I’ve been using Audacity to export WAV (or FLAC) files ripped from CDs as mp3 files. I discovered one day that the resulting mp3 files played for 2 seconds longer than their displayed length. However, this isn’t the case for every music player.
It happens in Windows Media Player (which, yes, is my main form of music playback, which some may find disturbing), in which the time bar continues for 2 seconds longer than the listed time, even displaying the extra seconds.
It also happens in iTunes, in which after the proper end time the time bar sort-of freezes for a second before displaying the previous second again and then ending with the proper length displayed.
It doesn’t happen in Foobar 2000, however.
This phenomenon happened both in Audacity 2.0.3 (which is the version I was using until yesterday) and Audacity 2.2.1. I’m using Windows 8.1.
So in summary, the length that is listed in the metadata for the mp3 files is still correct, however in Windows Media Player, iTunes, and likely other audio players, the songs go on for 2 seconds longer.
Does anyone know what the cause of this is, and how to fix it if possible?
I think you already know, or at least suspect the answer. It’s a bug in both WMP and iTunes, that neither Apple or Microsoft can be bothered to fix. The solution is to use a good audio player such as Foobar 2000.
If you really must use WMP, and seeing the correct time is of overriding importance, then you could try encoding your MP3s as “CBR” (Constant Bit Rate). Both WMP and iTunes ‘should’ be able to get the exact length right with CBR encoded MP3s (though for sound quality, VBR is better at equivalent bit-rate).
It would be better to rip directly to WAV format. Not only would it be quicker to do so, but the sound quality would be better (though perhaps not noticeably). MP3 is a “lossy” format, which means that the encoding process discards some of the audio data, and once discarded, it can never be recovered.
I rip directly to WAV (and FLAC). But then I convert them to mp3s because they’re so much lighter on storage space, are compatible with more audio players and devices, and have a lot of metadata. I’ve been using Audacity and the LAME encoder for that process.
What I don’t understand is why other mp3 files don’t have that issue with WMP (and iTunes and whatever) - the issue only exists, as far as I know, with those files exported from Audacity.