You're here because you download an audio file with a .ac3 extension and want to play it. However, you have many questions about the AC3 audio file. What is it? How to play it on your computers? In this article, you will find answers. Go ahead with this article.

Part 1. What is AC3

AC3 is an audio file format, which is originally developed by Dolby Laboratories. And it is similar with MP3 audio, using a lossy algorithm to compress the file size. The .ac3 extension is a format associated with Dolby Digital, usually used for an Audio Codec 3 file. This Audio Codec 3 file supports for 6 channels of audio output, including left, center, right, left surround, right surround, and low-frequency effects (LFE) bass channel. Recently, it is also used in audio format for DVDs, Blu-ray discs, HDTV broadcasts, cinema movies, or game consoles.

Part 2. Compare AC3 with Other File Formats


AAC and AC3 audio formats are both transform coders. AAC provides a great way for 400 kbps output. But AC3 provides a bit rate of 384 kbps output, and its sampling rate is up to 48 kHz. In short, AAC is a more advanced lossless format compared to AC3 audio.

AC3 VS Opus

AC3 audio codec originated from Dolby and can play fine on Dolby-approved stereo devices. Opus is an open-source audio codec designed for interactive applications. It can perform well at low and high bit rates. But Opus only supports mono and stereo channels.

Part 3. How to Play AC3 Files

To play your AC3 file directly, you can use multimedia players like VideoLAN VLC media player and MPlayer that support playing AC3 audio on Windows and Mac. For Windows users, you can also use Microsoft Windows Media Player, Microsoft Groove Music, Winamp, CyberLink PowerDVD, etc. And for Mac users, you can also use Apple QuickTime player.

In addition, getting third-party software to play or convert the AC3 files is a great idea. You can get ArkThinker Video Converter Ultimate (macOS and Windows systems), one of the market's most popular AC3 audio player and converter.

Read the next part. You will know how to convert an AC3 audio file with a few clicks.

Part 4. How to Convert an AC3 File

Not all devices and systems support playing AC3 files directly. That’s why you need an AC3 converter to change AC3 to a common format supported by your devices like Android and iPhone. ArkThinker Video Converter Ultimate is a popular AC3 converter that supports over 300 formats conversion. It lets you convert AC3 to MP4, MP3, MP2, MKV, AVI, AIFF, DTS, FLAC, AAC, etc., and turn other files into AC3. Meanwhile, it has the fast conversion speed that helps you convert files in a few seconds. Free download this AC3 audio converter on your Windows or Mac now.

Simple Steps to Convert AC3


Upload an AC3 file

Add an AC3 file by clicking the Add Files button or the Plus icon on the main interface. Drag and drop an AC3 can also be supported.

Add Ac3 File

Set the output format

To choose one output format, you can select from the drop-down list next to Convert All to. Then, choose the output format for your AC3 file on Video, Audio, or Device tab.

Select Output Format

Start the conversion

Set the save path for your file and click Convert All to start the conversion.

Convert File Format

The following list shows concrete file format conversions between AC3 and any other format. Read and learn more!

Convert AC3 to Other File

  • AC3 to MP4
  • AC3 to MP3
  • AC3 to MP2
  • AC3 to AIFF
  • AC3 to AVI
  • AC3 to FLAC
  • AC3 to WAV
  • AC3 to AAC
  • AC3 to DTS
  • AC3 to MKA
  • AC3 to MKV

Convert Other File to AC3

  • MP4 to AC3
  • MP3 to AC3
  • MP2 to AC3
  • AVI to AC3
  • AIFF to AC3
  • WAV to AC3
  • DTS to AC3
  • AAC to AC3
  • FLAC to AC3
  • MKA to AC3
  • MKV to AC3

Part 5. FAQs About AC3

  • Is AC3 good?

    Not always. For people who enjoy watching DVDs and Blu-ray movies with surround sound, AC3 is a great choice. If it is not, AAC is not a good format for your video.

  • How do I change my AC3 to AAC?

    You can download third-party software like ArkThinker Video Converter Ultimate. It supports converting various formats between video and audio. After downloading, you can convert your AC3 to AAC.

  • Is AC3 lossless?

    Yes. You can encode audio with AC3 in a lossless format. And it can be stronger to encode with lossy AAC.


Convert Your Audio Formats Instantly

We provide all kinds of audio conversion solutions that can meet your needs. You can convert audio files losslessly and get the best quality with Video Converter Ultimate. Or you can try our online audio converter to convert your audio online for free.