Using nothing but Open Source (free) software, this tutorial will show you how to copy (extract) just the audio from an .MP4 video file. That way you can listen to it on your computer, smartphone, iPod etc, or burn it to an audio CD.
MP4 files are one of the most common format for video recording devices (the GoPro is a good example). There may come a time (or lots of times) when you want to listen to the file but not necessarily watch it. These steps will show you how to create a separate “audio only” file.
Note: while the the steps and images in this guide are from a Mac users perspective, nearly everything is identical for Windows users. Not only is the software available for OS X and Windows (and Linux!) – it looks the same no matter which you’re using.
Let’s jump right in!
- If you don’t have the wonderful audio software Audacity already installed, head over to the Audacity download page (link opens in a new tab/window). Download the version for your Operating System (Windows, OS X, Linux)
Now select File and then Open…
- Navigate to the MP4 video file that you want to copy the audio from. Select the file by clicking on it once, and then click the Open button. It may take a bit to open the file – the larger the MP4 file, the longer it will take to open.
- NOTE: at this point you may get an error message. If you do, fear not, the solution is simple. Just follow the steps outlined in this brief guide (opens in a new browser tab/window) to add “MP3 support” to Audacity. Then repeat the first two steps and you won’t ever have that problem again).
A new Audacity ‘window’ will appear, displaying all of the audio information from that MP4 file.
- With that window open, select File and then Export…
- From here you can choose the format you want to save the audio as. If you’re going to burn it directly to CD, select .wav so that you get the highest possible audio quality. Otherwise you can select MP3.
- Now click the Save button.
- Enter the song metadata if appropriate, then click the OK button.
- Now the audio will be extracted and saved.
- When finished, go and check the audio file to make sure everything worked – and then you’re done!