Saturday, August 26, 2006

Converting Audible .aa files to MP3 format

In an ideal world, we would be able to pay for an audio book, download it, and play it on our MP3 player. Unfortunately life is not that simple. Apple's iPod has a Digital Rights Management system that makes it almost impossible to play iTunes music on anything other than an iPod, or your PC. Windows Media players use a different DRM, which won't play on an iPod. And you can't share your iPod without completely erasing all the music on it, which sucks.
The only way round this nightmare is to convert all this copy-protected content into something a little more portable. MP3 happens to be that format. It's like the music equivalent of a Word document file.
Two years ago when I installed all my software on my ThinkPad G40 (the one with the fan problem) the version of AudibleManager was older than the current one, and there was some kind of loophole that allowed you to open the .aa file from Audible using GoldWave, and then save it in .mp3 format. I have converted and backed up most of the Audible books I have purchased in this way, knowing that at some point in the future my .aa files may no longer work.
The day arrived sooner than I thought, and I have had some hasles listening to older .aa files on my new laptop. Then I discovered that the GoldWave method no longer works, and neither does anything else that I have tried. Until I found Total Recorder, which solves several other problems as well, such as how to record Skype conversations, or the news on streaming audio, or anything else for that matter.
This is what I found on their web site: "Total Recorder records PC audio from almost any source, including streamed audio from programs like Windows Media Player. It can also record conventional audio from CD's, the microphone and other input lines on a sound card." Version 6 PE costs $17.95, which is not bad: about the cost of a single book.
So I can record a backup while I'm listeing to to the book, or leave it running all night recording while I'm asleep. It's not as fast as a GoldWave, but it'll work fine for me. Then I can edit the file using WavePad (as long as it isn't too long) or with GoldWave.

Older methods of conversion | Total Recorder | GoldWave | WavePad


Anonymous said...

Good software, I've used it pretty extensively in the past. If you've got a fast computer, you can often up the recording speed to several X normal and reduce the time needed. I would compare MP3 to Acrobat files though since Word is an expensive program and Acrobat reader (like many MP3 player programs) is free.

Kiki said...

You can easily go back to using GoldWave, just download and install AudibleMediaPlayerFilter.exe. You may still find it here.

Donn Edwards said...

According to the CoolUtils web site "Sorry to mislead you, Total Audio Converter no longer supports AA files. Audible prohibited us doing that. Had to obey:( " so I'm not sure how effective it will be, but I'll test it anyway.