When you’re planning on launching your very first podcast, it may feel like learning a whole new skill knowing absolutely nothing. Don’t you worry though, as the Vodio team is here to guide you through this jungle with a series of articles dedicated to the basis of podcasting. Today we’re diving into another essential step: choosing the file format for your episodes.
This is #3 in a series of articles dedicated to how to start your podcast adventure. To learn more, read let’s talk #1 hardware, #2 software, and #4 communication.
If you’re in a hurry, we won’t build up the tension. Here is the answer you are looking for: .mp3 in 128 kbps if you only record voices, 192 kbps if you have quite some music inside of your episode. But there is so much more to discover and learn about the podcasting world and file formats! Keep reading if you’re interested.
These letter and number mix-ups may seem like they come from our imagination but they’re no joke, there are so many different formats for an audio file nowadays that it's easy to get confused. So let's make it simple: your podcast episodes have to be .mp3.
It’s easy as that. Why? Because it is the industry standard and the only format that is compatible with all platforms that broadcast audio content to the general audience.
The .mp3 format is also an excellent compromise between the weight of your file and the quality of the audio, which is essential for distributing your podcast as well as for the listening comfort of your audience. As a matter of fact, a file that is too heavy (e.g. in .wav) weighs much more and would take too much time, memory, and mobile data for a listener to download and listen to.
Each one of them has its own specificities and usage, but they’re not suitable for podcasting. A .wav file type is reputed for its quality because the sound is not compressed and on the other hand, .ogg is a "free" (independent) equivalent to the .mp3 format. In short, you just have to remember that in the podcasting world, the .mp3 file format is king.
When you set your file format to .mp3 to export, your audio editing software will ask you what quality you would like to use to produce your file.
Here again, follow the guide:
- do you record voice only for your podcast? You can export your file in 128kbps quality and in mono (mono means that you will have only one source and the sound will be evenly distributed to the left and right. Stereo is used to play with the sound location but it is usually not needed for podcasting).
- is your podcast mainly voice, with some music? Pick 128kbps in stereo.
- if your podcast is mainly composed of music or any audio samples, pick 192kbps quality in stereo.
95% of the time, this level of quality is completely useless. The higher the quality, the bigger your file will be, and therefore the more difficult it will be for your audience to listen to or download it. Between 320kbps and 192kbps, the difference in quality in the audio is so subtle that only expert ears with the right equipment, far from the earphones used by your audience, will be able to experience it.
Of course, they do! They deserve the best possible weight/quality ratio so that they don't have to spend hours waiting for your episode to download, nor do they have to subscribe to a hundred-gigabyte data plan, and so that they can access it in the quality that suits best their equipment. This also is a way to respect your listeners and your hard drives will thank you too.
This audio file optimization is very important to us, the Vodio team. An optimal file will also weigh less on your hard drive, so it is a small gesture for the planet as well. This article is here to guide and advise you, may you host your podcast here or elsewhere. You should also know that, unlike some other hosting platforms, the audio files hosted on Vodio won’t be modified at any time - we will distribute them as you entrust us with them.
Any other questions? We have a full team of volunteers ready to answer any of your burning interrogations. Our Discord server is also open - don’t be afraid of the French there, they’re nice and speak English too! Lastly, we also have a variety of other articles for you to browse. Cheers!