amplifying in order to reduce clipping vs lossy encoding

I have some MP3 tracks(joint stereo, @320 kbps CBR and encoded with LAME 3.99.3), which suffer from severe clipping.I had amplified the tracks by a negative value, so the new peak amplitude became 0.0 dB( the “allow clipping” checkobox is unticked).After this operation, the waveform(dB) graph doesn’t show a single clipped sample anymore.Obviously,I’ll need to reeconde the track again in order to export it, but knowing MP3 compression is lossy(compressing an already compressed audio file), I wonder if it worths to sacrifice quality for clipping removal/reduction.Do you think the quality loss won’t be very noticeable at all?My audio equipement is really basic, a stereo set with a subwoofer unit,PHILLIPS SHP2000 budget headphones and onboard Realtek audio chipset integrated into my laptop, really,really low-end gear.

If that is the case, then that’s the end of the story. Severe clipping cannot be cured. Amplifying severely clipped audio does not “un-clip” the audio, it just makes the clipped audio quieter (quiet bad sound vs loud bad sound. It’s still bad sound).

Sometimes with highly compressed pop/dance music, the waveform can look severely clipped when in fact the clipping is only very slight. The important test is “what does it sound like?”

As the audio is in MP3 format, there will be some loss in sound quality by decoding/re-encoding (though at 320 kbps the loss will be small).
Reducing the level of the audio will give no improvement (just the same as turning down the volume on the player).
So on balance it’s better to leave it as it is (unless you want to do any other editing to the track).

Yeah, makes sense.I guess it’s preferable to simply limit the audio volume instead of reencoding in MP3 format and thus lossing quality.Thanks for the input, I’m grateful for the answer!

You can produce new, processed work with an MP3 editor that edits the raw original MP3 and doesn’t try to take it apart like Audacity does. MP3Split works like that. The tools are very simple when you go that route.

If you need the Audacity tools, then you can export as WAV and although very large, it will sound identical to the original edit. You can burn this work to a CD and that, too, will sound like the edit.

You can get very close at very high MP3 compression rates like 320. You can’t go back down to the original compression and file sizes.

Clipping is one of the four horsemen – guaranteed ways to reduce your show to trash.

The four horsemen of audio recording:

– Echoes and room reverberation
– Overload and Clipping
– Compression Damage
– Background Conversations