I am looking for a way to normalize the sound in MANY MP3 files I have. Some have low sound, while others are louder so I have to turn the volume up or down depending on the song. What ways are there to do this for all files. I specially would like to do it via the terminal but GUI ways are also accepted.
With Audacity we can easily batch process files to apply conversions or effects to many files in a list. To do so we first have to define a "Chain" containing the effects we want to apply.
This is done with "File --> Edit Chains...". In the now opening window press the Add button on the bottom left to insert a new chain (give it a sensible name):
Then choose the effect and it's parameters to insert to the chain (here shown for default values and the Normalize effect).
When done leave this window with OK to open "File --> Apply Chain...". Select the Chain we have just created and load all files you need with "Apply to files...". Several files can be selected from the file chooser that opens.
Processed files will be saved in a new subdirectory "cleaned" in the original's path.
I would use this project Normalize, it's a command-line tool for normalizing audio files. Looks to be exactly what you need. Can do batch processing and doesn't require resampling to intermediate formats.
It's in the package repos as normalize-audio,
Take a look @ mp3gain which for me is even better than normalize-audio
another useful version could be the -c which prevent to ask if you want to do the changes for many files:
as said in the man page:
mp3gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear. Also, the changes mp3gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.
For the sake of it, I'll throw my 2 cents in. I was looking for exactly the same thing (only for ogg files) and started a thread at Crunchbang Forum. You can view it here: Normalize-audio can't find mp3 decoder
Basically my solution was the script in post #8. It works for mp3, flac, and ogg input files, possibly others but definitely not wav.
Just create a file (name it whatever you want, I called mine db_adjust_mp3), chmod +x , and stick it in your ~/bin folder. It fills in any missing codec data as well. Example:
I've modified the script to use normalize-mp3 here so you can use it if you want:
This script calculates the difference between the current db level and -12db, then applies a gain adjustment to put the gain at exactly -12db, which is what I've found works the best for me. It is recursive as well, which makes it great for doing entire music collections or files in many subfolders. If you wish to set a different db level, just change the both instances of the number "12" to whatever db level you would like to use. As I posted in my Crunchbang thread, usage is as follows:
However, when I used to keep my music library in mp3 format, I used to use mp3gain as well, just as Philippe suggested. The dead simplicity of it is great and I really liked it. The problem with normalize-audio though is that it does decode an re-endcode the files, so there is some sound degradation. But unless you're an audiophile and your mp3's are encoded at a high bitrate you shouldn't notice much difference.
The thing I noticed with mp3gain though was that no matter what options I tried I couldn't get everything in my collection to be exactly the same db level, which is what I want so that I never have to adjust the volume from one track to the next. This script does exactly that. Sorry for being so long winded. Hope this helps.