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I am busy trying to convert some sound files (different formats) to MP3. I know there's a ton of different apps out there that would allow you to do this, but I prefer the simplicity of Winamp and it's Disk Writer plug-in.

However, MP3 is not one of the Windows system codecs and I would like to add it. My list currently includes the following seemingly archaic codecs:

  • CCITT A-Law
  • CCITT u-Law
  • GSM 6.10
  • Microsoft ADPCM
  • PCM

Perhaps I am missing the boat here, but I looked at the M$ page on installing codecs, but I can't seem to find a suitable MP3 codec driver. Is it possible to install any other codecs such as M4A?

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If you simply must use Winamp, I found 3 MP3 output plugins on Winamp's site, with even the "latest" dating back to 2004. While these two are unlikely to work any longer (or even produce good results if they do), out_lame has a "newer" version (still dates back to 2005 though) available on SourceForge.

out_lame is a Winamp output plug-in to create MP3 files directly from Winamp. It is currently designed to work with Winamp 2.05 and all the upper 2.x versions (dunno about the 3.x ones) and Winamp 5.x. It uses the LAME DLL to encode to MP3. This plug-in in now officially supported by Winamp.


lame_enc.dll can be downloaded here.

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Check out Audacity. Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. Audacity supports every format you listed.

You will need the LAME plugin (free) for MP3 exporting.

There are a lot of other plugins to support even more sound formats.

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Disk Writer outputs WAV files, i.e. a special header followed by audio in one of the formats you select from the list of codecs available in Windows (PCM, aka LPCM, is the most common nowadays). You could install the LAME ACM from to add MP3 to the list (I think), but you're better off using out_lame, as someone else recommended. It will give you more control over the configuration and will output a proper MP3 with a .mp3 filename, not an MP3 WAV with a .wav filename. The LAME ACM page at RareWares explains:

ACM is the ancient Windows "Audio Codec Manager", and most applications that can save audio files to WAV do so through ACM, making LAME encoding through it pretty much universal. The catch is that saved files have WAV headers that make the MP3 file unrecognizable to several players and decoders.

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