Exporting A Sequence
When you are satisfied with the editing of your audio project, you need to export your mix to the correct audio format for the given destination.
Audio Format Types:
Waveform Audio Format (WAV) - This is an uncompressed audio format developed by Microsoft and IBM. It is generally used for professional audio applications. Since it is uncompressed, it generally makes a very large file size and is typically not suitable for the Web.
Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) - This is an uncompressed audio format co-developed by Apple in 1988. It is generally used for professional audio applications. Since it is uncompressed, it generally makes a very large file size and is typically not suitable for the Web.
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC, .M4A, .M4B, .3GP, .MP4) - This is a compressed audio format that works much like the MP3 format. It is well known due in part because it is the format of all iTunes music and podcasts. Most mobile players like iPods, iPhones, Zunes, Zens and PSPs are capable of playing AAC files types. Web browsers can play AAC with help from plugin players like Apple's QuickTime.
MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) - This is a compressed audio format that gained enormous momentum in the late 90s from peer-sharing services like Napster. It is by far the most ubiquitous audio format. Because it is compressed, it has the potential to experience sound quality degradation if re-encoded. (i.e. re-editing an MP3 that has already been compressed)
While AAC is gaining lots of momentum in the industry, and is expected to replace the MP3 format, for now the ubiquity and acceptable quality of the MP3 format makes it a good choice for multimedia. For now, this tutorial will focus on exporting audio to MP3.
Exporting MP3 using Soundtrack Pro 2
Note: mp3 export is only available with Soundtrack Pro 2.
Go to the File menu and choose Export.
Choose MP3 File for the File Type, 128 kbps (or more) for the Bit Rate, and 44.1 kHz (or 48 kHz) for the Sample Rate. If you have stereo audio, you should chose the Stereo option under channels, otherwise choose mono. Mono is recommended for multimedia production since it produces smaller files, and only requires one microphone when recording.
NOTE: If you want to use the audio in a Flash project, you should pick AIFF, since this file type can be imported directly into Flash. This way Flash will not re-encode an existing compressed mp3 file.
Pick a folder for the file (such as the Audio folder on your computer or external firewire drive), and click on the Export button. Your audio project will be mixed into a new, single MP3 file.
Generating Compressed QuickTime Audio for the Web
MP3s will work on most Web browsers, but they do so by opening up a browser plug-in that can vary from computer to computer. You have the option to utilize a particular player for better control over the user experience. QuickTime is one such player that can easily integrate into Web pages.
The QuickTime player becomes QuickTime Pro when you register (pay for) the product. This gives QuickTime Player the ability to transcode between dozens of media formats.
Launch QuickTime Pro and click on File...Open. Navigate to the folder where you have the AIFF file you exported from Soundtrack Pro, select the file and and click OK. Your AIFF file will load into QuickTime.
Now click on File...Export and pick a folder for your final compressed .mov QuickTime audio file. Change the output filename if you like (being sure to keep the .mov extension).
At the bottom of the file panel in the Export section, select Movie to QuickTime Movie from the picklist, then click the Options button.
The Video section of the next panel will be dimmed out.
In the Sound section, click the Settings button and select:
The panel should now look like this:
Click OK. The QuickTime export panel should now look like this:
Be sure to enable Prepare for Internet Streaming and select Fast Start as the streaming type (unless your audio will live on a QuickTime Streaming Server rather than a regular Web server, in which case you should selected Hinted Streaming)
Click OK and the compression process will begin. This may take a few seconds or much longer, depending on the length of your audio file.
When compression has finished, compare the file size of the original AIFF to the file size of the exported .mov audio file.
Then compare the audio quality of both by double-clicking them and listening to them carefully in an audio player.
If you're not satisfied with the sound quality, experiment with other options in the Settings for the Sound panel described above (we've found these settings very satisfactory for general purposes).
If you now want to embed the QuickTime audio in a Web page, go to the tutorial on Adding Multimedia Elements to Web Pages.