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How To: Use MP3Gain - and why.
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Written by T. Solar   



How To: Use MP3Gain - and why.

The purpose of MP3Gain is to equalize the volume of separately compiled MP3 tracks. We've all had it happen that you burn or copy your favorite tunes, only to discover that each one plays at a different volume. This problem is solved by MPGain, but keep in mind there are other factors which can influence perceived volume. Read to end of this article for a technical explanation.

MP3Gain is a method to even out differences in recorded levels, not playback levels. MP3 Gain is freeware, do not pay for a copy. I trust download.cnet.com, although I do not care for their cluttered screens and their tolerance of fake-ware (similarly named apps displayed beside the read thing).

STEP A: See my article "How To: Download MP3Gain - and why."

STEP B: See my article "How To: Install MP3Gain - and why."


1. Locate MP3Gain, a new program in your start > All Programs directory.

2. A blank MP3Gain window box appears, with a very clear and self-explatory set of control buttons.

3. Use the ADD FILES buttons to add any MP3 music files to the Path/File list. (Hint: try it on ten or less MP3 files the first time, and don't use folders until you are experienced.)

4. The DEFAULT level for MP3 recordings is 89.0 decibels and there is NO good reason to ever change this. Leave it where it is.

5. Click on the TRACK ANALYSIS button to scan each MP3 and determine its volume level.

6. Then click on TRACK GAIN to watch MP3Gain convert the files to a matching volume.

7. Use CLEAR FILES before you continue with your next batch of MP3s.

That is it, when you burn your optical disks, or load the tunes to your MP3 player, the playback volumes should be reasonably consistent between tracks.


MP3 files are approximately 1/7th the size of corresponding CD Audio files. This means you can fit hundreds of them on a CD. The quality is excellent, as the MP3 technology emulates the human ear - it can only hear the loudest sound at any given moment. That is correct, MP3 is simply a sampling of the loudest sound 44,200 times per second. It is doubtful anyone could percieve any difference in quality, although some copntinue to make this claim. MP3, originally called MPEG 3 layer audio, was developed as a method to send music over telephone lines. The telephone music failed the test, but the MP3 files are a boon to all music lovers.

Note for file-sharing users: downloaded MP3 music can have a wild variation in recording volumes. MP3Gain can only compensate for a range of volumes and does not work perfectly in every case. However, MP3Gain is an excellent application and is useful for "normalizing" the volume of most MP3 music. If you require more modifications, consider another free program called Audacity from Soundforge.

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Disclaimer: veryatlantic™ is a non-technical source for advice and entertainment and is not responsible for any damages under any theory. All posts sacrifice technical accuracy for user-friendliness. If unsure, get help. Please feedback errors for correction.

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