Convert WAV to MP3

I accidentally recorded a few audio files in .WAV file format instead of MP3. Is there an easy way to convert?

If the .WAV file was recorded using MPEG compression, simply rename the file to use an .MP3 file extension, and the file will play in the vast majority of MP3 player programs and MP3 devices.

Why does this work?

MP3 was designed to be a streaming format, and part of that design is to deliver the audio data in sections (called frames) and have a way to synch up to the next frame in case of loss of data, network problems, or starting playback in the middle of a stream. MP3 files often include non-audio data, called tags, at the beginning or end of the file, and player software is already designed to skip over tags to find the beginning of the first frame of audio.

Here is a conceptual schematic of one MP3 file with no tags:

[mp3 frame]
[mp3 frame]
[mp3 frame]

The WAV file format has a few extra bytes at the beginning of the file, but MP3 players will usually ignore bytes at the beginning of a file they don’t understand. Refer to this conceptual schematic of one WAV file:

‘RIFF’ [4 length bytes]
‘ fmt’ [4 length bytes]
‘data’ [4 length bytes]
[mp3 frame]
[mp3 frame]
[mp3 frame]

My WAV file does not use MPEG compression. Now what do I do?

Read rest of tutorial here.

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