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Best MP3 and WAV exporting quality?

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I'm a veteran voice over actor but very new to the technical side of voice over work. I've been studying other's gigs and not sure what would be the best quality when exporting the audio from Audacity to either an mp3 or WAV file. I've attached two pictures below with my available options.  

Screen Shot 2023-05-06 at 9.12.21 PM.png

Screen Shot 2023-05-06 at 9.16.53 PM.png

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I always deliver a 48kHz, 24 bit .wav file unless specified otherwise (the second option on your list). If the client specifically requests an .mp3 file, I deliver a 320kbps file (first option on the drop-down menu). 


.mp3 is a lossy (compressed) file, while .wav is a lossless  file (with no compression). .wav files will be significantly larger, but will retain more information and dynamic range for the client to work with. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, very refreshing to see voice-over actors dabbling in technical side of recording!

As a little bit of detailed answer, you should have your export setting the same as your recording settings if you are exporting ".wav" files. So if your client requests a "192kHz/32bit-float" files, check your recording settings on your audio interface driver/preferences. You probably won't experience an issue in most of the cases, but if someone requests a specific sample rate/bit depth, it is easy to spot an upsampled file.


Recording in 48kHz/24bit is enough for a lot of things, but the reasoning behind higher sample rates and bit depths are apparent when the audio you recorded will be digitally processed (e.g. vocals of a song, post-production in movies, etc). Recording at higher sample rates allows capturing sounds above human hearing. This could be beneficial in few factors:

Slowing down audio: when audio is slowed frequencies shifts places, so a 28kHz frequency could be in the audible range when the audio is slowed down.

Saturation-Compression: Processes like these do not require a high sample rate, but a high sample rate allows them to-usually-work better. With higher sample rate audio and project, your audio is much less likely to be subjected to digital aliasing. Frequencies of the high range could also affect how compression works (might trigger the threshold earlier, emphasis on compression of higher frequencies etc.), and saturation might benefit from lower harmonics of these frequencies.


An average person should not be able to distinct sample rates, but there are a lot of factors behind why someone might need a high sample rate recording. As a summary, make sure your recording settings sample rate matches your export settings. After you learn more things about recording, my suggestion is to record at the highest sample rate and bit depth possible, and downsample at the export section if your client asks for a lower sample rate. If you choose to go this route, make sure you do the appropriate research on how to do this (like "dithering", "resampling filters"). Resampling might introduce audio oddities, especially if your software is not engineered carefully by the developers, so it is better to be safe!


Hope this helps!

Edited by bubiproductions
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