Exporting to MP3

Now we have our recording free of mistakes and sounding great, we need to put it in a format podcast apps can understand. Again, lots of the stuff below is for background and context, and the practical steps you need to take are few, and will become second nature in no time.

Podcast audio files

Podcast audio files are almost always MP3 files. MP3s are relatively small, and contain compressed audio (in this case we’re using the term compression to mean “making a file smaller”) and a little metadata (meaning “information about stuff”; the stuff in this case being our MP3.)

We’re not going to concern ourselves with metadata in this course, so we’ll skip straight to exporting your audio file to MP3.

Exporting or sharing, vs saving

Audacity and Ferrite projects can contain multiple pieces of audio on different tracks, so when we save our work, we’re saving a project that can be opened only in that app.

If we want the world to hear our work, we need to export or share our audio to a single file.

Bitrate, sample rate, and channels

The first time you come to export your audio, you’ll need to tell your software what settings to use. Your software should remember them, but if it doesn’t, you can download one of the following and print them off:

Exporting to MP3 in Audacity

📁 Audacity export settings.pdf

Exporting to MP3 in Ferrite

📁 Ferrite publish settings.pdf

  • Set the bitrate to 64kbps
  • Set the sample rate to 44.1kHz or 44,100Hz
  • Set the channels to 1 (mono)

Why mono, not stereo?

In this course, we’re recording your voice, editing it, and doing a little bit of mixing. The human voice is mono, not stereo, so we would be wasting storage and bandwidth by doubling the file size unnecessarily. Although we’re hosting with Anchor for free – and so we don’t care about their storage costs or bandwidth bills – we can make our listeners’ lives just a tiny bit easier by delivering a smaller file, with absolutely no loss in quality, since all we’re delivering is a single mono voice.

As you journey further into podcasting, you might add music or bring on guests for a conversation. Here then, instead of thinking “why mono”, we should ask “why does it need to be stereo?” The vast majority of your audio is a mono-channel human voice and there are more detriments to separating the voice out into the left and the right channel than there are combining them into one, so for now, and for 99% of any other podcast audio you produce, mono is the way to go.

Why MP3

You can upload virtually any audio format to Anchor and you’ll get something out the other side, but MP3 is essentially the lingua franca of podcast audio, so since we’re grownups, we’re going to give Anchor a file that’s ready to host, that doesn’t need any interference from them.

Lots of podcast players support AAC audio files (with the extension .m4a) which Anchor will serve if you upload anything other than MP3, but 100% of podcast players – everything from smart speakers to the cheapest iPod knockoffs – speak MP3.


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