Perhaps 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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!