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How to Use FFmpeg to Extract Audio

using free audio converter FFmpeg command-line tool

I love command line tools. How about you? Command line tools use a concise interface (CLI) to interact with human rather than a graphic user interface (GUI). They usually allows you to complete task in high efficiency without frequent mouse clicks. Today, I will show you how to use the powerful and free video and audio command line tool - FFmpeg to extract audio from video file.

How to Use FFmpeg to Extract Audio

First of all, download FFmpeg and use Winzip, WinRAR, or 7-Zip to extract FFmpeg to a folder, for example, D:/FFmpeg. No installation needed. Then, open Windows command tool through Start -> Run and input "cmd", hit OK, then you will see a windows with black background.

ffmpeg audio extractor

To extract audio from a video using FFmpeg, simply go the folding containing FFmpeg and input command as follow. Before that, you need go to desired folder using "cd" command, e.g. "cd FFmpeg"

FFmpeg.exe -i video.mp4 -vn -ar 44100 -ac 2 -ab 192 -f mp3 audio.mp3

This FFmpeg command will extract audio track in video.mp4 file to an MP3 file with sample rate 44.1Khz (CD quality), stereo, and 2 channels. Below is a short explanation of the FFmpeg command parameters:

ffmpeg.exe: run ffmpeg the free audio extractor
-i :"input video file"
-vn:"no video"
-ac:"audio channels"
-ar:"audio rate"
-ab:"audio bit-rate"
-f :"file format"
audio.mp3: the extracted audio file name

More commands for FFmpeg

This section will help you improve your FFmpeg skills. FFmpeg can do much more than extracting audio from a video.

# extract audio from video for Blackberry music
ffmpeg.exe -i video.mp4 -acodec libmp3lame -ab 160k -ac 2 -ar 44100 blackberry-music.mp3

# extract audio from video for PSP (libfaac codec required)
ffmpeg.exe -i video.mp4 -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ar 48000 -ac 2 psp-music.mp3

# split a portion of audio file
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.mp3 -t hh:mm:ss[.xxx] -ss hh:mm:ss[.xxx] -f mp3 -y split.mp3
note: -t for duration; -ss for split to start, optional if starts from beginning; xxx stands for milliseconds, which is bracketed for optional.

# combine audio and video (wav and yuv)
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.wav -s 640x480 -i video.yuv final.mpg

# identify the audio file
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.wav

# convert wav to mp3 with FFmpeg
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.wav -acodec mp3 -ab 192k audio.mp3

# convert wav to ogg with FFmpeg
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.wav -acodec vorbis -aq 60 audio.ogg

# convert wav to mp2 (resample from 44100 to 22050, stereo to mono)
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.wav -acodec mp2 -ac 1 -ar 22050 -ab 64k audio.mp2

# convert mp3 to wav for CD
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.mp3 -vn -ar 44100 audio.wav

# convert mp3 to wma
ffmpeg.exe -i audio.mp3 -acodec wmav2 -ab 160k audio.wma

#see the codecs and formats that ffmpeg can work with
ffmpeg.exe -formats