How to convert .ape files to .mp3 using OSX

by Ross McKillop on May 12, 2007

iPod Mac

You’ve downloaded a show or two from DimeADozen and now you want to convert the ape files to mp3 to take with you on your iPod or MP3 player. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to do just that, using OS X. note: this is another tutorial in the Beginners guide to lossless audio series.

First things first, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed Max, an application for creating and converting high-quality audio files in various formats. Not only is Max straight forward to use, it’s free.

  1. After you’ve installed Max (which is very straight forward, just drag it to your Applications folder) – launch it.

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  3. Select File and then Convert Files.. from the top menu.
  4. Navigate to the .ape files you want to convert to .mp3 and select them. Click Open.

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  6. From the bottom of the Max window, click Setup output formats…
  7. Click the Formats tab from the top window, and in the list of Available output formats: double-click on MP3.

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  9. From here you can select the quality of the MP3 files that Max will create. The default, Transparent, is what I use – but feel free to make any changes you feel are appropriate. Click OK when you’re done.

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  11. Back in the Formats window, make sure there’s a check in the box next to MP3.

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  13. Now select the Output tab from the top menu. Choose a location to save your MP3 files from the Output files: drop down list. When you’re done, close the Output window and return to the main Max interface.

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  15. If everything looks good, click the Convert button…

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  17. And watch the .ape files magically convert to mp3.

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  19. When it’s done, give your mp3 files a listen to make sure everything went smoothly. That’s it!
  • Damus

    Thanks, extremely clear

  • Jordan Sumliner

    If you have a large .ape file that you need to split via a cue sheet, How do you do that in mac os x?

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  • paul

    hey great stuff, but no formats available, and the formnats preference also non working, any ideaS?

  • ashogo

    Thanks a lot for the explanation. Max is great, just what I was looking for.

  • Casy

    how do I convert ape files if I only have 10.4, not tiger??

  • pinga

    Thanks a lot Max is even better than Switch,

  • albabe

    X Lossless Decoder (XLD) seems to be much easier to work… good results… a little wonky…

  • Anna

    clear, and very helpful
    cheers

  • Paul

    PERFECT !
    It realy helps me !

  • Eduardo

    Thanks, Max is cold

  • Chris

    Nice! Great info, never heard of Max because I never heard of .APE until now.

    Worked great.

  • henri

    Thank a lot . Explanations very simple and worderfully clear …

    best regards

  • lukasz

    hello,
    max converts all the files in one BIG output file… i.e., the tracks are not separated… it does not recognize the “.cue” file with all the tracks details… any hint? thanks in advance.

  • Daniel

    Had this problem with one bog output file. Try to do File => Open… instead of “Convert”, and in OSX “Open File” window select the .cue file. The “.ape” file will get automatically opened, and you will have a nice list of output files – as on original album. And the metadata is there already! Thank for MAX!

  • Ali

    when i open the .cue file through Max neither i get any track info nor opens the ape file automaticaly. Only title and artist names i can see. When i open the ape file separately… nothing happens. still one big cd image i have

    what to do how to do any ideas?

    thanks.

  • Poulain

    Thank you. Works perfectly!

  • Ton

    Thanks man, super clear explanation.

  • Dave Manning

    I too am having problems breaking down large ape files into the seperate tracks on an album. Daniel’s suggestion (August 10, 2009) just doesn’t seem to work. Any real help will be appreciated

  • Dave Manning

    Ok….. I use a program on my MAC called Sound Studio. I found that I could open the large MP3 files with it. I could then go through and place markers between the individual tracks and rename them later. It took a long time, but I got what i wanted.

  • David

    The conversion is great, but how does one avoid converting one gigantic track. Isn’t there a way to separate the large APE file into separate tracks? Thanks!

  • sean

    thanks a lot, pal.

  • Hans

    Thanks for the explaination and this good program!

  • PBH

    Thank you very much, from Brazil.

  • Axel

    Many thanks Ross, on a Powerbook G4 running 10.4.11, I used Daniel’s suggestion (August 10, 2009) and it worked like a charm…I’ve got as many files as the number of tracks and they’re all already tagged! Great

  • http://graham.thirkill1@btinternet.com Graham Thirkill

    Please, does MAX work OK on Snow Leopard. I have placed it in Apllications and it doesn’t open, when I try to open it it just shows all the other files within the folder.

  • http://pafell.pl/ Pafell

    That was easy. Thanks!

  • Lybrium

    THANK YOU!

  • grovest

    Worked perfectly for me.

    As for using a CUE to cut up the .ape, I’m on OSX 10.6 and in MAX I can just open the cue files (file -> open) and it works perfectly, as Daniel mentioned. Shows the tracks, you can edit the metadata, etc. Seems I may be in the minority there, however.

  • gla

    Thanks a LOT! I didn’t know this MAX program. It really works well and is very versatile!

  • Carlos

    Excellent explanation, thank you very much, it works perfect an easy!!!

  • michael

    Thanks, this was simple and it works.

  • Amadeus

    I’ve got a problem after downloading Max: I can’t select “Convert Files”. It’s there there and I can see it but I can’t select it..
    Great explanation though!

  • Joesh

    I’m not sure if people have understood a very simple problem concerning .CUE file + .APE file. Normally using Max you should be able to open your .ape file via a .cue file. You should just simply – as Daniel august 10 – 2009 – said :
    1. Open Max
    2. Select ‘Open’ in file.
    3. Select ALL tracks in Meta data section. They should be there as separate tracks, unless there’s a problem elsewhere.
    4. Press convert.
    5. Listen to your music, which normally should now have been converted into separate tunes/pieces.

    Good luck.

  • http://nikolaj.cz nikolajcz

    how to cut big .ape? Joesh’s variant didn’t work for me also. albabe September 6, 2008, 10:01 am suggested XLD X lossless decoder – they’ve really worked on gui and it’s ULTRAfast (multiple mp3s at once) and cutting into mp3 did really work out. thankx for tip!

  • Runnerup

    Joesh’s recipe worked perfectly here. Thanks a lot.

  • Syron

    Max crashes when going to the Formats tab…

  • Karen1Nicola

    Thank you. Been struggling with this, and this seems to have done the job perfectly. Brilliant set of instructions :-)