i'm new to recording, and am using an ALESIS MultiMix 8 firewire mixer and a studioprojects B1 microphone with my laptop. the mixer came with Cubase LE trial software, and when i try to export files to mp3 from cubase they sound washed out and are very soft, almost like an underwater effect. When i export to wav, they sound much better. any ideas as to why this is? i really know nothing about the different filetypes, but i was under the impression that wav was old and shytey compared to mp3
I don't know if this is a serious post or a wind-up, but if serious ...
.mp3 is a compressed file format - It loses parts of the audio waves to make the file size smaller and more accessible for download. The more compression used, the lesser the file size but the more the audio loses dynamics and frequency range as a compensation. It is only better in the fact that if you were putting songs into an Ipod or similar then you can have many more mp3 than .wav due to file size. .wav is uncompressed 16 bit 44.1 Khz CD quality audio and SHOULD sound more polished and dynamic than mp3.
What bitrate is the mp3 being encoded at? 128 Kbps is a fairly typical rate but this is not transparent, most observers believe that 192 Kbps is close to being 'transparent'. Is the encoding being done by a Frauenhofer algorithm or a Lame algorithm - this is subjective, but many believe the Lame encoder to be superior. Cubase LE gives limited options for mp3 - you could try and download CD-EX a freeware ripper that encodes mp3 from 64 to 320 KBps using Lame encoder and try encoding at 160 or 192 KBps minimum. It also encodes .wma, .aac (apple's preferred codec) and ogg vorbis.
good luck. Also if cubase le is not your thing, there are other freeware recorders like audacity which work well for zero bucks.
P.S. - If you use CD-EX(or other ripper software) to encode your mp3's you rip from the .wav file that you produced in Cubase LE...
I 2nd using CDEX, its a great program! If your not having good results with MP3's you might bring up the bit rate to 192kbps and above or better yet use the Ogg vorbis format. .ogg sound much better than most other lossy compression formats (mp3) the only issue with .ogg is they are not yet compatable with all editors/players. But if your looking to save space/archive it is by far a better format!