For encoding mp3s I use the Fraunhofer codec that I think sounds the best. I found it in Nero program and I can record my cubase arrangements in audacity and save it as a wav file in audacity and encode it in Nero. Now it sounds good but I wonder if you can "approve" my process or suggest a better way to do it, perhaps I won't have to use all 3 programs? I should be able to script the mp3 encoding with AutoIt but that is more a programming problem than a sound engineering issue.

When I encode I select 256 bps stereo 41 khz sample rate. That setting is the lowest that sounds good. 128 or 192 is ok but 256 is good for me since I have quite a lot of drive space.

Are these settings and methods correct?

You can listen to my stuff at www.soundcloud.com/niklasr

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I suppose I can record from the mixer to DAT or from the mixer to the PC, so that I will get the sound of the Mackie mixer which is connected via USB to the computer but I also failed to record digitally which could reduce the noise. I suppose that the noise is component noise from the plexgear soundcard in the analog recording through the soundcard and that I can try with a real soundcard, or without the computer and a hardware sequencer and not use a computer at all since the background noise is computer component noise.

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    Isn't the Fraunhofer MP3 encoder supplied with Cubase by default? – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 1:34
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    Well that's certainly not the way to do it. You should have an "Audio Mix-Down" under your File-->Export menu. There you should be able to select your File Format, Audio Engine Output and the related settings there. – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 5:33
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    Are you sure the below answer by @Stoyno answers your question here? – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 5:34
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    It seems you are working with MIDI..? In this case you might have to route the VSTs you use to output bud as well. – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 8:18
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    Unfortunately it's been some time since I have used Cubase last time and I'm afraid I won't be able to recall these settings right now. Try to Google for something like "cubase mixdown vst instruments". – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 9:37

You should be able to create a Mix-Down directly in Cubase, without having to re-record your audio in Audacity and then encode it with Nero.

To export and audio file in Cubase, follow the following steps:

  1. File
  2. Export
  3. Audio Mix-Down

There you should have all the options you need, like File Format, Audio Engine Output and all related settings.

I'm also almost sure that the Fraunhofer encoder codec is included in Cubase by default.

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    @909Niklas Pay attention that the only part of your track which is within the locators (small rectangles on your ruler) will be exported. – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 7:42
  • But the files cubase create have no sound. I can create a wav file or an mp3 file but they have no sound. The wav file was 12 MB which seems right but it has no sound. – Niklas R. Aug 9 '13 at 7:43
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    @909Niklas Take a look here: steinberg.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43957 – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 7:46
  • I don't understand "the speaker button next to the record enable button". I updated the question with screenshots what's going on. The file that is created has no sound. – Niklas R. Aug 9 '13 at 8:04
  • I delselected "record enable" for all tracks and still the mixdown file is silent. – Niklas R. Aug 9 '13 at 8:08

Generally, there are two types of encoder availible: lossless and and lossy compression.

Studio applications should use lossy compression only as the last step to keep the audio quality high. In addition converting from one lossy file format to another lossy one e.g. from mp3 to aac results in a big quality loss. Even more than converting from a lossless to a lossy.

You should also export your wave file in Cubase instead of using Audacity. As the last step before distributing your audio files you can compress them lossy.

Which kpbs setting you use depends on what you want to do with it. In general you should try to use 320 CBR (constant bitrate) that VBR or lower CBR bitrates.

If you want to archive audio files and want to keep the quality high you should use lossless fileformats like flac. This results in a smaller file size than wav files but has still the same quality.

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    MP3 takes advantage of a perceptual limitation of human hearing and uses masking effect (among other processes) to reduce the size of an audio file. There is no such thing as lossless MP3 encoding. – Eugene S Aug 9 '13 at 1:27

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