3 Methods To Extract The Audio From Video Files

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extract audio from videoPerhaps you’re podcasting or your requirements for ripping the audio from a video clip might be rooted in a more artistic activity such as video editing. Either way, the matter of isolating the audio track from video files can be tricky to achieve.

Fortunately there are various approaches you can take, either using your PC or employing a second device. While this solution might not be ideal, the use of a digital connection should avoid any problems with the sound quality degrading between devices, especially if you plan to copy the isolated sound back to your computer, perhaps as a WAV or MP3.

The following suggestions on isolating or extracting audio from a video file cover using a second device, employing an audio recording application and using a utility to convert the video to MP3.

Output Audio To Another Device

Your computer should have at least one audio output option, typically a headphone port, along with other options such as the standard line out or the SPDIF optical port.

extract audio from video

Choosing one of these to match the input options of any handheld recording device that you have will make it very simple to record the audio from a video clip if you don’t have access to the right software.

When making the choice of connection, go for the highest quality. For instance you might have a digital recorder with an optical port, so if a similar port is present on your PC simply connect the device, cue the video player and press record on the device. Note that this is a “real time process”, so if you have a long video the soundtrack might take a while to record!

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Recording Your Computer’s Audio

An alternative to the use of a secondary piece of kit is to take advantage of the marvelous Audacity, available from here.

After downloading and installing this software, you can use it as a digital studio for compiling tracks or as a useful tool for recording audio from source on your PC.

rip audio from video

This is done using the options on the Audacity Device Toolbar, which you will find just below the play and record options on the Audacity Transport Toolbar. Here, set the source option – indicated by a microphone symbol – to Stereo Mix (the option will have your sound card listed as a suffix).

rip audio from video

With this selected, click the record button and press play on the video clip you wish to record. When you’re done and you listen back, you might notice that the sound is a little quieter than it was when you played it as a video clip. This is likely due to the audio settings on the video player; use Effect > Amplify in Audacity to boost this up a little.

Converting Video To MP3

The third option is to use a converter application to lose all of the video information and convert the file to MP3. While the options above can be used for video played back from any source, converting is the only way of stripping the audio from a downloaded video file that sits on your computer or on a connected device.

extract audio from video

So far the most accessible free option for this is probably [NO LONGER WORKS] Free Video to MP3 Converter, although you should be warned that it will attempt to install unnecessary browser toolbars so work your way through the installation process carefully.

Once installed, the application is easy to use. All you need to do is click the Add Files… button to browse for and add the video file you wish to convert, select an output folder in the Save to: field and choose your output format and quality. When you’re happy, click Convert and wait for the audio to be stripped from the video file.


Using the first two of the described methods in the past I have been able to extract audio from various sources. The last option, actually converting the video file to MP3, is the one that has proved the easiest.

All of these solutions are suited for specific scenarios, of course – but do you have a preferred option? Perhaps you have some superior software that you like to use or a portable sound recorder that can be easily synced to your PC? Let us know!

Digital Recorder Image Via Shutterstock

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11 Comments - Write a Comment


Jouni “Rautamiekka” Järvinen

eRightSoft SUPER beats the shit out of these.



Actually, you don’t need to use any of these methods; you can just use QuickTime to easily extract or delete the video (or audio) track and save the new file, without altering the original.



I like to use ffmpeg to quickly extract the original audio without any additional transcoding, it works great. If I need to, I can reencode it to another format, but usually it’s already in a pretty nice format like m4a, so I don’t need to. Ffmpeg is a great tool :)


Usually it’s as easy as a command like this, depending on the format:
(for video with original aac audio): ffmpeg -i videofile.mp4 -acodec copy outfile.m4a

(for video with original OGG vorbis audio): ffmpeg -i videofile.webm -acodec copy outfile.ogg

(for any type of video, will reencode it into MP3, takes longer and loses quality, but puts it in a handy format): ffmpeg -i videofile.ext -acodec libmp3lame output.mp3

And you can set the bitrate with -ab 256k or whatever you want :)


Agreed, WinFF is nice GUI front end for it if you don’t want to mess around with the command line.


Ken Yoshioka

You can use MPEG Streamclip on both the PC or Mac to export the audio portion of a video clip to fuul quality AIFF files.


Z.B. Manfred

Other apps that are useful include Avidemux and XviD4PSP, both of which are Free Software. Virtual Dub is great too in that it allows you to strip the audio and save it as a .wav file. I have some DVDs that either didn’t release soundtracks or for which the soundtracks are out of print, and what I do to get the song is just cut the video file to wherever the song is playing (usually the credits) and save that to audio.

I do this a lot with TV shows because I’m something of a junkie for theme songs. :-)

Audacity is a great app that’s also Free Software. I’ve used it in the past to cut and reencode parts of songs that I later use as ringtones for my cell phone :-)


Christian Cawley

Some great suggestions here. I’ve since learned that The KMPlayer will also strip audio from a video clip!



I have been using pazura for a long time when I need to get the audio from a film. It’s free and there was a portable too




VLC can also be used for conversions.


Thank you for sharing.
There is another option. I know a great app which is easy and effective. You can capture audio from internet and save new audio files to your other devices.

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