How to extract and convert the audio from a DVD using OS X

This tutorial will guide you in extracting the audio from a DVD and then converting it into an .mp3 for use w/ your iPod or MP3 player. All of the software used in this tutorial is free.


1. Please make sure that you’re allowed (legally) to extract the audio from your DVD before completing the steps in this tutorial.
2. I make no claims that this is the “best” way to convert the audio or music on a DVD into mp3. What I will claim is that this method has worked for me time and time again, it’s not very hard, and the resulting mp3s sound great.

First you’ll need to download and install MacTheRipper and ffmpegX. Both of these programs are free (ffmpegX is fully functional shareware).

MacTheRipper is a very straight-forward installation – just drag MacTheRipper from the .dmg to your Applications folder. ffmpegX is a bit more tricky (but certainly not hard) – just follow the instructions at carefully.

Extracting audio from a DVD using MacTheRipper

  1. Insert the DVD you wish to extract the audio from, and close iDVD (or any other program that may have started when you put in the DVD). Launch MacTheRipper

  2. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  3. Select the Mode tab and then choose Title – Chapter Extraction from the drop-down list

  4. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  5. From the second drop-down list you’ll have to select the “title” you wish to extract the audio from. If the audio you’re going for is somewhere in the “main feature” of the DVD (ie. it’s not in the ‘bonus material’ or ‘extras’ on the DVD), select the title that ends with (MF). If the audio you’re trying to extract is in the bonus features or extras, you’ll need to figure out which “title” to choose. The length of each title (in hours:minutes:seconds) can be very helpful in determining which is the one you want.

  6. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  7. Select the chapter you wish to extract the audio from. You can choose multiple chapters, but they must be sequential (choose a start and end chapter). The more chapters you choose, the longer (and larger) the resulting file will be.

  8. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  9. Now click the D button, and then the Streams button. Remove the check marks from any of the Video Streams (since we’re going for the audio, we don’t need to extract any video). Each DVD will differ on the number and types of Audio Streams available. Remove the check marks from all of the Audio Streams except one – ideally the AC3 6Ch. Make sure none of the Subtitle Streams are checked and then click GO!.

  10. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  11. If this is the first time you’ve used MacTheRipper, you’ll be prompted to save the file somewhere. Choose your Desktop (it doesn’t matter, just remember where you saved the file).
  12. convert dvd to mp3

  13. When the extraction is complete, MacTheRipper will let you know
  14. convert dvd to mp3

Converting the DVD audio to MP3

  1. If you happen to have a media player installed that can play .ac3 files (eg. VLC) you can use it to listen to the file (to make sure you extracted the right one etc).

    Now we’ll turn the .ac3 into an .mp3, using ffmpegX.

  2. convert dvd to mp3

  3. Open ffmpegX and drag the .ac3 file into the Drop file here window.

  4. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  5. In the Target Format column, select the small arrow directly next to To. Choose Audio file to mp3 from the bottom of the very large drop-down list. Do NOT choose Movie file to mp3, even if the DVD is a “movie”.

  6. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  7. Now select the Audio tab and choose a bitrate for your mp3. I like to use something a little bit higher than the default 128, but this is a personal preference. Remember, the higher the bitrate, the larger the resulting file will be. Click Encode when you’re ready.

  8. convert dvd to mp3
    Click to enlarge

  9. ffmpegX will display a status window letting you know how things are going
  10. convert dvd to mp3

  11. The status window will change to Finished when it’s done
  12. convert dvd to mp3

  13. If you check the folder where you saved the .ac3 file, you’ll now find an .mp3 as well. That’s it! You can rename the mp3, move it to your Music directory etc.
  14. convert dvd to mp3

28 thoughts on “How to extract and convert the audio from a DVD using OS X”

  1. Has anyone else seen this problem?
    After clicking Encode, the encoding process finishes almost immediately, and apparently successfully, but no audio file is saved. Clicking the info button shows this:
    FFmpeg version CVS, Copyright (c) 2000-2004 Fabrice Bellard
    Mac OSX universal build for ffmpegX
    libavutil version: 49.0.0
    libavcodec version: 51.9.0
    libavformat version: 50.4.0
    Sun Jan 14 11:50:30 EST 2007
    , gcc: 4.0.1 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 5250)
    [ac3 @ 0x5597b8]Could not find codec parameters (Audio: ac3)

  2. Pingback: Repetitive listening with your iPod : John Biesnecker

  3. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been looking for a means of extracting audio from concert dvds that I own.

    Unfortunately, I get the following error (with both 5 channel and 2 channel input files):

    Encoding started on Sun Mar 18 18:39:28 CDT 2007
    FFmpeg version CVS, Copyright (c) 2000-2004 Fabrice Bellard
    Mac OSX universal build for ffmpegX
    libavutil version: 49.0.0
    libavcodec version: 51.9.0
    libavformat version: 50.4.0
    Input #0, ac3, from ‘//.AC3’:
    Duration: 00:04:39.3, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 448 kb/s
    Stream #0.0: Audio: ac3, 48000 Hz, 5 channels, 448 kb/s
    Could not find input stream #0.1

    Any help/thoughts? Thanks!

  4. The process above works well for DVDs that have AC3 audio track. I was wondering what to do about those DVDs that have PCM tracks instead. Mac The Ripper and osex will both rip the DVD audio to .PCM files, but I can’t find a way to go from .PCM files to .MP3. Any hints on that are much appreciated. I have two concert DVDs that I really want in my iPod and am having zero luck. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: BarelyBlogging » Blog Archive » links for 2007-11-14

  6. If you encounter where 0kb mp3 files are generated and get error “could not find input stream” , then try running the following from terminal:

    /Applications/ -ab 256 -i in.ac3 out.mp3

    You need to key in the correct file paths and names but it worked for me!

  7. Another tip solution that worked without using the console – just ensure you select the target format in ffmpegX to be AUDIO file to MP3 – the others are not working as Ross rightly mentions in the tutorial.

  8. Great guide. However, I am having one problem by following these steps.

    I extract a single AC3 stream with MTR, and test it with VLC player. It plays fine.

    However, after I encode the mp3 using ffmpegx the song shows up in the mp3 2 times (back to back)

    (FYI I am running this on Leopard)

    Any Ideas?

  9. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

    For those who had trouble using this method, here’s an alternative (I just used it with PCM audio):

    I was able to extract a chapter of a DVD using Handbrake, as an AVI with MP3 (you probably want a ridiculously high bitrate, as it will later be converted to AIFF, before being converted to whatever you want.) I was able to open and play the AVI with Quicktime Player (and the help of Flip4Mac to handle the AVI video encoding–which may not be necessary just to access the MP3 track–I already had it installed.) I was able to trim the combined audio and video to the starting and ending point desired using Quicktime Player, then export the trimmed portion of the audio to AIFF using Quicktime Player’s export function. If you want another format, you can convert it with iTunes.

  10. Thanks for this step-by-step guide, couldn’t be any easier. On occasion though, the speed of my resulting mp3 is too fast, like doubled. Any suggestions on what I’m doing wrong or missing?

  11. Pingback: 6-4 Dumb Man » Ask TUAW: Xbox 360 and PS3 networking, extracting DVD audio, JVC video files, and more

  12. Francisco J López

    How can I choose multiples chapters ((choose a start and end chapter)?

    Thank you,

  13. Somehow it doesn’t seem to work
    Everytime I keep getting an error.
    “couldn’t find the proper codec”?????

    I installed ffmpegX using the guide on the website.
    Also installed te required add-ons

    What am I doing wrong???

    Please help.

  14. Pingback: links for 2008-07-14

  15. Great tutorial, the first part worked like a charm. However the audio track in my case was a PCM and ffmpeg refused to recognise it. XLD converted it nicely though to aiff after a bit of trial and error and guessing of the required parameters for conversion.

    Many thanks Ross, this was very useful.

  16. Pingback: How to extract just the audio stream from a DVD? -

  17. HELLLLLP!! Okay here is the deal… ALL i want to do is grab the DVD file .IFO that is the MENU SCREEN for a movie i have. THe menu screen is where the PLAY, SPECIAL FEATURES, BONUS MATERIAL etc… the movie is Friday the 13th. I want that file its about 35 seconds long that just loops but it’s the only audio i can find that has the best sounding F13 Theme. HOW DO I GRAB THIS .IFO file? anyone that can help would be highly appreciated.


  18. Pingback: One method of ripping just the audio from a DVD | MacRevu

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *