Audio Encoding Tips & Best Practices

Ready to upload your audio to Simplecast, but not sure what settings should you use when exporting your final mix from your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)? 

🤓Brand new to audio editing or confused by all of the terminology? This is a great article by Aaron from the Simplecast Support Team to help get you started and give you a better understanding of audio editing for podcasts:
What Bit Rate Should I Export My Podcast Episode As?

What audio file type do we recommend uploading for episodes?

  • mp3 is the audio file type we recommend you upload for each episode.
  • If you upload an .m4a or .wav file, we will transcode it to an mp3 file. 
  • For the most control over the quality of your audio file, upload your final mix as an mp3 with 128kbps or less bit rate and your audio file will not be re-encoded and preserved in its original form.


What bit rate do we recommend?

  • 128kbps or less 
  • Note: Higher bit rate = higher quality and larger file size. The goal is to balance quality and file size. Tip: Export your episodes at different bit rates (128, 96, 64 kbps) and use your ears to test the quality to try and get the highest quality with the smallest file size. 


Mono or Stereo?

  • Mono is the most common for podcasters and recommended for spoken word podcasts and people talking (solo shows, interviews, round table/panel discussions). Mono is fine even if you have music at the intro or outro of your episodes. Mono is a good choice for most podcasts as the file size is smaller and the quality will be comparable to stereo. Mono uses one channel so what you hear in your left ear is the same as the right. 
  • Stereo is recommended for podcasts such as storytelling shows that use sound effects and music as an essential component to drive the story (think Radiolab or Serial). Stereo uses two channels so the audio in the left ear may be different than the audio in the right ear. 


What about Sample Rate, Bit Depth & mp3 Type?:

  • Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz 
  • Bit Depth: 32-bit float or 24-bit 
  • mp3 Type: Constant Bit Rate (CBR)

Adobe Audition: Sample Export Settings

What about Loudness Standards settings (LUFS)? 

Have you ever listened to one podcast and then switch to another where the volume is too low or too loud?  Loudness Standards is the solution for that.

You may not find this setting in some basic audio editing software, but Loudness Standards is a best practice for podcasters as it gives your listeners a better user experience by setting the volume of your podcast within the best practices of broadcast standards. 

  • Mono: -19 LUFS (this is the same perceived loudness as -16 LUFS for stereo)
  • Stereo: -16 LUFS

Adobe Audition Example: Match Loudness Panel to set LUFS

What software can you use to edit your audio?
Programs like GarageBand, Logic, Audacity, Adobe Audition, or even Auphonic.com are able to master and export MP3s.

Tip:
Auphonic.com gives 2 hours of free processing per month and makes it very easy to apply Loudness Standards (LUFS) to your final audio file.

Common Audio File Settings for Podcasts:

64kbps/mono MP3

Great for spoken-word podcasts, especially those with long episodes. Quality will be good and downloads will be quick due to a smaller file size. Recommended by many professional podcasters. 

96kbps/mono MP3

Also a great option for spoken-word podcasts, though downloads will be slower. Audio quality will be improved.

96kbps/joint stereo MP3

A good option if your show has music and you'd like a stereo mix. Make sure you select joint stereo so your file size will be similar to 96kbps/mono.

128kbps/stereo MP3

A great option for shows with music if you need a stereo mix. Your music will sound better, but the file will take longer to stream or download because a higher bit rate means a bigger file.


Embedding ID3 Tags

It's always good practice to embed episode information directly into your MP3's ID3 tags. This will ensure that episodes display correctly in all podcast player apps including Apple Podcasts. Apple Podcasts is capable of embedding ID3 information into MP3s, including podcast artwork. We recommend adding an artist name, album name, track name, publishing year, a genre of 'Podcast', and artwork. Learn more about tagging here

 *   *   *

Still have questions? We'd be happy to answer them. You can start a live chat with us by clicking that chat icon in the bottom right side of your screen.

Did this answer your question?