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Compressing large MP3 file
May 7, 2006 2:45 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to compress a large mp3 file (70MB) to something that I can send via e-mail on AOL (limit 11 MB)? WinZip only compresses it to 68 MB? Any free programs do the trick?
posted by quintno to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
 
Mp3's don't compress very efficiently.

Google for WinRAR. It will let you split the mp3 into several rar files, which you can then email.
posted by sveskemus at 2:56 AM on May 7, 2006


mp3 files don't compress very much, since compression techniques have already been applied by the program that made the mp3 files. You could however use something like ZipSplitter to split the file into smaller parts, send them along as needed, and have the recipient clear the AOL account with each transmission, to free their email space limit. Once all the pieces of the file are received, the end user would have to link them up again, to listen to the file, but ZipSplitter can make self-assembling multi-part mp3 splits, according to the shareware blurb for the program.

Or, you could get the AOL account holder to use something like Gmail, where the file size limit isn't an issue.
posted by paulsc at 3:00 AM on May 7, 2006


something like Gmail, where the file size limit isn't an issue

I'm pretty sure Gmail won't accept single files larger than 10 megabytes in size.

I didn't realize the 11 mb limit was for the AOL account as a whole, though. That's pretty bad and a good excuse to switch to Gmail.
posted by sveskemus at 3:05 AM on May 7, 2006


I'm pretty sure Gmail won't accept single files larger than 10 megabytes in size.

I thought this as well, until was accidentally sent a 13 MB attachment the other day. Now I'm not so certain, but I'd agree that 68 MB will likely fail. Split it into RARs, as suggested above.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:11 AM on May 7, 2006


You could upload the file to YouSendIt. If you enter the recipient's email address they will get a link to a page from which they can download it.
posted by Olli at 3:12 AM on May 7, 2006


Olli FTW. I should have thought of that. It'll be much simpler because the original poster and the recipient of the mp3 won't both have to download and install a new program.
posted by sveskemus at 3:15 AM on May 7, 2006


Oh, and by the way, from Gmail Help Center:

What's the maximum attachment size?
With Gmail, you can send and receive messages up to 10 megabytes (MB) in size. However, the precise amount allowable will depend on the attachment.

When you add an attachment, the size of a file may increase because transport encodings are automatically added. (Transport encodings are the information that allows your message to be safely sent and read.)

This means that in some cases, attachments that are 6 to 10MB in size may push the total message size above 10MB. When this happens, Gmail displays a warning that your message exceeds the 10MB limit.
posted by sveskemus at 3:18 AM on May 7, 2006


IIRC Audacity will do the trick. It is an open source audio editor, and I believe you can increase the compression on the mp3. You will reduce the audio quality as a function of the file size.
posted by Manjusri at 4:06 AM on May 7, 2006


DropSend is another service like Olli's YouSendIt suggestion.
posted by sexymofo at 4:09 AM on May 7, 2006


I second Olli's suggestion of YouSendIt, although I personally get better speeds out of Rapidshare and there are lots more suggestions here for similar services where you upload a file to a web page. I suggest you send the link to the recipient via your normal email rather than using the built-in emailing function, since I don't trust these companies not to sell email addresses to spammers.

If you're determined to send the file by email, both you and the recipient will need to have compatible file splitting software, since mp3s are already compressed and it's impossible to compress them much more without losing audio quality. Certainly going from 70MB to 11MB will result in a much worse sounding track.

sveskemus's suggestion of WinRAR will certainly do the job, but it's shareware and costs $29 to buy for each user. When I want to split a file on a computer without WinRAR installed, I usually download hjsplit, which is freeware, extremely simple to use and runs from a single executable without installation. (I assume from your reference to WinZip that your computer runs MS Windows.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:18 AM on May 7, 2006


As other posters have pointed out, you could transcode it down to an acceptable size. However, you will lose a lot of quality. One media manager software I use has on-demand transcoding of files to fit a requesting client's pipe. Normally I use this to trim most audio down to 96 Kbps for when I am listening in work or something. However, a while ago I found myself in a friends with only dialup AOL. I was surprised to find that after connecting to the music server over the dialup connection, I could transcode the file way down to 3 Kbps and it sounded... okay. Basically, like an old-time 78 RPM. But it was a kick to have access to all my songs over dialup in real-time. So it can be done for AOL connections, and it sounds recognizable, but just barely.
posted by meehawl at 4:58 AM on May 7, 2006


Oh, and by the way, from Gmail Help Center

I know they publicly state a 10 MB limit, but here's some evidence to the contrary. I'm not sure what the actual limit is, but I have a feeling that Google, being the nice co. that they are, do offer some leeway.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:57 AM on May 7, 2006


What is the content of the file? For spoken audio you can compress it to 32kbps mono and it will still be just fine.

I keep getting annoyed by podcasts broadcasting a single voice at CD quality, it can easily be reduced to a fifth the size.
posted by tomble at 6:02 AM on May 7, 2006


I'll third YouSendIt.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:46 AM on May 7, 2006


As others said, skip winrar and the like. Just use one of the MANY free file hosting services out there.

I'm very fond of esnips. And you can upload BIG files, you just have to use their special toolbar to do so. I've uploaded an mp3 just like you want to do. You get a total of 1 GB of space.

I've also used Zupload and rapidshare. They all work fine as do things like Yousendit.

Good luck! The Web 2.0 is truly a fascinating place.
posted by bim at 7:32 AM on May 7, 2006


WinZip will split files into multiple zips of any size you specify.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:36 AM on May 7, 2006


There are two seperate questions being asked here.

1) Is it possible to compress a 70MB mp3 to a 10MB mp3?

Almost certainly not, unless you re-encode it. MP3 is an audio codec, which means (roughly) that it already is compressed, and neither WinZip, WinRAR, gzip, bzip2, nor any other standard compression utility will succeed in compressing it much.

If your mp3 is encoded in say 192kbps CBR but you don't mind (quality) a 32kbps encode, that will save you a factor of 6, at which point you can probably get it down to 10MB.

2) How do I send a 70MB file over the Internet to someone?

This has been answered very well already. Assuming you have a reasonable upload speed on your Internet connection, your
best bet is probably to use one of the many free file hosting programs mentioned.
posted by jhscott at 9:36 AM on May 7, 2006


One more offering of YouSendIt-style services: I Want To lists all sorts of sites, and has a category for "share / send large files to people".

Re-encoding the file is a great idea if you don't need the present quality. Case in point: I have Fridgesoft HardDiskOgg recorder set up to start at the press of a hotkey. (Desktop shortcut.) It's my "omg I need audio of this!" button, inspired by the voice-recorder button on an old WinCE device. I've got the recording software set to dump CD-quality stereo WAV files to disk, since I might have a stereo mic plugged in, and I might want the frequency response.

Usually I don't need all that. I use the button for recording phone calls, verbal notes to myself, and snippets of audio from the built-in mic, which isn't so hot. The CD-quality WAV files are a bit over 10 megs a minute, a bit much for storing phone calls. So I have a little batch file, which I run against the WAV files, that transcodes them down to 32kbit/s mono. That brings disk usage down to about 240k per minute, much more manageable.

I'm using LAME to do the encoding, with scads of command-line options because I'm just like that. For GUI folks, I'd concur with the suggestion of Audacity. But all this only applies if you're okay with reducing the quality of an already-compressed file. To just send the monster as it sits, use YouSendIt or something.
posted by Myself at 8:35 PM on May 7, 2006


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