of quality. If you convert AAC files to MP3's, the quality degrades that much more. Consider encoding to a lossless audio format like WAV or FLAC instead of MP3.
  • WAV and FLAC files are both significantly larger than MP3's, though FLAC files are much smaller than WAV's--about three times the size of MP3's. FLAC has limited support, however, while WAV's are very widely supported and can play automatically on iPods, for instance.

About the Author

Anthony Brandt began writing professionally in 2003. He has been published in the prestigious yearly journal "Ceramics in America," the national magazine "Antiques and Fine Art" and is currently working on several ceramics-related works for publication. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing seminars from Johns Hopkins University, where he received the Jacob Hollander Prize for writing.

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