Convert APE to MP3

In this article, we will follow steps to convert APE / Monkey's Audio into MP3 audio. Since APE is lossless, MP3 audio would be of much smaller file size, but will lose some of the original sound that APE maintains. There are many reasons why people would wish to convert from APE to MP3; compatibility being one.

Introduction & Requirements

LAME MP3 Encoder ---> You must download the LAME MP3 encoder.
Foobar 2000 ---> This is the central application that will be used for the conversion.
Foobar 2000 APE Plug-in ---> You need to download this Plug-in for Foobar 2000 to support APE files.
WinRAR ---> You will need WinRAR to extract the LAME MP3 Encoder and the APE Plug-in, as explained below.

This process is fairly easy and should not take too long.

What is Monkey's Audio / APE?

Monkey's Audio is a popular lossless audio codec used to create very high quality versions of audio files. Since it is lossless, if you were to compress an entire audio CD to APE files using Monkey's Audio, you would be losing no quality whatsoever, and could technically reconstruct the original CD-Audio completely. Compare that to lossy compression formats such as MP3, OGG Vorbis or Musepack (MPC). Once of the biggest differences you notice immediately is the file size difference; APE files are generally much larger.

Monkey's Audio is proprietary software and so it has much less support across media players than alternatives.

Warning: Lossless to Lossy Conversion

You are about to convert a lossless audio file to a lossy compression. This basically means that some quality will be lost forever. Lossless formats only compress audio but don't permanently cut out any data. Lossy compressions, like MP3, however, do permanently remove data to save file space.

Foobar 2000 APE Plug-in

Install Foobar 2000 on your computer. You now need to manually install a plugin for APE files. Click here to download that Plug-in. Open the Plug-in with WinRAR (it is a ZIP file) and you will see one little foo_input_monkey.dll file. Now you need to go to the Foobar 2000 components folder.

Foobar 2000 Components Folder

The Foobar 2000 components folder houses all of the plug-ins that give audio support to Foobar 2000. You must now extract the foo_input_monkey.dll file from the ZIP archive into the Foobar 2000 components folder, which is located in the installed directory of Foobar 2000, usually at...

C:\Program Files\foobar2000\components

Now simply click the foo_input_monkey.dll file in WinRAR and drag it over this folder and then drop it in, as shown in the picture.

Lame MP3 Encoder

You must download the LAME MP3 Encoder and open the file with WinRAR. Just as above, you need to extract these files to a folder, which much be created first. Create a new folder somewhere on your hard drive (preferably in C:\Program Files) and give it a title "LAME".

Extract LAME MP3 Encoder

Just as we did earlier with the Foobar 2000 APE Plug-in, drag and drop files from WinRAR into this new folder, as shown in the picture. Remember you can select all the files by selecting one of them in WinRAR and holding down CTRL and A.

Add Files to Foobar 2000

Run Foobar 2000. You can simply drag and drop audio files over the program to add them to the list. Alternatively, check the File Menu for options. Add your APE files(s) to Foobar 2000.

Convert To...

Once you have added the APE file(s), right click on any file and move the mouse over Convert, then select Convert To. A new window will now pop-up where we need to input some settings.

Converter Setup

Here is where you need to set the LAME MP3 encoder for the conversion process. Select the MP3 (LAME) option under Encoding Preset. Now click the button beside this option with the dots in it and another window will pop-up.

Bitrate Settings

You will now see settings that determine the Output quality of your MP3 file. Move the slide bar to the left for a smaller file of lesser quality, or to the right for a larger file of better quality. When you are done balancing, click OK and then click OK to begin the conversion.

Please Locate Lame.exe

You will now be prompted to find the Lame.exe file. I told you to remember where you extracted the LAME MP3 encoder to and I hope that you did. Use the file browser to locate the Lame.exe file. Select the file and click Open.

Save As..

You can now finally choose the filename and directory of the MP3 file to be created. You can name it whatever you want and save it wherever you want.

Conversion Process

The conversion usually only takes a matter of seconds but it depends on the input files, the speed of your computer and other factors.


This article set out to explain how to easily convert APE files to MP3 to save space and for better hardware compatibility with your audio collection. Hopefully the process went perfectly fine for you, but if you do run into problems, please visit our Discussion Forums for help.

Version History

v1.0 --- First Version Online -- Dela (24/07/2008)

Written by: James "Dela" Delahunty
Last updated: 24 July 2008