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How to Import Songs from Windows Media Player to Audacity

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/25/2010

If you would like to import songs from an audio CD into Audacity, you could easily do it via Windows Media Player, eliminating the need for an audio CD ripper program.

  • slide 1 of 5

    What is Audacity?

    If you have any experience working with digital audio software programs, you will have heard of Audacity. This is one freeware digital audio editing program that rivals the versatility of some of the "payware" programs.

    Among the impressive features that come with Audacity are: recording from microphone, importing and exporting of audio files in WAV, AIFF, AU, MP3 and OGG Vorbis, editing audio files, and adding effects.

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    Audacity Limitations

    Versatile though Audacity is, it’s not without limitations. Chief among them is its inability to import songs or music from audio CD.

    Now, importing songs or tracks from an audio CD is a tricky affair. You can’t just copy these tracks to your computer and start playing or editing them as you would do with a CD with MP3 tracks.

    Audio CD tracks are in the cda format with each track about 44 bytes in size. Logically, this can’t be the size of an audio track. The small file size actually contains the header information of the audio stream in the audio CD.

    So, you can’t go to Audacity and click Project>Import Audio to bring a cda track into the audio editor’s timeline.

    This limitation would see the need to use an audio ripper program to extract the audio CD tracks into a recognizable format like WAV, AIFF or MP3 before you could work with them in Audacity.

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    Windows Media Player Workaround

    Before you run out an purchase an audio CD ripper program, consider this workaround if you use Windows and have Windows Media Player (10 or later). Windows Media Player will allow you to rip an audio CD to MP3 or WAV format, the two formats which Audacity will recognize.

    You would not want to rip the CD to Windows Media Audio formats as they would not be recognized Audacity. If you rip as WMA files, you would need an audio converter to convert them to formats recognizable by Audacity.

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    Ripping CD

    To do this, you will want to click on the Rip tab on Windows Media Player and then set the file format you want the audio CD track to ripped to. You will also want to set the bit rate to a quality you desire.

    Once you have your WAV or MP3 files from your audio CD tracks, you are ready to edit them in Audacity.

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    How to Import Songs from Windows Media Player to Audacity

    1. Launch Audacity.

    2. When the program is running, click on File>Open

    3. Navigate to the folder where you have stored your ripped audio tracks. Import your MP3 or WAV files into Audacity.

    4. You can enter the necessary audio settings for the imported clips. Audacity will convert your files to your desired settings and you can start working on them.

    5. Play back the files in the Audacity timeline to determine if everything works well.






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