How to edit mp3 file without exporting/re-encoding?

I have taken a look at the documentation for the last 15-20 mins now and have not been able to locate an answer to this question, so here I am:

I have an mp3 file that I simply need to edit for time, chopping off quite a bit of the beginning and end of the file. I do not wish to re-encode the file in any way, so as to preserve the original sound quality, which exporting to either WAV or re-encoding the file to mp3 (again) will not allow for. I simply want to cut off the bits I want to cut off and leave the resulting file unchanged in terms of format, quality, etc., which seems impossible via the export process.

Is this possible with Audacity?

Audacity (and all “regular” audio editors) decompress the file when you open it. The original file isn’t touched but if you re-export as MP3 you are going through another generation of lossy compression.

[u]mp3DirectCut[/u] can do some basic editing without decompressing the file.

which exporting to either WAV

Exporting to WAV preserves the “original” MP3 quality. The “damage” is done during compression when information is thrown-away to make the smaller file. And when you play it back it gets decompressed anyway so it’s not much different than decompressing and converting to WAV ahead of time.

Is this possible with Audacity?

No. You are looking for one of the “Pure MP3 Editors.” They have very limited cutting and editing and don’t have to rip the MP3 part and put it back together again with the increase in compression damage.


mp3DirectCut can do some basic editing without decompressing the file.

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mp3DirectCut website:
(it’s working for me)

It’s back.

Let’s take the internet connections down on Sunday.


Thanks for the info, everyone!