Audacity tutorial:
 
   Exporting to MP3 or AAC
     


 more about
Audacity here


  Here is a tutorial on converting Wave files to mp3 or AAC (Mpeg4-style Advanced Audio Codec)
 
Original audio clip: 2hard.wav (2.4 MB), courtesy of Matt Smith
After loading this Wave file into Audacity, it may look like this:  (click image to enlarge)




Converting to other formats:

Simply select:  File > Export...


Entering optional Metadata:

Before you get to choose an export format and its specific parameters (such as quality or bitrate and frequency range), you have an opportunity to create a collection of tags and information that might be included with some exports in a header. This is called Metadata:



Suggested use: You might want to at least put your name in there (if you authored the audio's clip) and the name of the track. You can also save it as a template for future uses, so that you may not have to re-enter the same info each time, and change just the track or album title or comments.

Selecting the format

After you click on 'OK' on the metadata dialog, you'll get to choose the output format. The first set of  formats are internal to Audacity but in some cases may require an additional library or similar resource to assist in the conversion. For example, the LAME mp3 converter is needed to save to mp3 format.

Note that if you don't have the required libraries, it will tell you so when you attempt to export to it. Furthermore, it will suggest where you can download or obtain the missing pice(s).



The bottom set of formats use external programs, such as ffmpeg. Once again, you will be assisted by Audacity in your quest to find the missing pieces.


Example (1) - Saving to mp3

If you don't have the LAME mp3 installed yet, you can get it through the Edit > Preferences menu in the Libraries category:



you will likely be directed to the LAME mp3 library download for audacity, hosted by Buanzo at http://lame.buanzo.com.ar :

LAME mp3 lib for audacity hosted by Buanzo

If you like this free service offered by Buanzo, you may want to donate a symbolic dollar or two in support of hosting expenses :-)




Downl;oad and install the LAME library for Audacity. Install it, and you'll be able to restart Audacity and make use of the mp3 exporter now.

You will want to select MP3 FIles as the format, and click the 'Options' button to set the desired bitrate, quality, speed and channel mode.




Here's an example of the prior wave file, exported to mp3:  2hard.mp3

The new size is just 263 kB, just about one tenth of the original Wave. This is much easier to send be email atachments, for example, or to load to your MP3 player or iPod to listen to.


Example (2) - Saving to AAC

Here's another exmaple: Try saving to AAC format, using the external ffmpeg application.
Again, you'll need to go to the Libraries in Preferences.






Select the Edit menu and click on Preferences.


Or use Ctrl+P


Click the Download button in the Ffmpeg category: (lower half)



Find your OS version and follow the instructions to get the download to install the ffmpeg for Audacity.



When you're ready to try that export format again, you'll see an option in the Options button to set the desired quality. The minimum value of 10 gives very small file sizes, but at the cost of low quality: reduced use of low bass or high frequencies.  On the other end of the quality scale, 500 gives superior quality, but files which are larger. Still, they'll be smaller than the original Wave file.

Here are two examples, exported at lowest quality (10) and at highest quality (500):

2hard-q10.m4a (76 kB)
2hard-q500.m4a (516 kB)

And that's all there is to it. Now you can easily make your own mp3's.... for free!








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