Edit and Process Your MP3s

good
key review info
application features
  • Load a two hour MP3 file in a couple of seconds
  • (2 more, see all...)

MP3 is a format that is using a lossy data compression method, but it is also very popular and has the advantage of being supported by almost any device. mp3TrueEdit is trying to provide the necessary tools to edit such files, without damaging the audio quality in the process.

Working with MP3s is now a common task, since most cell users can use customized ringtones, specifically designed audio mixes for different events, or have their favorite playlists with them all the time.

mp3TrueEdit is an audio editor that comes with a suite of basic tools that will help you deal with MP3s even if you are not a proficient user. The novelty resides in the fact that mp3TrueEdit is designed to perform the editing while keeping the initial audio quality, which is usually degraded through compression and decompression.

The Looks

Simple and organized, mp3TrueEdit’s interface provides quick access to its tools although the design does not integrate with the latest, smooth Mac OS X appearance. Of course, the wrapping does not change the content of the package, but some might argue that it does help build up enthusiasm.

By default, mp3TrueEdit displays on top of the main window all of its five groups of buttons arranged on three rows and, most importantly, uses large buttons that take a lot of space. Fortunately, if you do not need big buttons, there is an alternative.

The groups can be rearranged with a simple drag and drop but, if you navigate to the Preferences window, you can change the icon size, disable the text or make the toolbars disappear altogether (most functions have keyboard shortcuts so the buttons are not indispensable).

I believe that the space gained this way is more efficiently used to view the actual track representation that will appear right below, and which has two important elements: the audio display screen with the play position indicator and the play position scroll bar.

The first will prove useful when you need precision, while the second will help you navigate through large files (using the keyboard shortcuts is also productive in both cases).

On the same note, the Selection Start and Selection End buttons located at the bottom will be very convenient if you need to select a big part of a track. Furthermore, you can see time related parameters, like the current play position, selected time span or the duration for the newly created tracks.

The Works

mp3TrueEdit allows you to work on single files, or you can open multiple MP3s at the same time and have them rendered consecutively. Once the audio material is imported, the basic player features combined with the display screen capabilities will help you browse and listen the track or the current selection.

Simply highlight the part that you want to process and mp3TrueEdit gives you the possibility to cut, copy, paste, crop or delete the selection, or easily export it as a standalone audio file.

You can apply several sound effects to improve or personalize the final result: normalize, fade in/out, increase/decrease the volume, silence, remove silencing or insert silence.

If you want to modify a certain selection, hover the mouse over each delimitation and, once the pointer changes to the appropriate form, drag and drop the line to the desired position.

mp3TrueEdit does not allow you to make multiple selections simultaneously but you can create as many tracks as you like. Notice that, when you outline new tracks, the selection tools have no relevance: the track start and track end are set by the current play position. The same rule applies to the track split button.

In the information section, you can view essential data like the track number, name, location (within the timeline of the initial file) or duration. Right under that, you can see almost the same info about the source file (the Part tag refers to the track number when working with multiple files in the same project).

You can add metadata for your new audio files via specific panels that can be accessed through the Edit menu. Using the Edit File Information window is recommended if you plan to export the entire project as a single file, while the Edit Track Information refers to the tracks created within the mp3TrueEdit project.

The Edit Track Information window includes quite general tags (Title, Artist, Album, Composer, Track, Disc, Year, Copyright, Genre and a Comment field), but also provides a very useful capability: after you fill out the first form, you can press the Copy All button which will activate the Paste buttons for the following tracks.

mp3TrueEdit does not need LAME to process and create MP3 files, but the encoder is required to take advantage of the recording tools. It is also important to find a LAME binary that provides a command line executable file since you must point out that particular file in the mp3TrueEdit Preferences window.

You cannot record and work on another track at the same time, in the same instance, since the recording window is always on top. However, if you open another mp3TrueEdit instance (via the File menu or by using the SHIFT+CMD+N hotkey) before activating the Record window, you can continue your work unobstructed. Once the recording is done, the audio can be saved to a location of your choice but the project opened in the background is not affected in any way.

Of course, you can and should always save your work in .mteproj form in order to make sure you will not lose the technical details of your modifications. This way, you can complete projects in multiple sessions and export the audio to MP3 only when you are done.

Sometimes, it is not very clear how certain mp3TrueEdit features work (for example, one might think that the track name cannot be changed if one misses the Edit menu entries), which is why reading the built-in manual is highly recommended.

Other examples include the Fade In/Out and Volume adjustment buttons (if you do not browse the Preferences window, there's no way of knowing that 1 unit represents 1.5 db) and the Play Selection function (the button is enabled only if the track player is stopped).

During tests, I noticed that, in the case of some MP3 files created with mp3TrueEdit, the duration metadata was not very accurate. When the files are viewed in the Finder, there are seconds or tens of seconds added to the actual time span (displayed in mp3TrueEdit before the export).

If played in iTunes, the same file stops when the track is over, even if the metadata says otherwise. In QuickTime, when the audio is ending, a blank section follows, while VLC views the correct duration.

The Good

mp3TrueEdit is simple and organized, and can help you perform basic editing tasks in a matter of minutes, while also including the necessary tools to deal with more complex projects.

mp3TrueEdit is also designed to edit the MP3 files without damaging the source file through compression and decompression.

The Bad

Certain mp3TrueEdit features are not very forthcoming, so adding help messages or tips in essential areas could improve the overall usage.

The fact that you need to install third party software to be able to use all the features of a commercial product is not pleasant, even though it is understandable since LAME represents the norm. The drawback becomes clear when you realize that the circumstances are explained but little support is offered, especially if you are an inexperienced user.
 

The Truth

mp3TrueEdit is useful if you are frequently working with MP3s and you want to edit them without dealing with complex applications. The workflow is not very intuitive in some cases, but the information is there if you are willing to spend the time.

You can find out on your own if mp3TrueEdit is the best solution for you by using the app in demo (applies a sound watermark at the end of the output file) or trial mode (fully featured for 15 days).

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 3
features 4
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
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