Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Recording the Kalimba:
Making MP3 Files

Part of the joy of recording your own kalimba music is sharing it with other folks - your friends, people browsing your website - or, perhaps your kalimba instructor? (If you'd like kalimba lessons, you can contact me.)

However, regular CD quality WAV files are very bulky - about 11 MBytes per minute. This takes up a lot of space on disk and takes a long time to send over email. Many email hosts won't permit emails as big as a minute of CD-quality sound.

SO, the thing to do is to convert your recording into an MP3 file, which is a compressed file format. Part of that savings is accomplished by throwing away the highest frequency information, so MP3's lack the crispness, clarity and definition found in truly high quality audio. MP3 quality is about that of an FM radio broadcast, which is plenty good for most applications.

But before you can convert an audio file to MP3 using Audacity, you need to download the LAME MP3 Encoder. Just as GNU stands for "GNU's Not Unix," LAME stands for "LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder" - even though it actually is (it just didn't start out that way when first invented).

Then next time you run Audacity, you can EXPORT AS MP3. Audacity will ask you where you stored the LAME library file (hopefully you will remember!), and then BAM, you're OFF TO THE RACES.