Import MP3 or WAV for best quality?

Hi, I hope to get a definitive answer to this question: Is it OK to import MP3 files (vs. WAV files) into Articulate, or does it re-compress them or reduce the quality in any way?  I believe the answer is provided in this article, but want to be certain: http://community.articulate.com/tutorials/products/importing-an-audio-file-into-a-presentation.aspx

Also, if I export audio as WAV via the Audio Editor, then re-import those new files, I assume that it converts the mp3 to WAV, then back to MP3 when re-imported. Am I correct to assume this will degrade the audio quality?

Thanks for any insight!

9 Replies
Greg Pettys

Hi, mp3 can be a problem because it is highly compressed, always use wav files if possible until the final outputs. where I have had problems is, a client sends an mp3, you edit then publish, this is the second time its being compressed and can sound bad. If you need to use mp3, use a high kilobit rate like 196. what I do is take the clients mp3 and bring it into a converter like WMA MP3 converter and make them into wavs, then import them, edit and publish, this works well. Greg

Jill Freeman

Thanks, Greg. Starting with a high bitrate MP3 is a good idea.  But, if you convert the client's MP3 to WAV, doesn't that still change/degrade the file in some way? And then it is compressed when made Articulate converts it to an MP3 again?  This is why I am considering requiring SME's and narrators to send me ONLY WAV files.

Brian Batt

Hi Jill,

If you're starting with a high quality MP3 file, then I'd recommended importing that file directly into Articulate instead of converting it to a WAV file first.  This will reduce the number of "turns" that the file has.  However, if you can import a high quality WAV file directly into Articulate, then that will give you the best results.  Just make sure that your WAV files are 16 bit 44 KHZ PCM.

Jill Freeman

Brian, thank you. That is what I thought to be true.  So to answer the second part of my question, it may be good practice to export all audio as WAV from Articulate when each course is completed - to have them for any future needs. BUT, if/when they are imported back into Articulate, they will take a hit in quality as they are re-compressed. Correct?

Brian Batt

Hi Jill,

Yes, but the degradation will be very minor.  It's only after several conversions that you'll begin to hear a difference (assuming you're converting from and to high quality versions).

Here's a video example of what happens when you reupload and download the same video file over and over:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/04/youtube-video-uploaded-10_n_601066.html

(It's not audio, but it gives you a good idea regarding the theory.)

Phil Corriveau

Brian Batt said:

Yes, but the degradation will be very minor.  It's only after several conversions that you'll begin to hear a difference (assuming you're converting from and to high quality versions).
Totally agree.  Although I always import WAVs into Articulate, whenever I need to edit an existing slide audio, I regularly export previous content out as WAVs from Audio Editor to edit and re-import.  I--and I believe just about anyone else--would have a very hard time noticing a difference.  Keep in mind that Articulate converts any imported WAVs to 192Kbps MP3s--which is an excessively high bitrate for voiceover content.