Why your podcasts should be mono
If you are blessed with two fully working ears then everything you hear is stereo. By default you will likely record stuff in stereo. In this episode of Podcasting Made Easy I explain why it’s natural to want to produce podcasts in stereo. But there are some reasons why you shouldn’t.
Size does matter
- Stereo MP3 files will be twice the size of a mono version. This is because only half the data is needed to reproduce a mono recording than a stereo one.
- It’s also worth noting that because each of us have only one mouth that when we speak it is in mono.
- When you release a podcast you want the MP3 file to be as small as possible for lots of reasons.
- You can (roughly) upload twice as many mono MP3s than corresponding stereo ones to your hosting plan (saving space may save you money).
- Not everyone has fast and unlimited internet services; so small files mean less data use for your listeners and faster downloads.
- Keeping your MP3 file sizes as small as possible is not just about them being mono. Look at the bit rate (KBPS) too. While 128kbps is the lowest bit rate you can use to keep music sounding anywhere near listenable; with a mono recording of a voice you can go down to 96kbps or even 80kbps.
- Experiment: Create a new mono 44.1khz file in your recording app, record you voice and export at 80kbps and 96kbps. Play them back and listen for any quality issues.
- Don’t use music though, music played back at below 128k will sound rotten.
- If you have already uploaded your podcasts in stereo at a higher bitrate then – so long as you keep the file names exactly the same – you can replace them with versions of a smaller file size.
Just by the by…I used to record all my podcast as WAV files and then export to MP3. I had gigabytes of raw podcasts and thought this was crazy. So now I record my podcasts at 128k mono and export to 96k for distribution.