Smaller is beautiful (also when podcasting)

I have just discovered Michael Geist’s lecture Our Own Creative Land: Cultural Monopoly and the Trouble with Copyright has been podcasted (text version also available).

I have an issue with this file. The problem may be only mine (or maybe not). My mp3 player has only 256MB as storage capacity. I know this is not much, but the podcasted file is almost 56MB. IMHO, the file is huge, considering that it contains a lecture (no music in the background or similar).

Analizing the mp3 file, it seems that it has been encoded with stereo and 128 kbps frame rate. Setting encoding parameters to mono and 32kbps frame rate, the resulting file has 14MB. The resulting file is four times smaller, since the compression rate is four times smaller.

Listening to both files on my mp3 player (no iPod), I don’t hear any significant difference between both files. Maybe I should visit the doctor or 32 kbps and mono as settings are enough for an audio file containing only human voice and no music. I know that Michael Geist has nothing to do with mp3 encoding. But it is important for the people at Rabble Podcast Network, because they probably will not have unlimited storage capacity and unlimited bandwith. If their podcasted mp3 files are smaller, it is not only me the one who benefits with more free space and faster downloads, RPN also benefits form less bandwith usage and less hosting space used.

How did I get this? Using lame on GNU/Linux (but there are Windows and MacOS X versions too and they work the same way). This program is a command line application, so you have to type:

lame -m m -b 32 input.mp3 output.mp3

Just in case you wonder, syntax is explained typing lame --help on the command line.

Of course, there are other programs that could generate the same result as the above program. It is only one of them, but with the command line you see exactly what you will get.

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