Best audio preferences for exporting mp3s?

Ok, I’m a newbie and a half when it comes to audio sound.

What I want to know is, what is the best or most preferred sound options that most of you choose when exporting a music track as an mp3? If a song is in stereo, and if I choose stereo under Preferences/Audio I/O/Channels, does the exported mp3 retain it’s original stereo? If a song was in mono, and I chose stereo under the Preferences, what would happen? Same for vice versa, if a song was in stereo and I chose mono what would happen?

Which options should I choose under Preferences/Quality? I want my mp3 to sound as close as possible to the CD track. I want high quality and no audible artifacts. Which bit should I choose? 16? 24? 32?

I listen to my music mostly in my car and as we all know, car speakers suck so I’d like to retain as much quality as I can. I’m using Audacity to combine tracks, for example the medleys on the Beatles’ Abbey Road. I have both the stereo and mono versions that recently came out so that’s why I was asking about the stereo/mono settings.

Is there a way to overlap tracks? I can’t stand the mono version of Sgt. Pepper’s crossfaded tracks Good Morning, Good Morning and Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise, where the chicken cluck is supposed to merge with the guitar chord. The mono version has a very slight delay that causes the seam to NOT be seamless. Anyone who has heard the mono version knows what I’m talking about. What I’d like to do is to overlap that part, incremently moving the guitar chord closer to the cluck so I can make it sound as close as possible as the stereo version, which is seamless. I’ve tried cutting out the first few nanoseconds after the cluck and before the chord but it doesn’t work. Overlapping the tracks might work. Then I’d save them as one track (including A Day In The Life of course).

Also, not related to Audacity but maybe someone here knows what I’m talking about. I use a Creative media player to rip songs from CDs to my PC. I have similar questions regarding stereo, mono, variable/constant bit rates and quality. When some of you rip CDs (no matter what ripping program you use), what settings do you use? If I’m ripping a stereo or mono track, what should I choose? I’m guessing the answers are as obvious as they seem (duh, stereo for stereo) but I just want to make sure. The mono setting has a low kbps rate of 44 or so. Isn’t that poor quality? I like 320 but that only seems to be available for stereo. If I ripped a mono track to stereo, would it really matter since mono sound comes out of both channels anyway?

Please some audiophile help me. Thanks. I would experiment myself but my PC is way too slow for my patience. Opening, saving, exporting: it all takes forever.

Use “Preset > Insane (320kbps)”
(only available in Audacity 1.3.x)

I use “Exact Audio Copy” and extract to WAV. (EAC is a free program)
For undamaged CDs this produces bit-perfect copies.

There are a lot of trade-offs in compression. Almost all audio (and video) compressors are destructive. As the filesizes go down, the damage goes up. I think if you tell an encoder to create a “perfect” MP3, the compression is maybe 2 to 1 and the file sizes are very close to where they were. And there’s still a little damage.

You also need to think about who can manage what compression. If you create a nice dual-pass, terrific quality AAC file with a small size and the client can’t play it, then you haven’t gained anything and you wasted a lot of time.

Because of the damage, it’s best to edit in uncompressed WAV and then export a nice compressed sound file after you’re done. if you think there’s any possibility of more production, Export As WAV and save the whole show like that.


Yes, Audacity is a multi-track audio editor. You will basically need to duplicate your track - trim one of the up to the “join” and t’other to after the “join”. Then slide one of the tracks with then time shift tool (icon is horizontal black arrow with heads at both ends). Experiment with positioning and test - when happy do the export.

Just be aware that if you use Export Multiple to create a set of WAVs wit no track breaks between them - then some CD burning s/w will try to insert a 2 second inter-track gap *as per the Red Book standard for CDs). Most CD burning s/w has a switch setting somewher to overide this to produce a gapless tracked CD.