Add "voice" to the MP3 export presets

When going to File > Export > Export as MP3 (in the Windows version), there is a section called Format Options at the bottom of the dialog, which provides several ways of configuring the settings that “lame_enc.dll” will use when generating the MP3 file - including the Insane, Extreme, Standard, and Medium presets.

I would like to request for Audacity to add the “voice” preset here too. It’s the equivalent of running “–preset voice” on the LAME command line, and it results in an MP3 file that uses 56kbps ABR, mono, and 32 kHz frequency. It’s a very useful preset for things like recordings of lectures, meetings, lower-quality podcasts, etc.

Note: using the “Average” setting in the Format Options, and selecting 56 kbps for the Quality, doesn’t give the exact same results: specifically, it doesn’t change the frequency, whereas the voice preset sets the frequency to 32 kHz.
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I think that would be too confusing.
For audiobooks (obviously “voice”?), the recommendation is “be a 192kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR) at 44.1 kHz”

According to the documentation here: LAME - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase

–preset > voice is only available in the command line front-end, and is there for compatibility.

How would it be confusing? In the drop-down menu for Quality, you would include the resulting bitrate, as the other presets already do - eg:

“Voice, 56 kbps mono”

Then it’s abundantly clear to anyone what they will get when they use this preset. No confusion involved! :slight_smile:

Audiobooks are a different category - they require a higher quality, need to be in stereo, and aren’t necessarily always voice-only (eg. they might contain sound effects or background music).

The purpose of the voice preset, as noted at is for “very low bitrates” for things like recording the radio - or situations like recording a university lecture, seminar, church message, etc, where higher bitrates aren’t needed and don’t make sense.

192 kbps CBR is definitely way, way overkill for this purpose. For the voice recordings I’m making, any bitrate over 56 kbps is literally indiscernible, as the source recording is low-quality. So the voice preset is exactly what I need.

The fact that it’s just there for compatibility doesn’t mean it can’t be used, or wouldn’t be beneficial to use, in Audacity! :slight_smile:

Set the “Project Rate” (lower left corner of the main Audacity window) to 32000 before exporting.

Alternatively, use the command-line option: Exporting using an external encoder program - Audacity Manual

No confusion involved!

You should spend more time on the forum. New User Audiobook People go from Facebooking their kids in Schenectady between cups of tea to sorting what RMS means in an AudioBook technical voice submission. Yes, you do have to know that.

Everything is already in heavy MEGO territory for the performer and calling a ratty quality setting in the MP3 production chain “Voice” is begging loudly for trouble.