How To Export to MP3, AIFF, WAVE and More in Cubase Pro 10


So, you have just gotten your hands on Cubase. You have made an awesome track and now, the time has come to share it with the world. Well, at least with your friends and family perhaps.

But how do you export to audio in Cubase? First, select the tracks in the project by pressing CTRL + a.  Then, press P to open the locator bar over the project timeline. Adjust the length of this bar as you see fit. Lastly, go to File, then Export, and select Audio Mixdown. Here you can choose channels, select the file format, name your project, and choose where to save it. Press Perform Audio Export. You have now exported your project to audio.

This post gives you a detailed visual walkthrough of how to do this, as well as going through some essential information on your export options. Not only that –  you will also get an introduction to the available file formats in Cubase in this post. So, let’s begin. 

The 4 Steps to a Successful Export

Press CTRL + A to select all tracks.

Step 1. Determine What you Want to Export

Are you going to export the whole song or just one of the tracks?

By simply pressing ctrl + a, you will mark everything in the track. The tracks get darker as you can see in the picture. That is how you know it has been selected. 

You don’t need to use keyboard shortcuts to mark all your tracks. Another way to choose how much of the project you would like to export is to go to Edit -> select all,

When you hit P on your keyboard, a new bar is showing over the project (green rectangle).

Step 2. Set Locators by Pressing ”P” on Your Keyboard

After you have selected the tracks, press P on your keyboard. When you do this, you can see a new bar manifesting over the timeline. It stretches over every single track you´ve created in the project. 

If you are like me, chances are that you have a lot of excess tracks at the end of the project timeline. If you are not interested in having these tracks exported along with the main song, use the mouse cursor to drag the bar away from the unwanted tracks. 

This process leads you to the Audio Mixdown options.

Step 3. Open Audio Mixdown

Now that you have determined how much of the project that is going to be exported, it is time we actually export this thing. Go to File, then find the Export option and choose Audio Mixdown.

Step 4. Choose Your Settings in the Export Window

And now, you see a window with some options you can tweak. You can enter a new file name, the location of where you are going to save your track, and in which format you would like Cubase to convert it to. 


What do the Options in the Audio Mixdown Mean?

One thing is knowing how to perform an audio export. You would also need to know how you can get the best settings for your projects. 

After you have read this, you should have fairly good knowledge of what the most common options in the Audio Mixdown window mean and does. 

  • File Name
    This one is pretty obvious. Name your project in this option.
  • File Path
    Where are you going to save your project? On the hard drive? Dropbox? On an external hard drive/SSD? The choice is yours.
  • Channels to Export
    This lets you choose which channels you are going to export. This is a list of all available channels that are mixed down.
  • Export – between locators or cycle markers
    This option is exclusive for Cubase Pro. Here you can export to sections of your track at the same time. 
  • Audio Output Format
    Here you can insert your preferred digital audio file format, such as MP3, Wave or AIFF and adjust sample rate and bit depth accordingly. For your knowledge – 48 kHz, also known as 48 000 samples per second, is the most common sample rate in films, while 44,1kHz (44 000) is common on CDs.

Which Codecs can Cubase Export?

What follows is an overview and explanation of all the different file formats – or codecs, you can choose to convert in Cubase. 

There are lossy formats such as MP3, that are well suited for sharing online. And we have larger, lossless sound quality files like AIFF, for more professional use like broadcasting, albums, films and much more.

Lossless Sound Quality Formats

By “lossless formats”, we mean formats that keep all the original information that exists in the project file when they are being compressed. They are, in other words, unchanged from the original source. 

This means that the format contains information like sample rate, tracks used, copyright, the name of the artist, and so on. In addition, having all the original information stored makes a lossless format quite large in size.

And these are the lossless file formats you can choose to use in Cubase:

Wave

This is the file with the extension.WAV, as I am sure you have seen from time to time. Since .wav files are uncompressed and give you lossless sound quality, they are quite large. 

No wonder, since they store information like amount of tracks, whether it is mono or stereo, bit depth, and sample rate.

Main use: Standard PC system sounds, CD-quality audio, film scoring, sound design, and other professional areas.  

Developer: IBM and Microsoft

AIFF

This is also a large, lossless format, potentially taking up quite a bit of space on your computer. If you ́re not saving your exports to an external hard drive, these .aiff formats are potentially eating up GBs of your harddrive. 

Developed by Apple in 1988, this format can store metadata like the number of tracks, sample rate, bit depth, your name, copyright, etc. 

Main use: Just like .wav files, this format is well-suited for CD-quality audio, film scoring, sound design, and other professional areas.

Developer: Apple

Windows Media Audio File

WMA was originally intended to compete with the MP3 and is available as both lossy and lossless sound quality. 

And in Cubase, this file format gives you a lossless sound quality in relatively small file size

Its extension is .wma.

Main use: Some music stores are using this format to distribute music online due to the small file size. It is also a file format developed by Microsoft, so it is a natural part of the Windows Media Player. 

Developer: Microsoft

FLAC

It was released in 2001 and its extension is .FLAC. This is a lossless open source file format, and it is generally just 50% of a .wav file size. 

In some cases, the original file size can even be reduced by 80%, without losing any of the source data. 

Main use: With a lossless file format, using .FLAC is absolutely a valid alternative to .wav and .AIFF. In addition, .FLAC files are smaller in size than their fellow file formats. 

Developer: Xiph.org Foundation 

Wave 64

Wave 64 has the extension .w64, and is quality-wise sounding just like normal .wav. 

So what’s the difference? 

They can be even larger in file size than regular Wave. This is because Wave 64 uses 64-bit values, while regular Wave uses 32-bit.

Main use: This is ideal if you have a longer recording or project file sizes that exceed 2 GB. The more data, the more beneficial it is to use Wave 64.

Developer: Sonic Foundry


Lossy File Formats

While some file formats keep all the original data while being compressed, some do not. These are what we call lossy file formats. This means they have lost a lot of its original source data in the conversion. 

On the flip side, they are much, much smaller in file size compared to the lossless formats. That is why they are well suited for online sharing or music libraries on your computer/mobile phone.

And these are the compressed formats you can use in Cubase:

AIFC 

AIFC files have the extension .AIFC. AIFC offers CDquality sound, but it is compressed, meaning some data is lost from the original source. 

Main use: Most media players (like VLC) and gaming consoles use this file format.

Developer: Apple

MPEG1 Layer 3 File (MP3)

Yup, this is the very well-known .mp3 format. Despite the fact that this format compresses the sound quite a bit, it still delivers good sound quality. 

This combined with a very digestible file size has led to the mp3 becoming a very popular file format for sharing online, and for saving a lot of space.

Main use: online, sharing downloads, saving space

Developer: Karlheinz Brandenburg

OggVorbis

With the extension .ogg, OggVorbis is an opensource digital audio file format, just like FLAC.  

Main use: Just like MP3, it compresses the information quite a lot, meaning that it will lose some sound quality. It is good for online sharing, downloads, etc, but I would not make and sell an album with this file format.

Developer: Xiph.org Foundation 


Troubleshooting

Some typical problems that may occur when exporting from Cubase could be that you don’t have sound in the exported track. If that is the case, have you:

  1. Marked the tracks? (CTRL+a)
  2. Set the locators over the region you want to export? (hit P and adjust)
  3. Turned of input monitors? Just check if the tracks have a speaker icon that is checked. If it is, uncheck it.

I hope this post was helpful to you. And if it was, be sure to check out my other articles as well, such as:

Thomas Leypoldt

Hey there! My name is Thomas and I have been a film composer for over 10 years, delivering music to feature films, documentaries, video games, and commercials. I share everything I have learned on this website, to hopefully be of help to your own development as a musician.

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