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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



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.



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


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


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


4 – import WAV, export MP3

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


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.


The file will then be saved.


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.