Preventing Truncation of Tracks on Car System

I put audiobooks onto a flash drive to play in the car. The frustrating thing is that the car’s system won’t play the last 10 seconds or so, but jumps to the next track, and authors often put quite important things at the end of a chapter ! I used the very helpful hint in the help files to allign tracks end to end and join them into one file, which works brilliantly but produces a very large file which is hard to navigate. A solution would be to add 10 seconds of silence at the end of every track, but since there are often 500 tracks in an audiobook this is a lengthy process and I can’t find a way of doing it using chains. Any suggestions ?

These are all MP3 files, right? Windows likes to hide information like that, but you can find out with a handy file checker.

You know you need the Lame software package for Audacity to make a new MP3, right? I can’t tell from the post how far along in the process you are.

I don’t know a good way to automate that, but I do know it may not be a good idea to try. Every time you make an MP3 file, the sound quality goes down a little. It’s not serious and most people don’t even know it’s happening. But. You can’t make multiple sequential MP3 files. We know that ACX requires audiobook submissions in MP3 format. We can guess the MP3s you have are made from those ACX company masters. So you will be making a third generation MP3 and it’s normal for those to sustain pretty serious sound damage: gargling, bubbling and talking into a wine glass.

Try it. Forget chains and automation’s for a minute and just take one chapter through the process of adding that silence. Manually. See if it still sounds OK when you’re done.

I personally would make a fuss about the car/sound system being broken. Can you imagine somebody rich and important finding out their car chopped the end of their music off?

Another desperation method is convert the MP3 files to Something Else. Audacity should be able to automate that just fine. Again, for an example, convert one chapter to WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit in Audacity and see if the car plays it.


If you are making MP3s, try CBR (constant bit rate). Occasionally, players have difficulty figuring-out the playing time for VBR files.

Many thanks for your advice, both of you. The original files were on cd’s in standard cd format; I converted them to mp3 variable bit rate at the highest quality. In view of your comments, I loaded the files into Audacity and exported them as constant bit rate 96kbps, and since they were only reading voice, converted to mono. Couldn’t find a way to do this with chains but the File > Save Other > Export Multiple worked just as well. Seems to have cured the problem !

Frustrating that most new cars no longer have a cd player. I can receive digital audio radio broadcasts in great quality, but for my own recordings I am reduced to converting my hundreds of cd’s into mp3 format for inputting to the car system. I can only assume car manufacturers think that the background road and engine noise makes the difference between mp3 and wav files insignificant !

I can only assume car manufacturers think that the background road and engine noise makes the difference between mp3 and wav files insignificant !

And you don’t agree?

We’ve probably all heard low-quality MP3s* but a high-quality MP3 will often sound identical to the uncompressed original in an proper [u]blind ABX test[/u]. Or, you’d find that you have to listen very-carefully to hear the difference, even under ideal listening conditions. In other words, MP3 isn’t “terrible” and it can sound awesome if you have an awesome playback system (and an awesome recording of an awesome performance).


  • I had a very bad first-impression of MP3s and I was a snob about lossy compression. But, I’ve since realized that lossy compression can be very good and in fact some of the best-sounding music I own is 5.1 channel Dolby Digital or DTS (both lossy) on concert DVDs! (There are lossless surround formats for Blu-Ray, but I only have one Blu-Ray concert and I don’t have the DVD version to compare to.)

And we should remember MP3’s daddy is a video format and the technique was designed to sound identical to the original video at a lower bit rate. It’s only when the home users got it and discovered they could get millions of songs on their small music players and all they had to do was sacrifice just a “teensy bit of quality.”

Editing gives you a “bit more” quality loss…

And it went into the bin from there.

If you’re converting the WAV format and uncompressed Audio CD works into MP3, it should be possible to get identical sounding works anything north of 128. 128 used to be the Audacity default export quality.

One caution. If the CD was made from compressed works, you will not be able to do that. MP3 compression distortion is cumulative and it doesn’t matter when in the process the MP3 was made. MP3 can be a time bomb.