How to Compress an Audio File

How to compress an audio file

You can upload a variety of audio file types to Transcribe, including MP3, M4A and WAV. Depending on the length and quality of the recording, the file can take a while to upload, but by reducing the file size, you can speed things up and get your audio-to-text transcription in no time!

It's quick, easy and free to compress an audio file without losing quality. And there are several ways to do it depending on your device and your own personal preferences.

(The compressed file might also come in handy if you're a podcaster or a journalist, or if you need to attach an audio file to an email. And it can even help to free up space on your device.)

We've compiled the three quickest and easiest ways to reduce the size of your audio files for free. Check them out!

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Should you choose lossless or lossy audio compression?

There are two types of compression: lossless and lossy.

Lossless formats keep all the original data during the compression process. This is most common for text and spreadsheet files, since it wouldn't make sense if words or cell values were dropped to make the file smaller. Since no data is dropped, the file size is bigger than it could be.

Lossy compression is more commonly used for audio and is ideal for transcriptions. Pieces of information - such as parts of the soundwave - are dropped to reduce the file size, and can't be recovered. But rest assured that this usually doesn't affect the quality of the sound much, as the difference is too small for the human ear to notice (even music you listen to on Spotify is in the lossy format!). The file size, though, is significantly smaller, making it easier to upload for transcription.

How to compress audio files

1. Use iTunes to compress audio files on a Mac

If you're compressing an audio file on a Mac, iTunes is the quickest and easiest option.

1. Click 'Preferences' in the iTunes dropdown menu.

2. Select 'Import Settings' and a new window will pop up.

3. In the 'Import Using' dropdown menu, select how you want the file to be imported (MP3 is the most-used format), and click 'OK' to exit Import Settings.

4. Right-click on the file you want to compress and select 'Create MP3 Version'.

5. iTunes will then compress the audio file and save the new file in your iTunes library.

To compress an audio file on your iPhone, or on a Windows or Android device, you'll need to use a different tool...

2. Upload your audio files to a free online compression tool

Online Audio Converter is a website that is free to use for audio compression. It works on any device, so it's a good option for compressing audio files on iPhone, Android or Windows. Simply upload the file you want to compress, and adjust the quality to reduce the file size.

You can also choose the file type you'd like your file to be compressed to, so you could change it from WAV to MP3, for example, and there's the option to compress multiple files at once too.

Download the compressed file, and you're good to go!

A few hours later, your files are automatically deleted from the servers. This is a great solution for those who want free service and don't mind files sitting (momentarily) in the cloud.

3. Download Audacity to record, edit and compress audio files

Audacity is an audio recorder and editor first and foremost, but it can also be used to compress audio files! Download the software to your Windows or Mac device, upload your audio (or record directly there), edit the file and then compress.

Audacity reduces audio files by compressing the volume. Before you export, you'll be able to listen to the recording and manually adjust the volume to achieve perfect sound and reduce the file size at the same time.

Do you need to compress an audio file before transcribing it?

If your audio file is only short, and the file size is on the small side, then you probably don't need to compress it before uploading it to Transcribe. The maximum file size you can upload via the web editor is 300MB, and while there's no upper limit on the app, the larger your file size, the longer it will take to upload. But anything above 300Mb could take a while to upload. So if your file is nearing this, it's a good idea to compress it first.

Once you've compressed your audio, simply upload it to Transcribe, and your transcription will be with you in a matter of minutes!

Download the Transcribe app or launch the online editor to get started.

Written By Katie Garrett

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How to Transcribe Audio

From doing it yourself to using Word, Google Docs or, best of all, the Transcribe App or online editor, learn how to transcribe audio with our helpful guide.

11 May 2022 #4