Aug 18, 2010 Update: In the comments section, folks are having problems performing CAF to MP3 conversions on PCs running Windows. Try using the free Audacity cross-platform sound editor, and see if this works for you. There are two related YouTube video clips (Clip 1 | Clip 2) that offer further assistance with using Audacity. Good luck, and let us know in the comments if this worked.
The comments in the post, Converting CAF files to MP3 has led me to write this article, which explores a similar theme, but this time, focusing on CAF files coming off iPhone Apps, and using Switch, which allows for batch conversion of these files.
Step 1 – Get sample CAF files
In TUAW’s article, VoiceNotes vs. iDicto vs. Recorder vs. Record, there are download links for two sample CAF files produced by the iDicto and VoiceNotes apps (right-click to save to your hard drive).
Step 2 – Download Switch
Switch is a free audio converter for Mac and Windows platforms.
Download the free trial, which is fully functional, but will remind you to purchase the full version.
During your first CAF conversion, the software will download additional codecs / conversion algorithms, if I remember correctly.
Step 3 – Drag the CAF file from the Finder into Switch
You could also drag multiple files in this step.
Here’s where the true power of Switch comes into play, as it is able to convert multiple files, compared to only one file at a time if you used Garageband.
Step 4 – Select the file output format, Encoder Options and output folder
In this step, you select the output format, MP3 in this example, specify the sound quality parameters in the Encoder Options, and choose a destination folder.
For the destination folder, I usually just check the “Output to same folder as source files” box if I’m certain that the source and output formats are different. This way, the original files won’t be deleted by the new ones.
For the parameters in Encoder Options, just go with the minimum necessary if you’re not in need of audiophile-level quality sound. Here’s an example:
- VBR (Variable Bit Rate).
- Minimum Bitrate: 128 kbps.
- Maximum Bitrate: 320 kbps.
- Quality: 0 (Highest).
- Stereo Encoding: Joint.
Step 5 – Run the CAF to MP3 conversion process
When you’re ready, just click the Convert button. A progress dialog box will pop up.
If all goes well, you’ll find a shiny new MP3 file in your destination folder.