ID3V1 vs. ID3V2 issue

On Windows Vista (my platform) “Comments” displays the contents of ID3V1 as first choice, and only ID3V2 when V1 does not exist. I recently used Audacity to truncate and amplify two songs, did my usual 'Copy to V1" within WinAmp and altered the comments section to the record label, as “Producer 1234A” (for example) and saved. However, the V2 comments now display, instead of the V1 … removing my documentation of the original source of the song(s).

Any ideas on which program (or me!) is the culprit, and if it is something in Audacity or its plug-in(s), how it can be corrected?

I am on Audacity 2.06 with the latest LAME and FFMPE available.

Audacity handling of comments isn’t perfect, so I’m not shocked that if you combined the two versions you could get unpredictable results. Are you working in WAV format? WAV files have their own problems.


No, everything I do is original media to MP3. I am going through my extensive collection converted via various sources (programs) over the years and compiling the Hot 100 list for (some of) my birthdays. I’ve discovered that even the best sources have excessive ‘silent’ time, and are sometimes very ‘cold’ … requiring annoying twists of the volume control … either to hear the song, or to save my ears after playing a cold one. :stuck_out_tongue: Audacity has provided me with the means to level out the music and eliminate up to 10 seconds of silence from the recordings. But my MP3s are also an information source, since they contain the original record label publisher and number, the date when the song was highest on the chart, the ‘flip’ side of the song and the true length of the music. ID3V1 is where I put the record label info, and ID3V2 is where I put the other info. Seeing “#3 on December 24, 196x” when I have always seen “Columbia 44xxx” is an annoyance.

If your “original” music is all MP3, try [u]MP3DirectCut[/u]. It’s a special-purpose MP3 editor that can do some simple-basic editing without de-compressing and re-compressing the MP3. That should preserve your tags, and you won’t have the potential quality loss from the 2nd lossy compression step.

For matching the volumes, try [u]MP3Gain[/u]. It also works without decompressing/recompressing and it’s automatic.

Note that MP3Gain will tend to lower the volume of many (most?) of your songs because many quiet-sounding songs have normalized (maximized) peaks. Since you can’t boost the quiet songs without clipping (distortion) the only way to match volumes is to make the loud tracks quieter. (The same is true if you do it manually.)

My original music is/was everything from 78s, 45s, LPs, 8 Tracks, Cassettes and CDs. My 8 tracks are long gone, as are most of my vinyl … and my last cassette player died before I could transcribe all of the unique material. I am hanging onto those cassettes in hopes of being able to acquire a player with the necessary output capabilities.

My High School contact asked me a few years ago whether I wanted my alumni information on CD or hard cover. He got the idea when I asked him how many 8 track tapes he still had. Things change … I am trying to provide for the next great storage medium for audio and video by migrating as quickly as possible to MPEG … in hopes that there will be software available to move to that next platform. My MP3s are on duplicated folders on two different hard drives (one external). There may never be another chance for anyone to hear “Stormy Weather” by “The Five Sharps” if I don’t keep moving it onward.

My original music is/was everything from 78s, 45s, LPs, 8 Tracks, Cassettes and CDs. My 8 tracks are long gone, as are most of my vinyl …

I’m confused because I thought you were saying Audacity was changing your tags, and of course none of those sources have any tags or embedded information. That’s why I put “original” in quotes.

Since you are manually tagging anyway, you might try [u]Mp3tag[/u].

I am trying to provide for the next great storage medium for audio and video by migrating as quickly as possible to MPEG … in hopes that there will be software available to move to that next platform.

You might want to consider a lossless format (such as FLAC) for archival purposes. High-quality, high-bitrate MP3 can be very good and it’s generally better than those analog formats, but it is lossy compression. A lossless format can be converted to another lossless format in the future if the need arises. You can convert FLAC to MP3 for convenience or “portable” use now while maintaining the original lossless archive. If you want a different lossy format in the future, you can create the lossy copy from the lossless original rather than making a 2nd generation lossy file.

Also, if you decide to do any “processing” in the future such as noise reduction or EQ, you can start with the lossless archive and avoid the 2nd generation lossy compression.

Lossless compression will create files that are smaller than uncompressed files, but larger than MP3, AAC, or other lossy compression.

Besides being smaller than WAV files, tagging is more-standardized and more supported for FLAC (and ALAC) than for WAVs.

FLAC and ALAC are not as widely supported as WAV, MP3, and AAC, but since it’s lossless that’s not important as long as software exists to convert it. And, there won’t be any generational loss.

First off, we don’t make “2.06”. If Help > About Audacity… really says that, head to to get the official Audacity.

I’m not completely clear what the issue is either, but I can set out what Audacity does.

If there are separate ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags in an MP3 file, Audacity only displays the v2 tag in Metadata Editor. If the file only contains a v1 tag, Audacity converts it to v2 then displays it.

When you export choosing “MP3 Files”, Audacity only writes ID3v2.3 tags. If you export a file that contains separate v1 and v2 tags, the v1 tag will be removed.

If you export using (external program) which is a command-line, then you have to write out the tags in the command but by default both v1 and v2 tags are written, or you can specify v1 only or v2 only. You can’t set separate tags for v1 and v2, in fact that is not a good thing to do if you are giving files to other people because you don’t know what tag versions their players support.

So if you want two sets of comments, it’s best to write two sets of comments (as v2, because v1 is length-restricted).


It is a simple typo to say 2.06 instead of 2.0.6 … at my age dyslexia is a frequent onset.

Over the years, I have used various means to transfer older storage types to newer, with MP3 becoming the storage choice with the purchase of my current computer in 2006. My recently (this week!) completed project made me aware of deficiencies in those earlier conversion tools.

Again, my age has produced a certain “tin ear” syndrome, where I am incapable of distinguishing the difference between my MP3 playback and its commercial CD counterpart. So I am not concerned about the so-called ‘loss’ of MP3 … and I retain adequate hearing to detect the background (vinyl) noise of my older music. (A little loss there would be a blessing, I guess.)

A lot of people have been writing “2.06” lately, so we have to ask about that. Audacity is open source, so others can modify and redistribute it.

Where are you looking in Windows at the Comments field? I still think you will be better using two different ID3v2 fields if you want two different sets of information.

Or is the issue that Audacity discards ID3v1 because you have both that and ID3v2? There are obscure reasons that we have to do that, if I recall there are limitations in the tag libraries we use that cause problems with Chains export if we don’t discard ID3v1.


I use a work-around for the problem:

  1. When exporting, copy the ID3V2 information (from Comments) into the clipboard
  2. enter the Label information into the Comments area
  3. if necessary correct fields with the wrong (or missing) information
  4. finish exporting
  5. using WinAmp (or similar) play the clip all the way through, using “copy to V1” (or similar) and save
  6. re-open the editor and paste into V2 the info copied in (1) and save
  7. Windows Vista now displays the Label information, as I wanted it, and the ‘flip’ side information, actual time, chart peak, etc. are all available in V2.