Importing-exporting lossy originals

Hi there: I’m using Audacity 2.0.5 (from dmg; will upgrade shortly) within Mac 10.7.5 and I’m wondering about how to minimize the quality degradation when I have to edit a source file that’s an mp3. Say I want to split up a long file into tracks. I import the mp3, add the labels, and export it. Should I export as AIFF, then import that into iTunes, then convert back to mp3 or AAC…or should I export directly to mp3 or AAC before I import into iTunes? Or is there a way to avoid that second lossy compression outright?

My thanks in advance! Bill

MP3 compression produces a tiny show plus compression damage and debris. As long as you never compress it again, the damage will stay constant. So exporting as WAV or AIFF or a super high quality MP3 will not make the show any worse. If you try to compress the show back to the original filesize, both the show and the original damage will compress and the compression damage, honking and bubbling, will increase, sometimes trashing the show.

MP3 is an end product. Deliver the show and full stop. Not deliver the show and then mess with it. We warn people constantly never do production in MP3.


If all you want to do is cut an MP3, you may be able to use one of the products that doesn’t mess with compression such as MP3splt, although that’s only for Windows.

I don’t know of one for Macs.


I’ve never used this.

Make sure when you download something that you’re downloading the actual product and not a subscription to “Mac-Cleaner” or one of those other products.

It does have a Mac package, though you will have to install Fink or Macports to use it.

Audion (PPC Mac) and Macsome (Intel Mac) are both free. I often post this link to them: .