Istalled FFMPEG driver, still cannot open MP3 files

I fully installed FFMPEG drivers and I made sure that they were recognized by Audacity, on my MAC (Catalina)

Still I receive error messages on 80% of my MP3 audio recordings (mic recordings done mostly with my two android cellphones, Xiaomi and Oppo)

Amy clue?

Amy clue?

They’re not MP3s?

Until a relatively short time ago, MP3 was a copyrighted format and you had to pay to make one. My phones make M4a files.

Right-click or Control-Click one of the files > Get INFO.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 9.12.23 AM.png
The real question is why only some of them will open.


Any ideas? Are you doing surveillance and the files are 12-hours long?

Does it only happen to one phone?

What’s the show? What are you recording?


I assume you can play the files with other software?

You don’t normally need FFmpeg to open MP3s but sometimes it helps with “imperfect” MP3s.

Audacity is more “picky” about than most software but if you can play the files you can probably convert them to WAV with a 3rd-party conversion program. (I’m a Windows guy so I can’t recommend one… iTunes might be able to convert it to WAV.)

On a technical note, this is a bug in mad (which last got updated in 2004). Audacity 3.2 will switch to mpg123 (last updated 2 days ago) which shouldn’t run into this issue. You can download the current alpha on and see if it works for you there.

I just imported those audio recordings (school lessons) from my Android phone to my MAC and parked in the downloads directory.
Then I had Audacity open those mp3 files

Now: 20% of time Audacity opens those files.
80% of time I got this error: (see snapshots below)

by the way, if the files are encoded as aac > NO problem at all.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 21.17.16.png
Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 21.16.29.png

Since you don’t like my easy solution… [u]MP3 Diags[/u] can often diagnose & repair MP3s.

It also wouldn’t hurt to check the files with [u]MediaInfoOnline[/u] to make sure they are really MP3s. That sometimes happens and if it’s actually an AAC file, simply renaming it should solve the problem.

If it’s really an MP3, MediaInfo will report:
MPEG Audio
Version 1
Layer 3

…And a bunch of other information. (But it doesn’t seem to find errors.)

Hi DVDdoug:

1.Yes, of course, I can play all MP3s files with VLC or other players

  1. Yes, I will try to convert them to wav or aac and then reopen them with Audacity

Thank you

Hi DVDdoug

Media Info Online says these MP3 are really MP3:

pls see attached snapshot

Dear LW

I have downloaded and installed Audacity 3.2.0 alpha.
Now I don’t get the error message, however the waveform does NOT appear, so I can do nothing, no audio-editing.

Maybe shall I wait for the stable 3.2.0 version? When do you expect to release it?

Thank you