A Step-by-Step Guide to Extracting Audio from Video Files with Ease

An illustration of a mic and headphone

Sometimes, we want to extract the audio track from video files to use them separately for different purposes. This audio extraction process can be done in different ways. In this tutorial, we'll learn about extracting audio from video files and saving them in the form of MP3 files. We'll take a look at different types of tools to achieve our goal. Before we move ahead, I must emphasize that using copyrighted audio for your projects and commercial purposes should be avoided at all costs. Use stock or adequately licensed audio to avoid any copyright claim. So, let's get started and learn to extract audio tracks.

An illustration of a mic and headphone

I've included 4 different methods of audio extraction in this tutorial. You can try out each one of them and can select the one you find the most convenient. I generally prefer command line tools for the same.

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Remember, no matter which method or tool you're using, if the file size is large, it may take significant time to complete the audio extraction process. Without wasting any time, let's look at the first method.

1. Use Online Conversion Websites

The simplest and easiest way to extract audio from video files is to use one of the online conversion websites. This method doesn't require you to install any application on your computer.

Although these websites are quite secure, you may think twice before uploading a personal video or a video having sensitive information.

One of the popular conversion websites you can use is Convertio. It can be used to convert MP4 video files into MP3 audio files. Here's a step-by-step process to do audio extraction.

  • Upload the MP4 video file either using a file picker or simply dragging it to the upload box. The free plan enables you to convert video files of up to 100MB in size. If you want, you can upload multiple files at once. Uploads from Dropbox and Google Drive are also supported.
  • Once uploaded, advanced users can also tweak and customize the audio stream settings like bitrate, frequency, volume, etc. Generally, you never need to change these settings as all we want is the same audio track present in the video file without modifying its attributes.
  • Finally, click the Convert button to kickstart the audio extraction and conversion process.
  • Depending on the file size, the processing and conversion time can vary. Once completed, you'll get the Download button to save the converted MP3 file.

Free version converted files are kept for up to 24 hours. After that, they're deleted permanently. If you're keen to install any specialized software for this conversion process, this option is your best bet.

2. Use a Desktop Application

If you're not comfortable uploading your video to online conversion websites, one good option is to install video-to-audio conversion software on your desktop.

And, one such application is VLC Media Player which is free to use and works like charm when it comes to extracting audio from a video file. Let's see how it works.

  • Open the VLC player and open the Media dropdown menu as shown below.

    Convert/Save option in VLC media player Click the Convert / Save... option. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + R to quickly access this option.
  • A dialogue box will appear. Click the Add... button and select the source video file from which you want to extract the audio. After adding the source file, click the Convert / Save button.
  • A conversion dialogue box will appear. First of all, select the Audio - MP3 profile as shown in step one below.

    Dialogue box to convert video into audio file Now select the destination folder and filename in the second step. Ideally, choose a different folder and a unique file name for the .mp3 file. Now, click the Start button to complete the conversion process.

After the process is complete, you can find the audio file in MP3 format in the destination folder you provided earlier.

3. Use a Command-Line Tool

Savvy users or people who're a bit technically sound when compared to an average user—prefer command-line tools. We'll use the popular media conversion tool FFmpeg on Linux to extract audio.

We're demonstrating its use on the Linux platform because—generally—Windows users prefer to work with GUI applications. Let's learn to extract audio from video files through this command-line utility.

  • First of all, install FFmpeg on your Ubuntu machine through the following command.

    sudo apt install ffmpeg
    Before installing it, you can optionally update your system packages as well.
  • To extract audio, from a video file, use the following command.

    ffmpeg -i /path/to/source-video.mp4 -vn -acodec libmp3lame -q:a 4 /destination/audio-file.mp3
    The -vn flag excludes the video part. The -acodec flag is used to specify the codec to be used for MP3 processing. And lastly, the -q flag is all about the quality of the audio stream which ranges from 0 to 9. The default is 4 that we've chosen in our case.

While using this command, make sure you've correctly specified the source file and the destination file name. And double-check if you're not overwriting an existing file.

4. Use a Video Editing Software

And last but not least, if you prefer full-fledged video editing applications, or already own one, use that to extract audio streams from your video files.

Although these applications are overkill if only audio extraction is sought, using an existing installation on your system can be one of your options.

Following are some of the popular video editing applications you can use for the same.

  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • CyberLink PowerDirector Ultimate
  • Pinnacle Studio Ultimate
  • DaVinci Resolve Studio

Remember, these applications are quite expensive. So, if you just need a utility to extract audio and have no other requirement for advanced video editing, use the other 3 options mentioned above.


Extraction of audio stream from a video file is not a complicated process—if you have the right tool. It depends on your preference which tool you want to use for the same.

Of all the options mentioned above, online conversion websites are best for extracting audio when the size of the source video file is small. But, if your video contains sensitive information, use a utility or application that works locally on your system.