It is very frustrating when I run into a technical problem that I cannot readily troubleshoot and solve. This happens from time to time, but thankfully not very frequently. šŸ™‚

Tonight, the issue is about podcast mp3 files. I edited my latest podcast in Garageband 3, instead of Audacity (which has been my standby for at least 28 of my previous podcasts). I really like the interface changes to Garageband, and although it was a minor point, I was excited at the prospect of including some album art as well for the first time.

After creating an audio podcast in Garageband, when you export (SHARE) the final version to iTunes it makes a m4a file. That is in the Apple proprietary format, which must be played in iTunes. While I do want to create enhanced podcasts in m4a format, for this podcast I just want a more compatible mp3 version. In iTunes after exporting it from Garageband, I chose my importing preferences and chose CONVERT TO MP3 from the ADVANCED menu.

After copying the file out of iTunes to my hard drive, it appeared fine. It would play in preview mode and in QuickTime player. But after uploading the file first to the Internet Archive (where I’m trying to host most of my new podcast audio now) and another time to my own webserver via ftp, the file somehow becomes unplayable. The following error is displayed when I try to play it now:


I have apparently discovered the problem, which seems to be connected to the importing/encoding settings I had entered in iTunes. I had previously selected an encoding rate of 64 kbps and sample rate of 16.000 kHz. Using these settings, I changed it to 64 kbps (but for some reason it shows encoding at 32), VBR with quality set to medium, and sample set to 11.025.

This cut the file size of my 50 min podcast by half (from 22 MB to 11 MB), without a noticable loss of audio quality.

The other thing I learned is that if a Creative Commons publisher file upload to the Internet archive is interrupted, rather than trying again it is best to login to your account and replace the partially uploaded file. This is the link to the Internet Archive hosting page for this latest podcast. I have not maxed out the bandwidth for my blog server account yet, but with more podcasts and more subscribers this could be a future possibility, so I am trying to be proactive in uploading podcasts to a free server like the Internet Archive. Podcast downloads from the Internet Archive don’t count against my monthly and daily server bandwidth quotas. šŸ™‚

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5 Responses to MP3 problems with Garageband 3

  1. Don’t use VBR

    Use CBR so that your content may be played by ALL of the flash players online – remember that Flash has a 98% adoption rate on all web browsers.

    By using VBR, you are cutting them all off – and VBR doesn’t make your audio sound one bit better, and you probably just end up with a larger file.

  2. Matt Straka says:

    Ive got a Garageband 3 related export question I’m hoping someone can answer. i’ve ignorantly decided to mix the songs I’ve completed for my cd into a program using Garageband and can’t get it to mix into aif!!

    Just yesterday I was able to export it into a AIF just fine, popped right up in my iTunes list like usual. But now, when I use Send Song To iTunes, it will do the mix but then decide of its own will to then start Converting…. before I ever have a chance to intervene. It then add the M4A of my project it just made into iTunes and the AIF is nowhere to be found! I even looked for where it might be keeping that AIF mixdown while its in the converting stage, still I found nothing!

    Please help!

    Matt Straka

  3. Wesley Fryer says:

    I would recommend you just take the m4a file with QuickTime Pro and export as AIFF. That is probably the easiest workaround if Garageband isn’t cooperating and is insisting on a m4a export.

    I do find it irritating that Garageband won’t directly export to mp3, and you have to use iTunes to do the mp3 conversion. It seems Apple wants Garageband users to export to m4a format by default.

    Hope this is helpful, good luck.

  4. Aaron Hagan says:

    But I don’t want my file crushed and then expanded. Why won’t GB3 eport my files as AIFF anymore? Has anyone actually fixed it? Is it a setting? Or a patch? It’s really hindering my podcast production. Help!

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    According to the electronic documentation (help files) that come with Garageband 3, Garageband 3 files ARE exported to iTunes as AIFF files. Within iTunes, you decide whether you want to convert to m4a or mp3.

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