There are 2 main formats you can export your audio in Ableton. The first is the lossless PCM format as either Wav., AIFF or FLAC, and the second is today’s tutorial, the MP3 format.
In Ableton, the MP3 exporting format is CBR 320, the highest quality MP3 format in mainstream music. CBR stands for Constant Bitrate and is consistent and reliable, best for music and live streaming but the overall better quality VBR stands for Variable Bitrate produces better audio quality and is best suited for on-demand video upload.
In Ableton, the native codec encodes data at a fixed 320 Kbps (Kilobytes per second) bitrate. This is the most common MP3 bitrate as it is the best quality. There are other bitrates such as 128 and 256, but these formats tend to lead to lower-fidelity audio. Now with this background, let us now export some MP3s .
How to Export MP3 Files in Ableton
Once your clips, tracks or project is ready, begin exporting by:
Open the File menu and open the export Audio/Video window.
You can also open this menu with the shortcut: Cmd + Shift + R on Mac, or Ctrl + Shift + R on Windows
Select which tracks you want to export
Make sure the length of the track is correct by manually tying in the bar values, or highlighting the clips or the session bar at the top of your arrangement view
Now enable the MP3 export toggle, and export.
When to Export Audio as MP3 in Ableton
There are many reasons you are exporting audio, and these reasons should affect your decision on which audio format to go with.
- You are finished with your project and want to send it for mastering
- You have mixed and mastered your song and you want to release it
- You want your peers to listen to the demo before master or release
- You working remotely and you want to send it to instrumentalists and vocalists to record something over it.
- You are co-producing and you are sending stems back and forth with another producer(s)
I advise that, if you are exporting for reasons 1, 2 and 5, it is better to export in the lossless to ensure that you are sending the best possible audio without risking truncation. For the 2nd reason, you may require to have both lossless and MP3.
There are instances in which you will find the utility of using the MP3 format over the lossless audio format. The lossless format comes with the high-fidelity audio perk, but also takes up a lot of space on your computer. MP3 is smaller and more compact making it easy to store and fast for transfer between devices and online. Some online platforms have a size cap on file sharing, for example, WhatsApp has an audio file cap of 64 MB, and in this instance, MP3 is the best format. Have Fun!