How to Compress Your Podcast Audio Files in iTunes - dummies

How to Compress Your Podcast Audio Files in iTunes

By Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi

Portable media devices and computers can play MP3 files as a default format. While there are many other audio formats in existence, MP3 is quite common and the preferred format for podcasting. If your recording software can output straight to MP3 format, your life is much simpler. In Audacity’s case, you need to download an add-on file.

If you are using a different audio editor and can’t export directly to MP3, another option is Apple iTunes. It does many things for the podcaster, including converting a wide variety of audio file formats to MP3. Yes, it’s from Apple, but the Apple folks made sure to create a version for Windows also.

iTunes
Apple iTunes, available for both Mac and Windows platforms, can create MP3 files from a variety of audio formats.

After launching iTunes, follow these steps to convert your audio file:

  1. Choose File → Add File to Library.
    Or you can press ⌘  +O (Mac) or Ctrl+O (Windows).
  2. Browse for the audio file you want to convert and then click Open.
    Your file is now in the iTunes Library.
  3. Find the audio file in the iTunes Library and click to select it.
  4. Choose File → Convert → Create MP3 Version.
    Your file is converted to the MP3 format. The progress screen that indicates your file is being converted.
MP3 file compression
Under your Preferences tab, you can select what degree of compression you desire for your MP3 files.

The default file format for iTunes file import is AAC. If your menu doesn’t have a Create MP3 Version option, go to iTunes Preferences (File → Preferences on a Mac, or Edit → Preferences in Windows), under the General tab, Import Settings button, and change the Import Using option to MP3 Encoder. The Settings should be at least Good Quality (128 kbps); if you include a lot of audio design in your podcast, select Higher Quality (192 kbps). Now your files will be imported and converted to MP3.

Congratulations — you just recorded your first audio podcast! Easy, isn’t it? This is merely the first step into a larger world, as Obi-Wan once told Luke.