Properly Encoding Audio Podcasts

Last Updated: 3 years ago

File Type: mp3

We recommend that you encode your audio files as .mp3 audio files. These are the most widely used audio file types and can be played on nearly any device without downloading codecs, apps, or plugins to play them. If you have a video file, open the file in Quicktime and you should be able to export it as an audio file. It may export as an .m4a file, which you can then import into iTunes and convert to an .mp3

Bit Rate: 192 kbps

Your actual bit rate will be half of this (86 kbps), as this bit rate applies to stereo audio files. For sermons and any other spoken word podcast, it recommended to encode a mono audio file. These shows are typically longer than music audio files.

Note: If you use a different application to encode these files, you may need to set the bit rate to 86kbps. Remember that your final file size should be less than 1MB/second of audio.

Sample Rate: 44.100 kHz

Other sample rates may not play properly on all devices. 44.100 kHz is our recommended setting.

Channels: Mono

By cutting the file size in half, your audio file will stream much better and will be much less likely to need to pause to buffer. Stereo audio isn’t necessary for spoken word podcasts like sermons.

Encoding files in iTunes

iTunes offers some tools for encoding these audio files. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Import the file into your iTunes library.

    First, you need to open the original audio file in iTunes. This original file might be a .aiff, .wav, .m4a, or some other audio file, depending on how you’ve captured this audio. To open the file in iTunes, go to File > Add to Library… ⌘O  in iTunes and find your file.

  2. Go to iTunes > Preferences… ⌘,  to change your .mp3 Import Settings.
  3. Click on the Import Settings… button on the General tab.

  4. From the dropdown next to Import Using: select MP3 Encoder.
  5. From the Setting: dropdown menu, select Custom…

  6. Change the settings to what we have recommended.

    Stereo Bit Rate: 192 kbps
    Sample Rate: 44.100 kHz
    Channels: Mono
  7. Select the file in your iTunes library. Go to File > Convert > Create MP3 Version
  8. When the file has been converted, an .mp3 version should appear in your library. Click on that file and then click on File > Show in Finder ⇧⌘R to reveal the actual .mp3 file.

If your .mp3 file is properly encoded, the file size should be less than 1MB/min, so around 20-30MB for an average sermon. If your file size is over 50MB, you’ll need to adjust the settings a bit to get it below 50MB before you will be able to upload it to your DGTL Church Website.

If you’d like for your sermon podcast to be submitted to Apple Podcasts (and the many other podcast platforms that scan Apple’s Podcast Directory), see the help article Submit Your Sermon Podcast To iTunes.

Alternative Applications:
You can apply these settings to any number of applications. One of our favorites is Music Converter Pro.

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