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How to make an MP3 file smaller?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by oniman7, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. My band's trying to upload a song to ReverbNation. It's roughly 4 minutes, instrumental, and only has 3 tracks. However, when we converted it to MP3 it was 35 MB. Reverbnation only allows us to upload up to 8 MB (up to 25 for mega storage) and we need to know how to compress it, yet still upload in MP3. It suggested we upload in a lower quality.

    The song was recorded in Garageband on 3 tracks, uploaded to iTunes, and converted to MP3.
  2. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    Check your MP3 conversion setting. It was probably on 320kbps, which is near CD-quality and results in the largest size file.

    192kbps is very good quality and smaller. The usual setting is 128kbps, which knocks down quality but results in a much smaller file.
  3. 128kbps is low quality, and I'd avoid it if you can. You can hear it in the cymbols and other higher frequencies, as they get washed out and they'll sound funny. It's why a whole lot of stuff on Youtube sounds crappy - in their early days, they'd automatically convert all uploaded audio to either 96kbps or 128 (I forget which), and a whole lot of the videos with that bit rate are still up on Youtube. It sounds terrible.

    I'd go at least 160, which is sorta comprable to CD quality (although not exactly - apples and oranges). Better yet is 192. Most audiofiles can't hear the difference between CD and 192, with 192 generally considered to be superior to CD quality. Again, it's comparing apples and oranges (although I am not familiar enough with the technology to know why). It's more or less the standard these days for uploading. It used to be 128 or 160, but I think people got sick of hearing 128 garbage. I know I did.

    When you go to export the CD, Protools, Windows Media, or whatever file, there should be an option somewhere to choose a bit rate. There are programs out there that'll convert a 320kbps mp3 file to a more managable 192, but then you're resampling, which degrades the quality fast. It's not exactly the same, but you'll effectively end up with a file that has a bit rate of, say, 192, but effectively be the same as a 160 due to the resampling. Go to the source and re-export or re-"Save As mp3".
  4. My understanding (which is admittedly limited) is that CDs are effectively at about 160, and 320 is just a much higher rate, the highest rate that .wav files can get to. Am I mistaken?
  5. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Nothing wrong with 128kbps when encoded properly with a good encoder especially for website purposes. I've fooled many an audiophile with my methods. For the purpose of website file size restraints, feel safe to use mp3's encoded at 128kbps. A site like Reverbnation is NOT a site that attracts Audiophiles to peruse.

    Also, can you split the track up into individual files?
  6. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    +1. They may even re-sample anything you upload and play it back at 128kbps anyway.
  7. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    You can also help the quality while keeping the file size low by using the VBR (variable bit rate) option if your encoder handles it.
  8. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    CD is wav file and is at 1440! But 160-224 is good for most.
  9. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    1411, actually. I believe that CDs use an uncompressed linear PCM audio format that is different from a .wav file, although a .wav file could be of equal quality.
  10. I use Ogg/Vorbis as my final compression for files I want to send via e-mail if I don't feel like using my FTP.

    There are also some fine-tuned forks for Ogg, most notably aoTuV, that offer better audio quality, particularly at low bitrates.

    From WIKI:
    One can access the GNU/Free Ogg protocols via Audacity, as well as LAME for it's mp3 encoding at various sampling bitrates from 4KBits on up.

    Ogg/Vorbis (Official Xiph.Org Foundation Vorbis) at rates of -q1 & -q2 are pretty close to mp3 @128, but with better resolution in spite of the analog pre-echo on O/V

    In essence O/V is VBR anyway - Variable BitRate.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    An MP3 encoded at 320kb should be around 12 megs. Still too big for your upload, but the point is something is not right with your file. What did you use to encode it?
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I don't think Reverbnation accepts Ogg files.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    My thinking is that is was not an mp3. May have still been a wav file. I agree. A 4 minute mp3 even at 320kbps should not be 35mb in size.
  14. So far I've not had anyone say they couldn't play an O/V file I sent them - whether their machines pull down a stand-alone support file or what, I cannot say.

    But O/V seems to run on most OPSYS I send to - I wonder what would make Reverbnation so different?
  15. I just looked:::

    Too bad - and they have a Mega limit of 25MB too.
  16. They only take MP3s, and the Mega song Storage (a $40 charge or so) increases the limit from 8 to 25. Here's the process we took:

    Recorded drums
    Recorded bass
    Recorded guitar
    Recorded multiple vocal tracks (close to 20) but then scrapped all of them and deleted all of the tracks, leaving only bass, drums, and guitar.
    Then we export the song to iTunes. At this point it's an .aif file

    And now I think is where we might have gone wrong. I remember laughing at the drummer's method of simply changing the file extension to MP3 by clicking the file name and re naming it. I wonder if this somehow adds extra un-converted space or something.
  17. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    In that case, you didn't convert it to MP3 at all. It is still an .aiff file, albeit an incorrectly named one.
  18. The compression algorithms are all different and that renaming won't work.
  19. I just went with it. It seemed to go through a conversion process, and Reverbnation accepted it.
  20. The thing about Reverb Nation is not that people visit it, but that it's apps and music players can be plugged into other websites like Facebook or a wordpress website, which get much, much higher traffic (potentially) then Reverb Nation.

    The question is whether or not it's worth getting a quality recording to the average listener/web surfer or not. My thought is that it is, as I think there's an unconcious thought that most users have of "that sounds lousy for some reason" or "that recording sounds better on this website then on Youtube (or wherever)."

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