Bit-for-bit exporting of AIFFs

Hi all,

I am currently running macOS Catalina version 10.15.3 and using Audacity 2.3.3. I rip CDs on an old PC running Windows 10 and then Home Share them to my Mac using iTunes. I have some CD rips that need to be edited. Due to either my disc drive’s read offset or the pressing of the CDs, there are tracks that need to be cut as there are incorrect boundaries that separate them (in other words, the ending of one track bleeds into the beginning of another). I have attached an audio sample below so you can hear exactly what I am talking about.

I want to export the edited files as 16 bit AIFFs but I want to make sure I am preserving the exact data that is in the original AIFFs. My goal is to have edited files that are no different in audio quality and content other than the fact that they are cut to fit within their proper track parameters. I have ripped these tracks using dbpoweramp and they are either verified with AccurateRip or confirmed to be securely ripped. I don’t want to introduce artifacts into the files after exporting them.

Is it possible for me to do this with Audacity? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Not an easy answer.

Audacity doesn’t edit 16-bit. It converts everything to 32-bit floating to reduce the possibility that effects and filters will damage the sound. Then it has to convert the work back to 16-bit for Real World. In order to disguise conversion errors, it adds a dither signal to the work unless you turn it off.

Turning it off is not recommended because the conversion errors can be significant.


If all you’re doing is cutting off beginnings and endings, it should be possible to transit through Audacity with the dither turned off and no damage.

You may not make any changes to the actual content. There is no “just a little sound patch here and there.” The instant you change the content, you’re toast.

Audacity > Preferences > Quality > Dither.

There are editors which can handle simple cutting without doing anything else. Those are recommended for cutting MP3 and other compressed works and would work for you.


Change [u]Dither[/u] to “None” and the audio data won’t be changed unless you change it. By default, Audacity uses floating-point internally but the conversion to floating-point and back is lossless.

Thank you both. I am cutting the beginnings and endings but I am also trying to append those beginnings and endings to the tracks on which they actually belong.

I hate to ask anyone to promote something other than Audacity on the Audacity website, but are there any editors that allow for what I am trying to do using lossless files? Thanks.

I am also trying to append those beginnings and endings to the tracks on which they actually belong.

I would call that actual content modification.

promote something other than Audacity

We’re not squeamish about that. I just don’t know of one.

the conversion to floating-point and back is lossless.

…as long as you don’t change the content.


Have you actually listened to a natural WAV export with dither and everything normal? It’s lovely to practice obsession and all, but you’re going to go way around the barn to solve a problem nobody can hear.

For one example, MP3 causes significant sound distortion but they’re really clever about hiding it. Multiple listening tests concluded the MP3 version sounds identical to the original.

MP3 is not good for production, only end-product listening, but that’s a different problem.


I understand I am going very in-depth with this but I am trying to make the ripping process worthwhile because I spend a lot of money on rare CDs. Every time I hear the pop sounds, I get irked. Is there no way to make a bit-perfect edit?

DVDdoug has already given the answer. Set “Dither” to “None”.
Note that if you process the audio in any way, setting dither to none will give sonically inferior results than leaving it at the default “Shaped” setting.

I saw his post and I stated that I wasn’t just trying to cut the files but append files to each other, which Koz told me was a form of content modification, or processing, as you say. Thank you for your help.

Cut / Paste / Delete / Append / Repeat … are “edits” rather than “processing”.
Amplify / Reverb / Normalize / Equalization … are “processing”.

Edits do not change the values of the audio samples, but processing does. If the audio is processed, then the output will (obviously) not be bit-for-bit the same as the input, because processing changes the bits. It’s OK to turn off dither if you are only editing and not processing. If you do any processing at all, then it’s best to leave dither set to “shaped”. The actual sonic difference whether dither is enabled or not is very small - in most cases the difference is totally inaudible.

Every time I hear the pop sounds, I get irked. Is there no way to make a bit-perfect edit?

A “click” or “pop” is a more serious problem! You shouldn’t get that with normal editing (or “processing”).

It doesn’t have to be bit-perfect to sound perfect (or to sound identical to the original), but of course if it is a bit-perfect copy it has to sound the same.

If clicks & pops are introduced “digitally” it’s usually the result of a (pre-existing) [u]DC offset[/u] or a cut that’s not on a [u]zero-crossing[/u] (or a cut that’s not during silence).

Okay, I must’ve misunderstood what Koz meant by “content modification”.

Also, DVDdoug, that is exactly what I am talking about. The only reason I hear clicks and pops is because of incorrect track positions. When I play albums in their proper sequence, there are no clicks and pops.

Noisy edits are not normal. You can get bad edits if you catch the waveforms in the wrong place.

The top wave will give a noticeable tick.

I don’t have a picture for this, but you can get a hit if you catch a wave anywhere but 0. Like get half-way up the slope of a wave and smash a different sound right there.

DC Offset is what happens when silence and zero data aren’t the same. If you edit between one normal track and one with offset you can get a very serious pop that’s sometimes hard to find. This is the error where you can cut an entire show with offset and not realize it’s damaged. Everything fits with everything else. It’s only when you cut in normal leading or trailing music or cut to a second normal show where it pops. Those drive editors nuts.

There is a tool or setting that can force an edit to always happen at the “zero crossings,” and any second I’m going to find it.


Scroll down.

Effect > Normalize has a setting to get rid of DC Offset. You can make Normalize remove DC and not do anything else.


and it’s worth noting that applying this effect processes the audio (it modifies the sample values), so dither should be enabled.

Thank you for these visuals and instructions. I will experiment with the files and see what I can do.

Fade-ins and fade-outs (or cross-fades) will also help to make smooth cuts & spices. It can be a short-unnoticeable fade of just a few milliseconds if that’s what you want, or if you are fading during “silence” of course it will be unnoticeable…

Very quick and easy to do with the “Crossfade Clips” effect: Crossfade Clips - Audacity Manual

The video people use the crossfade tricks. They edit at the video frame boundaries whether the sound matches or not.

If you insist on doing very fancy editing of sound on a video show, you generally rip the sound track out of the video, precision edit it and then put it back into the video. Audacity will open the sound portion of many video formats (with the addition of FFMpeg software), but it doesn’t actually edit video, so you need a video editor to put the corrected sound back in.


Hi all,

I know it’s been a few weeks since I started this thread, but I wanted to ask a quick question since I have been experimenting with Audacity.

In a thread I started in the dbpoweramp forums, I asked about why certain tracks from my CD rips were beginning with pieces of tracks that were sequentially before them. Someone responded with

Re: Beginnings of songs cut off
I have quite a few discs that were mastered with the kind of error Spoon suggests. Sometimes the end of one track is prepended to the beginning of the next, or the beginning of a track is appended to the end of the previous one. My solution is to use an editor to move misplaced data to its proper place. That causes the altered tracks to fail AccurateRip tests, but I’m okay with that as long as they passed AR muster in their original forms.

My question is - if I set dither to “none” and export multiple tracks with new starting and ending points, will they be the same as their originals? I know they won’t be exactly the same in terms of how they are structured but I am hoping they will be the same in terms of quality.

Thanks for any help.