Problem of variable volume in mp3 downloads

  Pineman100 17:11 17 Jan 2009

I'm a newcomer to mp3 downloads (having been given an mp3 player for Christmas by my kids!).

Using Windows Media Player 11 under XP, I've successfully ripped and synched a couple of dozen CD's to the mp3 player, and I've downloaded a number of tracks - mostly from Amazon - and again synched them.

However, I find that the volume of the downloaded tracks tends to vary a fair bit. So if I set the mp3 player at a comfortable volume level for one track, I sometimes find another track to be very quiet, or too loud.

When I'm walking the dog, my player is often buried under several layers of clothing, so finding it to fiddle with the volume is a flippin' nuisance!

Is there any answer to this problem?

  brundle 17:16 17 Jan 2009

Some details about ReplayGain; click here

Not supported by WMP but you can use a free tool to equalise the volume of the tracks - MP3 replay gain (free); click here

  Pineman100 18:05 17 Jan 2009

My grasp of this subject is pretty tenuous, I'm afraid!

When you say that RG is not supported by WMP, does that mean it has to be used as some sort of plug-in by whatever media player I choose to use for ripping and synching? If so, then presumably I need to use different software for this, that does support RG?

Or does RG run outside of the media player software? If so, how is it used?

Thanks for any further advice!

  MaxUpload 19:31 17 Jan 2009

A pain in the butt isn't it?

There is a simple to use piece of software called "mp3Gain" - click here - which will do the job for you.

I have been using it for quite a while to alleviate the very problem.

Install the software , create a folder for the tracks you want to sync , move tracks into this folder , load the tracks into mp3Gain , let it perform it's magic , load tracks onto mp3 device.

Job done!

  brundle 23:56 17 Jan 2009

That's what I already linked to. It's non-destructive, you can leave the tracks where they are and reset the volume levels if you apply too much gain.

Regarding your questions about RG, here is some more informed blurb at the Winamp forum click here - Winamp does support replay gain, and I use it as my main mp3 player, but I don't use the replay gain feature itself so I can't comment on that.
Any program that "understands" RG information embedded in encoded files will automatically use it to equalise the volume from track-to-track. If your media player doesn't add that information, or understand it when it's already present it will be ignored.

But as MaxUpload says, adjusting the volume with MP3Gain is the easiest way to solve the issue.

  Pineman100 10:49 18 Jan 2009

brundle - I've had a read through the Winamp thread, thank you. It's very interesting - the problem is that I understand about 1 word in 10!

It sounds as though I might be advised to switch to using Winamp, instead of WMP. But I'm still unclear as to how mp3gain operates alongside Winamp (I gather it's not a plug-in as such). Would I have to follow the same procedure as that described by MaxUpload above?

Maxupload - if all the tracks that are going to have the mp3gain magic worked on them have to be in the same folder, does it have to be just a main folder, or will mp3gain also find the track files in sub-folders within the main folder?

If so, then could I simply point mp3gain at the main memory folder on my mp3player (assuming it's connected to my computer), and get it to work on that?

Sorry if these questions seem stupid. As you may have gathered, I'm operating well above my pay-grade here!

  Jim_F 12:22 18 Jan 2009

MP3Gain doesn't need Winamp or WMP.

It works by you either selecting an MP3 file or a folder with MP3 files in. Then you can analyse the files to determine which would sound quiet and normalise the files to actually change the levels.

Its best to experiment on backup files - copy an assortment of files to a temp directory on your harddrive and normalise to the MP3Gain default-then rename or copy to a different directory on your MP3 player and see if you like the results.

If the MP3 player appears as a drive on your PC you can of course do this directly - but I hope you have a backup of these files !

If you don't want the hassle of using MP3Gain - when you rip CDs using Exact Audio Copy or CDEX (both free) you can opt to normalise the levels there and then.

  Pineman100 12:57 18 Jan 2009

I've now downloaded mp3gain and had an initial muck about with it.

Originally I was worried about the time and hassle of running all my mp3 tracks through it. However, having tried it on just a few, I've realised that this won't be necessary.

The great majority of them are within acceptable limits of volume difference, so I don't need to worry about them. All I have to do is keep a note of the few tracks that vary noticeably, and run them through mp3gain at roughly the same dB setting as the bulk of my tracks. This then equalises their volume with the rest of them.

For a beginner who's still driving on large L-plates, that's good enough for me!

However, I'll have a try out with Exact Audio Copy and Cdex - if I can set the volume of tracks at my preferred level at the same time as ripping them, that sounds useful.

Thank you very much for your help with this topic, everyone. I'm now going to do some homework, so that I can try to understand phrases like 'jitter correction' and 'compression offset'!


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