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How to Normalize or Change the Volume of Your MP3 Files

Have you ever been listening to MP3 music files that were really quiet while others were really loud? It can be quite an annoying problem and here’s how to fix it.

MP3Gain

MP3Gain is a free utility that analyzes mp3 files and determines how they will sound to the human ear. It will then adjust the files so they have about the same loudness, without affecting the quality of the recording. You can use it in two ways, which are Track or Album Mode.

Track mode corrects the mix of unrelated songs to the level you select. While Album Mode corrects the entire album by relating them to the other songs on the album.

Installation and Use

Installation of MP3Gain is easy following the install wizard. If you need multilingual support, make sure to include the language files.

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Using MP3Gain is a fairly simple process and can normalize your files in batches. First click on Add File(s) or Add Folder and browse to the files you want to normalize. Or you can simply drag and drop the files you want into the app.

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Now decide the Target Volume level. The default is 89dB, but you can increase or decrease the level based on your preferences. Then click on Album Analysis to analyze the volume of each file. This step isn’t necessary, but you might be interested in checking out the differences in track volume levels. In this example we’re going to go ahead and analyze the files.

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Now wait while MP3Gain completes the process of analyzing the volume levels.

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Now you can look through the analysis results.

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Now it’s time to normalize the volume of the files by clicking on the Album Gain button and wait while the files are normalized.

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The process completes and you’ll see what adjustments were made.

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Now you can listen to your favorite music without having to worry about one track being really loud and annoying or too quiet and adjusting the volume constantly.

Note: If your tunes sound too loud or quiet, just go back and adjust the Target Volume Setting and click on Track Gain again.

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If none of the settings seem to be working for your music and you just want to revert to the original volumes, on the toolbar click Modify Gain then Undo Gain changes.

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This is a great utility to normalize the volume of your MP3 collection and home recordings as well. Although the GUI seems dated, and there are other commercial programs out there which have more features…in our tests MP3Gain did a good job and it’s free.

We tested it on Windows 7 x64 but it should work in previous versions too.

Download MP3Gain for Windows

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/29/10

Comments (13)

  1. Jaws4theRevenge

    I find it hard to believe that you can increase the loudness of tracks without compromising on sound quality. Surely, that would decrease the dynamic range of the tracks?

  2. David Levine

    I’ve used MP3Gain in the past and I found that the sound quality was not compromised. Of course, I’m not an audiophile, so I could have been missing something. I used MP3Gain for years and never ran into any issues with sound quality.

  3. Nawlins Jeaux

    I wonder if this only works with MP3′s? I’ve got a ton of video that has different sound levels, and can’t find anything (free) to adjust audio gain.
    Any suggs out there?

  4. Enigma

    I would like to add that Foobar2000 has this built in and will do it automatically when mp3′s are played.

  5. Bean

    Eerily familiar – I saw the title and thought “oh I use mp3gain for that, I wonder what the article’s about”, and I recently picked up Fear Factory’s Mechanize. :)

    Lately I’ve been using mp3gain for increasing the volume with podcasts. Many of them are VERY quiet, and playing them at the mp3 player’s max volume while sitting next to the bus’s engine is completely inaudible. I use the “apply constant gain” feature to drastically increase the volume. Sometimes there’s a small notice in quality degradation, but I really don’t care as it’s just speaking.

  6. Midwest dude

    Does anyone know if there is a portable version of a product that normalizes mp3 volume? It’s my understanding mp3gain writes to the registry, so it doesn’t meet my definition of being portable.

  7. Alek Davis

    Wouldn’t increasing the volume of a track marked with “clipping” introduce… clipping? I always wondered about it.

  8. robin

    ive been using it for like 5 years and i never noticed any loss of quality either.
    i used to convert all my music files with it but it became too timeconsuming.nowadays i just do the songs i put on my mobile phone so i can make it play a little bit louder

  9. www.allan5742.com

    what about in video? is there a tool like this?

  10. Misty

    I have major issues using this program =\

  11. JP Sanchez

    In Linux you can use easyMP3gain: A simple GUI frontend for MP3Gain, VorbisGain and AACGain, which allows modifying the loudness of MP3, Ogg Vorbis and MP4 audio files.

  12. James

    Thanks for reminding me…I just sdeleted my MP3Gain setup files. I had quality issues and stopped using it. I had backups of my original music files so nothing lost but a big pain to get done (28,000+).

    I first used MP3Gain because the normalize settings in the players DO NOT WORK worth a ****. That includes WMP, iTunes, Winamp, etc. Now I use audio processor software.

  13. Fernando

    If you pay more attention to MP3Gain, you’ll see a lot of problems in it. But if you take the files after being processed and see them in a good editor, and measure them, and compare them with what they were before, then you’ll be very mad on such peace of software. It works fine for some files and very badly for others. The bigger the quantity of files, the more problem you’ll have. Thankfully it works fine in the undo function.

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