As people that regularly read my blog I mentioned that I was having some major issues in regards to the encoding of the .mp3 file for the Global Geek Podcast. I was unable to encode the file at a bit-rate of 64 and then a sample rate of 44100khz. Audacity refused to allow this combination even though the “project” file was in a sample rate of 44100khz. Rather Audacity encoded the .mp3 at 64bps but then adjusted the sample rate to 24khz. This sample rate as you would be aware is not compatible with web based flash players. So not very useful.
It would appear that the problem that I was having was not an isolated one, other podcasters have come across this problem as well. It would appear that the problem lies not with Audacity but with LAME. LAME is the piece of software that actually does the encoding not Audacity. The limitation lies in that software. I have however sourced a solution with the help of my mate Adam – code monkey and general good guy.
The solution was not to ditch LAME as such. Rather we got hold of some software called RazorLame. RazorLame adds a powerful GUI (Graphical User Interface) to the LAME engine. I am fairly sure that it also includes some other software that meshes with LAME and the result is a top piece of software. It is open source as well which is great. As usual the interface is not that pretty but very functional and who cares about what it looks like as long as it does the job and this does more than that.
RazorLame will not only encode file but can decode files and then re-encode. Not recommended though, as I have said before .mp3 files are a lossy format and the quality deteriorates on repeated writing. But this remains a handy feature, it might get you out of a tight spot if you have lost the original file and you need to encode it again for some reason.
The big feature for me was the fact that you can mix and match bit rates and sample rates however you wish to. Makes for some interesting possibilities. But the feature that I was wanting to take advantage of was that I can now encode a file at a bit-rate of 64kbps, and a sample rate of 44100khz (or 44khz – for short). This is great because this means that we can keep the quality of the show but make the file size a bit smaller. As an estimate this means that our show will average 20MB to 22MB for 45 minutes to 55 minutes in length.
To take advantage of RazorLame you have to export the file from your audio editing software of choice as a .wav, it is this file that you select in RazorLame to encode to an .mp3. Remember to make sure you have enough disk space for this file as an hour show the file will be over 500MB. You can ten select the bit rate and the sample rate and other features that you may want to utilize. Then hit encode, that simple.
This is just another step in your editing process and one that should not be that hard to do. With the big payoff, a small price to pay.
I hope that this helps out all those podcasters out there who have had the same problem. For some reason the answer was hard to find. I dropped the problem here and in The Global Geek Podcast Blog and no-one responded with an answer. When I Googled the problem, I got my own blog entry stating the problem! So I decided to give the answer here as well!