MP3Gain analyzes mp3 files to determine how loud they sound to the human ear. It can then adjust the mp3 files so that they all have the same loudness without any quality loss. This way, you don't have to keep reaching for the volume dial on your mp3 player every time it switches to a new song.
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MP3Gain operates in two modes, Track and Album:
- Track mode volume-corrects a mix of unrelated songs to a selected level.
- Album mode volume-corrects a collection of related songs (as they would appear on a CD, or "album") relative to other collections of songs.
MP3Gain can also make changes based on the peak amplitude of the mp3, ignoring how loud the mp3 actually sounds to the human ear.
This peak adjustment is what most audio programs mean by "normalizing". To differentiate between "peak" normalizing and "loudness" normalizing, I use the term "maximizing" when talking about peak normalizing.
Maximizing can be used to make an mp3 as loud as possible without clipping. This can be useful, but keep in mind that this will not make your mp3s the same volume. In fact, if you maximize every track on a CD, some of the original quiet tracks can become louder than the original loud tracks.