mp3 File Import Problem

Hi Everyone,
I’m in the process of transitioning from Audition to Audacity and I’m experiencing some technical issues in regards to importing audio files initially created on my smart phone into Audacity. I use a PC and my operating system is Window 8.

Here’s my issue:
I record from my smartphone and then convert the files to .mp3 by right-clicking and renaming them with the .mp3 extension. I’ve had no problem playing and working with them in Audition, but they do not play in Audacity. What happens-- I click play and hear a loud-pitched “squeak” for a split second. However, when I import a file into Audacity that was created in Pamela for Skype, which is an mp3, it plays in Audacity with no problem.

I tried a few different ways of importing the files – as a raw file, and also dropping and dragging, but the same problem occurs. I also tried to install the FFmpeg library, but when I installed the library, Audacity could not locate it even though it is on my system. I’m using the latest version of Audacity and made sure to use the correct FFmpeg exe file. I also downloaded the zip version just to see if there was some sort of hiccup, but I still ended up with the same problem. If anyone has any insights, I would really appreciate your help!

Thank you,
Kara Gott Warner

Changing the file extension does not “convert the files”. The file extension is just part of the name, and many programs (particularly on Windows) rely on that part of the name to know what sort of file it is and how to handle it. For example, if you have a digital photograph called “photo.jpg” and you rename it a “photo.mp3”, the photograph will not suddenly become an MP3 audio file, it is will be a .JPG image with the wrong file extension.

What was the original file extension of the smartphone file?

Almost always true but rename to MP3 does work in some cases where extensions are arguably misused:

Is your smartphone a Galaxy?

Are you following Audacity Manual? If you are still stuck with FFmpeg, please attach the log file from Help > Show Log… top right of Audacity.


Hi Gale,
I’m aware that I cannot rename a file to convert it, but I do in fact use a Galaxy 3 and I can convert them to mp3 in windows and the audio quality is quite good. The native files created are on the phone are: MPEG-4 Audio Files. I also have recordings from a Galaxy 2, and those were created as 3GA File (.3ga) files.

When I convert the files to mp3, the audio plays in all my audio players- itunes, window media player and Audition, etc., but not in Audacity. I also record podcast guests with Pamela for Skype, and that creates and mp3, which plays no problem in Audacity.

At this point, I’m just hoping to figure out how to make these files work.

Thanks for your help!

Is that “conversion” just a rename to MP3 extension or something else?

Certainly if the MPEG-4 files were encoded with MP3 inside an MP4 container, Audacity should be able to import them without FFmpeg when named as MP3.

If they are named as MP4 then FFmpeg is required. I have posted a link to how to install FFmpeg.

It is possible you may need FFmpeg to import the 3GA files that were renamed to MP3. I don’t have an example of such a file to know exactly what file Samsung writes as that “3GA”.

Please feel free to post examples of a “3GA” and “MPEG-4” file online so we can examine them. Alternatively you can download “MediaInfo” from MediaInfo - Download MediaInfo for Microsoft Windows and post the output from that for example files. Get the MediaInfo version without installer, because the installer may have malware or adware.

If you can’t install FFmpeg after following the instructions, please post the log as requested.


As noted in my first post, I already tried to import the FFmpeg library. The library could not be recognized. You can see that I tried it a few different ways.

To answer your question: Is that “conversion” just a rename to MP3 extension or something else? Yes, I’m renaming them as “mp3” after I download to my computer.

I’m not sure what you mean by “MPEG-4 files were encoded with MP3 inside an MP4 container.” The audio files created on the Galaxy are MPEG-4 files, not mp3.

Hmm…maybe I need a different recorder or keep on using Audition until I figure this out, although I’d rather figure out how to start using audacity. I cannot attached an audio file to this post because it is too large.

You need to install, not import, the FFmpeg library. I posted the link about how to install FFmpeg. Here it is again Audacity Manual.

Unfortunately we cannot see your computer, so as I asked twice now, we need to see the Audacity log to help you with any FFmpeg problems there may be.

I do suggest you look at the pink panel at the top of this page and ensure you have Audacity 2.0.6 from Audacity ® | Download for Windows. If you have some other Audacity version, FFmpeg from Audacity Manual will not be recognised by Audacity.

If renaming the “MPEG-4” files to MP3 causes them to play, they probably contain MP3 audio, despite the name (extension) they were given.

MP3 and MPEG-4 are two different methods of encoding audio. MPEG-4 audio files are usually put in an MP4 “container” that therefore identifies them as MP4, and given MP4 or M4A extension. M4A is just a different extension for an MP4 file that only contains audio.

However sometimes, MP3 audio files are put inside an MP4 container. Depending how this is done, it can confuse some applications, and apparently confuses most of your applications until you rename the files to MP3.

How large is it? Can you post it online to dropbox or sendspace and give us a link to download it?

If not, then please obtain MediaInfo from and unzip it. If you need 7Zip to unzip it, it’s here Then post the information that MediaInfo gives about the file.

Without the Audacity log, an example file or some reliable information about the files, there is nothing much we can do to enable you to import the files into Audacity. However if you can play the files in other applications you can record them into Audacity as they play. To do that please see Audacity Manual.