Audacity as an MP3 Editor?

I recently put out a question via Twitter and email asking what people would recommend for a free MP3 editor. The universal response was that Audacity is a great multi-platform free editor that can edit MP3 files. I already had it downloaded since Jeff Brand and Warren Toomey had previously demonstrated its use to record and edit podcasts.

I tried using Audacity to open a 49 MB MP3 file, a 53-minute recording on my Zoom H2 of my first class this semester in our new pod room. It took over 3 minutes to load. Checking the Audacity project folder it had created 1075 .au files each over 1 MB in size, that’s over 1 GB of files! I then normalised the whole file which took 7 minutes and resulted in 2.2 GB of .au files, all 2157 of them. With the sound level still a little low I tried a stronger normalisation which only took 5 minutes but ended with 3.1 GB of .au files. This is simply not a practicable or useful editor for large MP3 files.

In comparison to Audacity’s zero cost you have to pay US$150 for the Camtasia Studio educational licence. Although design for video and audio screencast recording and editing Camtasia can edit audio files only, including MP3. Camtasia loaded the 49 MB MP3 file in 1 minute. Raising the volume by 150% takes a few seconds. Rendering a new MP3 file after editing took about 12 minutes. This is how MP3 editing should be, albeit much more costly.

Any other free or low cost MP3 editor suggestions are welcomed.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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