Encoding Guidance

Guidance for Encoding MP3s

Need help encoding your music? We're here to help!

  • As our Submission Standards and Instructions mention, audio must be 16-bit, 44.1kHz stereo with a bitrate of either:
    • 192kbps (constant or average bitrate) *OR*
    • VBR1 (variable bitrate, quality = 1).
  • Both of these settings produce good results; VBR1 results in higher quality, but 192kbps may be easier depending on your software or personal workflow.
  • While some Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) allow exporting a song directly to MP3, we recommend exporting to WAV and then encoding with a separate application. This allows the most flexibility and also ensures you've got a backup WAV copy of your song if you need to re-encode!
  • We strongly recommend the LAME encoder; a good Windows frontend is winLAME. Additional frontends are listed at http://lame.sourceforge.net/links.php
  • If your DAW supports directly exporting to MP3 and you prefer doing it that way, that's fine, just make sure it supports either 192Kbps or VBR1!!
  • A walkthrough of encoding a WAV with winLAME is available below for reference.

winLAME Encoding Walkthrough

A.) INPUT FILES: Load your WAV file into winLAME

Step 1: Load your WAV file into winLAME

B.) OUTPUT SETTINGS: Choose the output location where the finished MP3 should be placed

Step 2: Choose the output location where the finished MP3 should be placed

C.) PRESETS: At the Presets list, select "Custom Settings"

Step 3: At the Preset list, select Custom Settings

D.) LAME SETTINGS: Select "High" for the encoding quality, and a quality level of "1"

Step 4: Select High for the encoding quality, and a quality level of 1

E.) ENCODING: Underneath "Encoding Control," click the arrow/play button, and you're all set!

Step 5: Underneath "Encoding Control," click the arrow play button, and you're all set!

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  • This page was last modified on 17 February 2012, at 20:42.