In the interest of space and for sharing purposes, I would like to convert my final mixes from wav to MP3 format. I use Reaper and it doesn't allow for rendering to MP3 without some other 3rd-party program that I'm not too sure about. What is a reliable (free?) way to do this?
The most reliable and free way is to use Reaper. I use the 3rd party mp3 plugin with Reaper all the time, it's great. I don't understand why you'd be wary of it? Why use a separate program when Reaper can mix down and export to mp3 perfectly with a ton of bit rate and extra options? It works fantastically
Last edited by AxSilentxLine at Apr 23, 2015,
You can also just set iTunes to convert to mp3 when importing songs (it's in the Preferences options) and import the tracks, if you use iTunes.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Okay, so I decided to use Reaper to render to mp3 and the quality is noticeably lower than pre-rendered. I used the default bitrate of 128kbps. Do I need to increase it or is this just something I have to get used to when rendering to mp3?

EDIT: It's really noticeable in the highs/cymbals.
Last edited by BlackFalcon17 at Apr 24, 2015,
That's normal when converting to mp3 it'll roll off at around 16/18khz

I render mine to 320kbps/24bit and don't really have any noticeable loss of quality, but that high rolloff isn't a Reaper thing, it's an mp3 thing, but rendering to 320kbps/24bit will help
Last edited by AxSilentxLine at Apr 24, 2015,
mp3 is mp3. The difference is either you export direct from reaper, or you export to Wav then convert in another program to mp3 giving you the same file, except it takes longer. It's all 1's and 0's at the end of the day
MP3 files suck but that's all we have at the moment for a compression file that can be easily uploaded to the internet. If you are looking for a lossless file format that will convert a large WAV to a file size you can email or upload that doesn't suffer significant loss of fidelity it hasn't really happened yet. MP3's suck when compared to the original WAV, FLAC or AIFF. The reality is that a lot of people use ear buds or cheap headphones to listen to their MP3 music and wouldn't know the difference.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
At mp3 bitrates beyond 192kbps, most people can't tell the difference. I know some of you will claim you can, but when you listen in a proper blind test - well, Phillips have a website called 'Golden Ears' or something (google it) with a shitload of audio analysis tests for your ears, and if you can get that far there's a whole section about mp3 bitrates and the level of quality loss, and I struggled to tell any difference at 192kbps and higher.

Feel free to try, if you're gonna make the claim you can do otherwise, as I was surprised how deceiving a proper blind test can make it
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
The Apple codec (in QuickTime and iTunes) seems to be better sounding, so does the Sony Atrac (was initially developed for minidisk) but they're not as popular.
I find iTunes and Winamp Pro doing better MP3 conversion than lame, maybe they're using the Fraunhofer licensed MP3 format although it doesn't say. I remember using Cooledit Pro back in the day specifically for the Fraunhofer converter and it did sound better. Now my mastering program (Studio one) has it built in.

You could try mixing for MP3 as well, I've done tests. It help to shave off sub level lows under 50hz, for example, it'll be less cloudy, for some reason lame especially to me does a mess with the lows.

BTW, if you get a hi end audio system, mp3 becomes unbearable. I just upgraded my tuner to Harman Kardon and there's notable difference between audio CDs and mp3, so I'm back to buying CDs.