High(er) End audio quality

Hi everyone,

First my compliments for the developers of Shortcut. Your doing a great job and I wish I had discovered Shotcut earlier.

Here is my question: As an amateur composer I wish to upload my compositions and Music to Youtube. Unfortunately Shotcut seems to be concentrating on Graphics more then on Audio (This is my personal impression). As I look at the different Audio rendering possibilities. I can choose a whole lot of different settings. Can you give my some advice which format I could choose to enhance my Audio?

Thanks in advance for your reply.


Ideally, use an export format that supports uncompressed or lossless compressed audio. That means not MP4 or WebM even though YouTube encoding guidelines suggests using MP4 with AAC compressed audio! If you can tolerate the long upload time, try using ProRes (there is a preset for this). The default preset outputs uncompressed audio, but you can also change Export > Audio > Codec to “alac” (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), which will save a little space.
If you cannot tolerate the upload speed, then just use MP4 default export settings but crank up the AAC quality all of the way by setting the bitrate to 512k.
Yet another option is to start with defaults (click Reset if needed to get back to default), change Format to “matroska” and Audio > Codec to “flac” (Free Lossless Audio Codec). Give the filename a “.mkv” filename extension.
I hope that helps.

Thanks for your quick response!

I’ll try your suggestions in a few days and, of course let you know what works best for me.

When I export the audio from the program I use (Cubase) I already have to convert the audio-file to “Wav32”.
Then I have to synchronize it with the (separate) video of the recording itself. It doesn’t seem to be possible to record Cubase + audio at the same time, like you would with a video-game.
Anyway, like I said I’ll give it a try :wink:

P.s. The upload time isn’t a problem, I’m a patient guy.

YouTube is going to resample your audio and video no matter what.

You might consider the effects of uploading one audio format and having YouTube transcode it to AAC as part of their mandatory resampling.

If the upload times become daunting you could test audio uploaded as AAC and audio uploaded in some lossless format and transcoded to AAC by YouTube and see if there is a perceptible difference.

Thanks Chris319,

That’s another tip I’m sure going to try.

Before you worry too much about audio quality on YouTube, consider that not everyone will be listening on devices that are optimal for best audio quality and dynamic range.

I have this problem with live music videos I shoot then edit for a club. I spend a lot of time editing the audio for best reproduction, but still people listen on their cheap phones and then say things like ‘It’s a bit tinny’…
All well and good if you listen to the playback on high-end audio equipment, but cheap phones or laptops? Waste of effort on those people :slight_smile:

1 Like

I should have put it more clearly:

If you can tolerate the upload time, upload a lossless audio format and let YouTube transcode it to AAC. Just make sure the format has truly lossless audio. If you want less upload time, I’m thinking you’ll be better off going AC3 → AC3 after it’s resampled by YouTube.

Thanks Steve,

I know exactly what you mean :wink:

Hi Chris,

The upload time is no problem. I had to google the translation “lossy audio” but I get your point :wink:
Thanks for your reply.
I think my best strategy is to try Dan’s advices and then use Youtube to trans-code it into AAC.


Here is a handy tool you can use to estimate the upload speed. You will need to know the upload speed of your Internet connection which you can find out using the ookla speed test program.


You should test to see if YouTube can handle flac or alac audio tracks if that’s what you go with.

Hi everyone,

Well, I tried multiple formats and settings. The result varied from a file-size of 3Mb as large as 3.5Gb. As Youtube won’t allow a size bigger then 1Gb (unless you are a professional user) I settled for a file which is 23Mb (audio & video).

The (original) exported audio-file was 65Mb in Wave-format. Due to limitations in my current software I can’t use Flac or another extension. So I ended up with a upload file of 23Mb.

I’m about to upload this file to Youtube and trying the advice of Chris (transcode to AAC). I hope there will be something left of the audio quality.

Anyway, the “problem” i have is NOT with Shotcut but with the several format-changes I need to use to create a usable Video file. This problem starts with recording from Cubase which won’t allow recording Audio&Video at the same time, so I have to use a screendump program to capture the video and the (limited) export settings in Cubase. Then I have to synchronize both with Shotcut. Next step is to export the resulting video (including audio) to the best possible quality. Finally Youtube itself likes to “eat” some audio-quality also.

Going to upload it within the hour (whish me luck) :wink:

Thanks for your tips and suggestions.


Youtube accepts files up to 128gb at this point https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/71673?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop

What software are you using that won't export FLAC?
Strike that I see you’re using cubase, if you have the option(IE if your system is powerful enough) you might be able to sync things using something like VLC to stream it locally directly into shotcut although that would be a lot of work for what’s likely a small improvement.

Limit is 128Gb or 12 hours.
You just need to verify your account.

I listen to a lot of people that make their music with their own home studio.
I’ll watch their video, which in almost every video I watch, is a linked SoundCloud link.
"What types of files can I upload? You can upload AIFF, WAVE (WAV), FLAC, ALAC, OGG, MP2, MP3, AAC, AMR, and WMA files. The maximum file size is 5GB. "
For many artists don’t upload that much to YouTube, like Arius. :slight_smile:

Hi D_S

Thanks for the advice.

I seem to have a problem with the settings of my hardware (Synth, Mixer and Pc) in general. I have to do a “work around” to get my ‘studio’ working. My system is powerful enough I7-7700, 16Gb and 2xSSD.
I’ll have to fix this first (problem with Port-settings).
I’ll keep your advice in mind.

Thanks Steve :+1:


I didn’t sign in on Soundcloud (yet) but I visit it regularly:musical_score:.

How bad is YouTube’s impact on your audio quality? Have you listened to it? Are you starting with AAC?

Hi Chris,

I’ve uploaded the ‘final version’ which was only 26Mb (Audio + Video). There is a loss in quality audible but I’m the only one how can listen to the composition in 'Full hq" so I notice a loss in dynamics mainly. I also searched (before uploading) to enhance the sound-quality using a Youtube editor but I didn’t find the option.

My upload / internet speed is no problem at all.

Thanks for your interest and reply :wink:

Did you upload AAC?