Is Normalize with MP3 Levels Lossless?

Am helping a friend compile a demo collection of tunes recorded on both older analogue and newer digital equipment.

When we listened to these tunes on a MP3 Player there was a significant variation in loudness.

Did a search and found Amplify and Normalize Wiki

Also did a forum search and found “It’s too bad you’ve converted them all to MP3. Audacity has “Chains” which you could set up to import a track, Normalize, then export as MP3. But then you’ve double-converted to MP3 thus decreasing sound quality.”

Question: Does Normalize in Audacity 2.x adjust the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding (like MP3Gain)?



It’s a lossy process… Audacity ALWAYS de-compresses the file when you open it. If/when you re-save (export) in a lossy format, you are going through a 2nd lossy compression step. All “normal” audio editors work this way.

It sounds like MP3gain is the perfect solution for you. There is another FREE program called [u]MP3Direct Cut[/u] that can do simple-limited editing (including volume adjustment) without decoding/re-encoding.

The quality loss of re-encoding/transcoding isn’t alway audible, depending on the bitrate/quality setting used when you export… You should try to avoid it, but It’s not always a terrible thing to do. And, sometimes you just don’t have a choice.