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We record vocal sound via the Creative - Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD soundcard and its dedicated recording software.

the settings are :

  • 96 KHz
  • 24 bit depth

I would like to convert it to mp3 with the best quality/file size ratio.

How should I do this and which software should I use?

Thanks to all.

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To get the best audio quality in your final lossy-eccoded audio file output at the smallest possible file size, you have to do 3 steps:

  1. sample rate convert from 96kHz to 44.1kHz, because the lossy formats do not support 96kHz

  2. dither the 24-bit file to 16-bits because the lossy formats do not support 24-bits, and if you don’t dither, all you are doing is chopping off the top 8 bits, which sounds terrible

  3. encode the audio into MP4 AAC, not the much lower-quality MP3 that MP4 replaced — MP4 AAC playback is built into the hardware of every single audio-video player made since about 2002, so there is literally no reason to use MP3 — and a 160 kbits MP4 AAC will have equivalent sound to a 320 kbits MP3 that has double the file size so you get “the very best MP3 sound in half the file size,” or you can do MP4 AAC 320 kbits to get the ultimate lossy-encoded audio quality.

So you will go from 24/96 WAV to 16/44.1 MP4 AAC 160/320 kbits. That will be a dramatic file size reduction but a relatively small loss of audio quality for voice material.

The software you use will have to have this feature checklist:

  • 96 kHz audio support
  • sample rate conversion
  • dithering
  • MP4 AAC encoding.

I do these processes in Logic Pro X, but that also includes many features like multitracking and software instruments that you probably don’t want, and it may not be available on your platform, so I can’t really give you a software recommendation. But generally speaking, you will want pro-oriented software to get the above features.

If you are not going to do the sample rate conversion and dithering, you will actually get better quality in your final 16-bit 44.1kHz file by simply recording in 16-bit 44.1kHz in the first place.

  • Might be better, long-term to record at 88.2kHz rather than 96, to avoid the awkward math downsampling to 44.1 - or even just work at 44.1/16 anyway, as you already said; double-frequency & high bit-rate can be a bit hard on a less-than-stellar computer. – Tetsujin Feb 27 '16 at 11:34
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Best quality in terms of mp3 bitrate will be 320kbps that will lead to a 10-20Mb file size of an normal 3-5 minute track.

Wave to mp3 conversion can be done with just about any audio tools (even with the free ones like Waveosaur or Audacity). If not included in the software, be sure to use a proper codec (encoder) - you can find the lame mp3 here: http://lame.sourceforge.net/

  • this file size is very big !! – user4249446 Feb 25 '16 at 16:17
  • Then you can have 128kbps mp3 (lowest static bitrate that sounds good) or vbr around 256 that will lower your file size even more than 128kbs but there's a chance that it won't be played correctly on certain devices – Dalv Olan Feb 26 '16 at 7:49

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