Music too quiet: bad; ReplayGain: good

I listen to music a lot more since discovering Pandora and getting a SqueezeBox. Now Mugshot’s Music Radar is better for criticising each other’s musical taste I listen to our own music collection on the computer more as well. Some of our older CDs are noticeably quieter than newly-produced ones, so we have to keep fiddling with the volume control to turn it up for too-quiet tracks and then getting startled by too-loud music. But there is a solution!

I recently discovered a utility called vorbisgain, which adds ReplayGain tags to Ogg Vorbis files. Basically it tags the file with markers so that on playback the audio device knows how to modify the volume so as to even it out compared to other tracks. The SqueezeBox can do exactly this, so it’s just what we’re after.

It’s very fiddly to use though! I eventually settled on this:

find -maxdepth 1 -not -name lost+found -a -not -name ‘.*’ -type d -print0 | xargs -0r vorbisgain --fast -a -s -r

Anyway, at least it works.

4 Responses to “Music too quiet: bad; ReplayGain: good”

  1. andyp says:

    There used to be some other software that rebalanced MP3 files – good for burning to CD at a consistent volume. Can’t remember the name of it.

    Squeezebox, Ogg Vorbis – hark at you!

  2. tim says:

    MP3s make up less than 0.3% of my music collection. :-)

    I actually quite like using the “album” gain for playback. So although each track has its recommended-gain calculated in isolation, all files in the same directory (supposedly the same album) also get an “album gain” tag, which is the same for all of them.

  3. Chromedome2000 says:

    Download FLAC. It has ReplayGain built in and is the best freeware lossless encoder out there (IMHO).

  4. tim says:

    I like using Sound Juicer for encoding music (just quite like the interface), so one option would be for me to figure out how to adjust the gstreamer pipeline for FLAC to make it use replaygain.

    Trouble is, I just don’t have the storage for losslessly encoded music. It’s hard enough to back-up the Ogg files!