20 minute MP3 files sounds horribly compressed.

Hello there,

I am brand new to Audacity and this website. I assume this is the right forum for posting issues such as this, so please forgive me for my rather novice questions.
I just imported a 23 minute audio file to Audacity, but whenever I play it, the file just sounds like the ‘cookie monster’. It sounds as if it’s playing very slowly. At first I thought that the track needed speeding up, but it sounds the same, like the cookie monster is talking, but just speedup. I brought in other audio files that are much shorter (about five minutes) and they sound fine, so I was wondering if it could be due to the file’s length that these problems have arisen?

Help would be much appreciated. :slight_smile:

If you post a few seconds of “cookie monster” we may be able to identify the problem.
Audio can be atttached to a post in this forum provided it is put in a zip file, and the zip is less than 750Kb.
e.g. …
clipping example (before-after) mp3 in zip.zip (332 KB)

You can get damaged playback when the song you have isn’t the format you think it is, or a format that Audacity can manage.

Does the song play on any other player? Windows Media? iTunes?


Is this “cookie monster” ? …
Before-after example of severe compression artifacts (mp3 in zip).zip (335 KB)

Nice effect :smiley:

That’s an extreme example of MP3 compression artefacts.
In order to reduce the file size, MP3 compression throws away some of the audio data. The more the compression, the more data is thrown away and the lower the sound quality.

The “after” version sounds like it has been compressed to a very small file size (low sound quality) - probably around 8kbps. This throws away a great deal of audio data. If you set the MP3 compression amount to a higher bit rate (say 64 kbps) the sound quality will be much better (more like your voice and less like Cookie Monster) but the file size will be bigger. It is always a compromise between sound quality and file size.

In Audacity 1.3 the compression amount is set from the “Options” button in the Export dialogue. In Audacity 1.2 it is set in Preferences (from the Edit menu).