Trim and export an audio without changing the file type and quality

Hi, I downloaded an audio file which has m4a extension from youtube. I imported it to audiacity and trimmed it. now I want to export it without touching anything else like extension or quality, as if I never edited it. Is it possible, if yes how?

My other question is, I extract sound files from tv shows (mostly remux, high quality) and I crip some parts of it to study language in audiacity and export it as seperate files. The point is that I don’t want to lose any quality of the original audio file in any way. What should I save it as, in what format and with what values? Or, related to my first question, can Audiacity save the tracks I cut from this file in the same extension with the same quality, without touching anything of the sound file I extracted from this movie? As an example, here are the audio file values I got from a TV show:
too old to die

Now how can I export the extracted parts of it again with the same quality? Thank you in advance. By the way Im newbee, I just learned that there’s a great program like Audiacity and downloaded it, tried it just a couble of days ago.

When you open a compressed file in Audacity it gets decompressed. If it’s a lossy compression format and you re-export in a lossy format you’re going through another generation of lossy compression and SOME “damage” generally accumulates. It may sound the same but you should try to minimize the number of times it’s re-compressed.

If you export to WAV or FLAC there is no additional damage.

AAC/M4A is actually an exception. It can be re-compressed multiple times without accumulating quality loss (assuming the same or better bitrate setting).

When you “download” a file from YouTube there might a WAV or FLAC option depending on what software you’re using to “steal” the audio. These are lossless formats so you only get the 1st generation quality loss from whatever compression YouTube is using, and then one more generation if you export in a lossy format.

If you “download” as a lossy format the audio will have gone through at-least 2 generations of lossy compression by the time you get it on your computer and 3 generations after you edit and re-export as lossy audio from Audacity!

Audacity can also record whatever is playing on your computer without (additional) lossy compression.

mp3DirectCut can do limited editing on MP3s & AAC files without decompressing. (AAC is the same as MP4 or M4A.)

Some video editors have something called “smart render” where only the changed parts of the audio & video are re-compressed but I haven’t seen that exact same thing in an audio editor.

Thank you for your long explanation. I downloaded that software as well.

This is what I understood from your explanation, I hope I got it right:

After editing any audio file with Audiacity, when I export it, I have to select wav or flac.

Other than that, if I edit MP3 or AAC and MP4, M4A is the same, I can use the program you mentioned.

So what encoding should I choose, 16 in the wav file? How do I determine this?

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