Converting WAV to MP3 using Audacity

A colleague asked about converting WAV audio (from a voice recorder) to MP3.

Here is a how-to for Audacity on Windows. The same general approach is appropriate for Linux too.

1 – download and install Audacity. The latest versions are available from the Audacity project page on Sourceforge.

2 – install the lame MP3 codec. Quick instructions here. Even quicker – download this and extract just the lame_enc.dll to the Audacity program directory – usually c:program filesaudacity

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3 – that’s the installation done. Next step – configure audacity for MP3 export. Start Audacity; Edit — > Preferences –> File Formats

The MP3 Export Setup is likely to be unconfigured.

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Click on Find Library and browse to the Audacity program directory – usually c:program filesaudacity

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The configuration should be successful – and you should see a message like this:

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As the quality is telephone only – next set the bit rate to be something like 64 bits per second.

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4 – import WAV, export MP3

From Audacity – File –> Open – browse for the WAV file. The file should be opened in a couple of seconds.

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Next export as MP3 – File –> Export as MP3. It is recommended that some information be provided to identity the content in applications such as iTunes, Banzai or other music players.

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The file will then be saved.

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The resulting MP3 should be around half the size of the WAV file (for this example – an hour of audio went from 64MB to 31MB).

Additional tweaking with settings and maybe Variable Bit Rate encoding could get this significantly smaller.

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