Unfortunately, some of the audio uploaded onto Headliner needs to be re-encoded to ensure that it is processed/clipped properly on our editor. This is, more often than not, due to that source audio being encoded in what’s known as a variable bitrate as opposed to a constant bitrate.
Headliner.app automatically detects and re-encodes VBR audio when it’s uploaded onto our app in order to prevent this issue from interfering with your projects. This means that, outside of needing to wait a bit extra for your audio to be re-processed, you won’t need to do anything extra to avoid this issue. However, if you’d like to circumvent this step/optimize your audio for our app and for other editing services, you can learn how to do so by reading the info below.
What is a variable bitrate?
A variable bitrate (VBR) is a type of file compression that dynamically shifts the quality of your file based on the amount of data being used at different points throughout it. Variable bitrates have, historically, been used/optimized for playback on streaming services and devices and can lead to decoding/sync issues when used on video or audio editors such as Headliner.app.
How can I tell if my file has a variable bitrate? How can I fix this?
If you’re running into this issue with your audio and your file is an MP3, there’s a good chance that your audio is encoded with a variable bitrate. You can confirm this though by opening your Digital Audio Editor (DAW) and by reviewing your export settings.
Some audio editors, such as Audacity, use variable bitrates by default/on their preset mp3 settings, so it’s always worth reviewing and making sure that you adjust your settings to explicitly use a constant bitrate. Additionally, some editors like Adobe Audition do not refer to them as a variable or constant bitrate and instead use the labels as “fast” or “high” under their codec quality in order to refer to variable/constant bitrates respectively. If you are unsure which type of bitrate you’re using on your DAW, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and send us the audio file in question via this link.
Audacity’s MP3 preset export settings use a variable bitrate and are not recommended for files that will be edited further. Audacity’s user manual recommends switching to a constant bitrate for podcasts, specifically.
Additionally, if your podcast host re-encodes your audio for you, for example, due to providing dynamic/non-dynamic ad insertion to your episode or any other similar service, please make sure to test/send us that specific file. Even if your file was not a VBR MP3 when you exported it, some podcast hosts may re-wrap your audio in that format due to adding additional content to your episode.
Are there any other ways to fix this?
VBR audio files can be converted into a CBR format after it’s been created from any audio editor or most file converters (assuming they provide that level of customization for your file). While we recommend re-encoding your file from the original source project, you should also be able to fix your audio by simply converting or re-exporting your mixed episode into a new file in a constant bitrate.
Just a reminder though, Headliner.app automatically will do this for you if you upload VBR audio onto our app, so there’s no need to do this unless you’re planning to upload multiple episodes to our app and would like to batch-convert these files to cut down on re-processing time.
For more information on VBR audio and how it might affect your audio on other apps similar to ours, we recommend checking out this article on the subject.