How to Convert a Voice Recording to MP3

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A young woman wearing headphones plugged into a laptop computer
A young woman wearing headphones plugged into a laptop computer (Image: Antonio Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

When it comes to sharing digital audio, the MP3 format is hard to beat. This reliable file format is compatible with most media players. Regardless of the format used to record your voice, you can usually rename or convert your format to MP3 using a downloadable or online converter.

File Renaming

How you convert your voice file to MP3 largely depends on the original format of the recording. Smartphones may use what seems to be proprietary audio file formats. For example, Samsung phones use files with .3GP or .3GA extensions. These formats are similar to MP3 format. Copy a voice file in this format from your smartphone to your computer and rename the file, replacing the extension with ".MP3." Many media players will decode the resulting file.

Format Converters

Other audio devices, smartphones or voice recording applications use audio formats that require more than a simple name change. A number of utilities are available for this conversion process, many of which are free or free to try. Agoo Soft's Audio Converter includes file formats supported by native applications on most Android and iPhone devices as well as other major audio file formats. Free online converters Zamzar and YouConvertIt offer file conversion done without downloading or installing apps. Select and upload your voice file in its native format, select MP3 as the "Convert to" format and enter an email address to which the converted file is sent.

Recording on Your Computer

Use an adapter cable to connect the headphone jack on your voice-recording device to the microphone input on your computer to record audio. Download a free recorder app that permits recording to MP3 format. Examples of this type of app include MP3myMP3, HarddiskOgg and PlayIt Recorder. Prepare the app to record, then play your voice file. Saving the new file in the recording application completes the conversion to MP3.

Defining the MP3 File Format

Encoding audio with MP3 compression uses algorithms to sift through audio data and discards certain portions of the audio deemed not essential for playback. While purists debate how this compression affects music, the human voice can communicate clearly despite any discarded audio, making MP3 an ideal format for efficient sharing of voice recordings, which are clear and understandable even at low bit rate and mono settings, resulting in files much smaller than equivalent portions of music at average settings.

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