File compression is used mostly for images in an attempt to reduce their size. Images are used in all sorts of ways; websites, documents, presentations, and the more they are, the heavier the document or presentation will be which is why they’re normally compressed. Images aren’t the only file type that can be compressed. You can also compress audio files.
Like images, when you compress audio files, you tend to lose some of the quality. The only question is, how much quality is lost and will it be obvious? Here’s how you can compress an audio file on Windows 10
Compress an audio file
File compression will sometimes involve converting a file from one format to the other. This usually happens when you go from a lossless format to a lossy one e.g., WAV to MP3. The conversion process will reduce the quality but the app that you use to convert it will also have an impact on the audio’s quality. This is why we recommend using Audacity to compress an audio file.
Download Audacity and install it. Open the app and drag & drop the audio file you want to compress onto the app’s window to open it. Once added, go to File>Export. Pick a lossy format to export to e.g. MP3.
Once you’ve selected the format, you need to select the bitrate for the audio file. Bitrate is to audio files what framerate is to a video file. The higher the bitrate, the larger the audio file is going to be. You can pick a lower bitrate but just converting a file from a lossless format to a lossy one will reduce its size. You can try both and see which you like the sound of better.
Change the Bitrate mode to either variable or constant, and save the file.
We started out with a WAV file that was 2.46MB. When converted to an MP3 file with a reduced bitrate, its size came out to 230KB which is a pretty huge difference.
This is simple file conversion and compression. If you want to reduce the file size further, consider using Audacity to edit out any unnecessary parts e.g. an extended silence. You can also convert the audio from stereo to mono. Remember to keep the original file until you’re done with the project. You might need it again at some point, or you might want to compress it on different parameters.
If you don’t want to lose audio quality, you can also try using the OGG format which is also lossy but will give you better sound quality overall.