If you're wanting to create an audio file that accurately represents the playback in your document, a WAV file will be sufficient in most cases. However, exporting to mp3 can be helpful if you are wanting to share the file via email, since mp3 files are smaller than WAV files. If you are attempting to export an audio file (File > Export > Audio File) and would like to create an mp3, but this option is not available, your playback options may be affecting this choice. Please proceed to the next steps below.
2. Available playback options
Finale has the option to generate playback sounds through Audio Units (macOS), VST (Windows) or MIDI (through SmartMusic SoftSynth, available with both macOS and Windows). Any Finale file can use either of these playback options and this can be changed by selecting the desired option under the MIDI/Audio menu in Finale. Depending on whether you have Finale set to playback through MIDI or Audio Unit/VST, the options for audio format available during export will be different.
3. So, which do I select to export to mp3?
If you have Play Finale Through Audio Units/VST selected, Finale will not be able to export directly to mp3. If you have Play Finale Through MIDI selected instead, you can then export to mp3 directly from Finale.
Note: It is not always the best option to switch your file to play through MIDI in order to export to mp3. This can cause playback sounds to reassign and, especially when using percussion, cause incorrect sounds to be loaded by default. Also, the playback quality of most AU/VST instrument sounds is better than the default SmartMusic SoftSynth that is used when playing Finale through MIDI.
4. What if I want an mp3 file with Audio Units/VST playback?
In order to get an mp3 file for your Finale score, but still use AU/VST sounds, you can do the following:
- Leave the file set to play through Audio Units/VST in the MIDI/Audio menu.
- Export the file to audio (File > Export > Audio File).
- Choose to save the audio file as an AIFF (Mac) or WAV (Windows). Save the audio file somewhere it is easy to find.
- Use a program like Apple Music/iTunes to convert the saved AIFF or WAV file to MP3. Alternatively, you could use Audacity or onlineaudioconverter.com