Compression Settings for Audio Files

Posted on by Larry

logo-compressionHere’s a cookbook for compressing audio files for distribution via the web. This assumes we want to create the smallest files with the highest audio quality.

Whether you use Apple Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder or any of a wide variety of audio compression applications, these rules all hold true.

BASIC RULES

You don’t really need to compress audio files. They are small when compared to video. However, the larger the file size, the longer it takes to download and web audiences today have a very short threshold for waiting.

Given that, here are some rules that can help you determine compression settings.

CREATE MP3 FILES

audio001

For music files, use:

For single speaker spoken word files, use:

If your spoken word file has lots of sound effects, incidental music and/or lots of stereo effects, use:

CREATE MPEG-4 FILES

audio002
For music files, use:

For single speaker spoken word files, use:

If your spoken word file has lots of sound effects, incidental music and/or lots of stereo effects, use:

SUMMARY

While it is true that every file is different, these settings will work fine in most instances. Give them a try, then tweak as necessary.

As always, let me know what works best for you.


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2 Responses to Compression Settings for Audio Files

  1. Philip says:

    Hi Larry, I have appreciated your insightful teaching style and knowledge since… what? June 206. Wow.
    I have to disagree, however about audio settings for Music Videos.
    Heres the thing – my experience is that musicians seem to be able to “hear” the difference between .AAC and PCM. So what I have taken to doing is delivering them a Pro Res 422 with “uncompressed” PCM audio (48, 24, little endian, bitrate of 2,304 kbps. as opposed to AAC 48, 16, 124 kbps.
    I wish I could export to h.264 (or Mp4) with PCM audio instead of AAC but Final Cut Pro X does not have that preset, right? I mean MP4 wrappers use AAC only?
    I have tried tricking them but no go. The kicker is that they do not archive these files, they post ’em to YouTuBe and then delete them. We know what YouTuBe does to them but Musicians are a special breed. Like arguing with a 4 year old.
    Keep Up the Great work, I hope your transition is a perfect fit.
    Your Pal,
    Philip

  2. Philip says:

    I meant June 2006 — Vol. 1 No. 1 of Edit Well (which I kept a Pdf of.

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