Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

Over the past decade, the world has shifted away from music downloads to music streams. The switch-over makes a lot of sense. I love my Spotify and Pandora Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More and wouldn’t have it any other way.

But there are good reasons to keep downloading music, chief of all being that you can’t own the music that you stream Who Owns That MP3? Rights & Ownership In The Digital Era Who Owns That MP3? Rights & Ownership In The Digital Era This is pretty new ground - what happens to your legally purchased MP3 collection when you die? When one of the least trustworthy British newspapers around reported that Bruce Willis was going to sue Apple... Read More . Bandwidth concerns are another, which is why a lot of users still download YouTube videos as MP3s 5 Free YouTube Downloaders & Converters Compared: Which One Is Right For You? 5 Free YouTube Downloaders & Converters Compared: Which One Is Right For You? Two years ago, I told you about 5 easy ways to download and convert online videos. Recently, we also told you about ways to download YouTube videos to your Mac, and some ways you can... Read More .

One bonus of downloaded music is that you can edit the files, such as cutting out extraneous bits (annoying intros or outros) or mixing a bunch of tracks into a personal mega-mix. If you’re interested in that, here are the best free tools for the job.

1. mp3DirectCut (Windows)

music-split-mp3directcut

Supported Formats: AAC, MP3.

mp3DirectCut is a nifty little audio editor that’s lightweight and barebones: you can’t do much with it, but it’s very good at what it can do. Basic operations include cutting, copying, pasting, and recording audio.

Advertisement

What sets this app apart from most is the fact that it directly manipulates audio files without having to decompress them first. Not only does this result in a faster workflow, but it also preserves the original audio quality because it doesn’t need to be re-compressed.

Other notable features include ID3 tag editing, pause detection, batch file processing, auto-division of tracks by time value, and automatic filename and tag creation when splitting tracks.

Downloadmp3DirectCut (Free)

2. Mp3Splt (Windows, Mac, Linux)

music-split-mp3splt

Supported Formats: FLAC, MP3, OGG.

First things first, make sure you download Mp3Splt-GTK rather than simply Mp3Splt (which is a command line tool that’s more bother to learn than simply using the GTK version’s graphical interface).

Like mp3DirectCut, Mp3Splt can work on an audio file without having to decompress it first, resulting in a fast workflow and no impact to audio quality. This app is much simple though: you just pick a start and end time, then export that selection as a separate audio file.

If you have an entire album as a single audio file, Mp3Splt can auto-split using CUE files that mark where each track begins and ends. Auto-split using pause detection is available as well. Exported files can have their ID3 tags edited.

DownloadMp3Splt (Free)

3. MP3 Toolkit (Windows)

music-split-mp3-toolkit

Supported Formats: AAC, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA, and more.

MP3 Toolkit is a collection of six separate audio manipulation tools that are all useful in some way: Converter, Ripper, Tag Editor, Merger, Cutter, and Recorder. For this article, we’re most interested in the Merger and Cutter.

The Merger lets you take multiple audio files, rearrange them in whatever order you want, then export it as a single combined audio file. The Cutter lets you take a single audio file, select a start and end time, then export that selection as a separate audio file.

You can download MP3 Toolkit for free, which will be marked as Unregistered. There’s no indication of whether this version limits features or has a time limit.

DownloadMP3 Toolkit (Free, $30)

4. Audacity (Windows, Mac, Linux)

music-split-audacity

Supported Formats:

Audacity is the go-to app if you’re looking for full control over the editing process. With it, you can split any bit of audio into as many pieces as you want, or you can merge as many audio files as you want in whatever order.

What’s nice is that you’ll also have access to all of Audacity’s other features, including audio filters and effects that may come in handy for music files that are problematic in some way. Check out these essential Audacity tips 7 Audacity Tips For Better Audio Editing On a Budget 7 Audacity Tips For Better Audio Editing On a Budget Want to move beyond simple cut-and-crop jobs? Knowing just a few Audacity tips can make your audio-editing life a whole lot easier. Read More .

And the best part? Audacity skills can transfer to other endeavors, including these creative uses for Audacity 10 Creative Uses For Audacity That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of 10 Creative Uses For Audacity That You Probably Haven’t Thought Of You've probably heard of Audacity. It's a free cross-platform application for recording and mixing, which also happens to be incredibly powerful and versatile. You can use it to record vocals, instruments and other sounds, mix... Read More . Audacity is, after all, a very powerful and flexible tool.

DownloadAudacity (Free)

5. Command Line

Supported Formats: Any.

One of the nifty things about Windows is that you can do a lot of cool stuff using the base command line utilities that come with the operating system. The copy command, for example, can actually merge MP3s into one.

Start by opening a Command Prompt window. You can do this by searching cmd in the Start Menu or by selecting Command Prompt in the Power Menu (keyboard shortcut Windows + X).

In the Command Prompt, navigate to the directory where your MP3s are stored. For me, that would be my Downloads folder:

cd C:\Users\Joel\Downloads

Then, use the following command:

copy /b file1.mp3 + file2.mp3 newfile.mp3

This basically takes the contents of file1.mp3 and file2.mp3 and combines them into a third file called newfile.mp3. You can have as many source files as you want as long as you separate them with a + sign, like so:

copy /b file1.mp3 + file2.mp3 + file3.mp3 + file4.mp3 newfile.mp3

The downside to this method is that it’s a literal concatenation of files, so the ID3 tags for all source MP3s except the first will be lost somewhere in the middle of the resulting MP3. Keep going with these essential CMD commands 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know The command prompt is an antiquated, but powerful Windows tool. We'll show you the most useful commands every Windows user needs to know. Read More and these tips for improving Command Prompt 7 Quick Tips to Improve the Windows Command Prompt 7 Quick Tips to Improve the Windows Command Prompt You should learn more about the Command Prompt. It's a more valuable resource than most people realize. These tips will improve your command line experience, even if you're a seasoned user. Read More .

On Linux and Mac, you can use this command instead:

cat file1.mp3 file2.mp3 file3.mp3 > newfile.mp3

Other Tips for Managing Your Music

After splitting and merging a bunch of MP3s, you might find that you have a bit of a mess on your hands. Music management can be a frustrating endeavor, especially if you’re fussy about file names and proper organization.

Which is why you should absolutely check out these music management tools 4 Fantastic Tools to Manage Your Massive MP3 Collection 4 Fantastic Tools to Manage Your Massive MP3 Collection Music library management can be an entirely frustrating experience, especially if you have years of unorganized music waiting to be sorted and labeled properly. Poor music library management will come back and bite you later... Read More . They provide easy ways to do things like mass renaming of files according to a pattern, batch editing of ID3 tags, etc.

And you may even want to further bolster your music collection using these free music download sites Top 10 Websites For Free & Legal MP3 Music Downloads Top 10 Websites For Free & Legal MP3 Music Downloads Read More and these cheaper alternatives to the iTunes Store $1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store $1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store The world of music is constantly changing. Vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s - and that means that we’ve gone from analog to digital. The best thing about digital music, in my opinion, is that... Read More .

Do you know of any other tools for splitting and merging music files? Where do you download your music from? Share your tips and thoughts with us in a comment below!

Originally written by Jessica Cam Wong on 2nd August 2010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. cubilas
    April 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    The command-line method does NOT work on any file type I have tried, including WAV files and RAW audio. It does combine the files, but it does not rewrite the header information, leaving you with all the files combined but the ability to only access the first file in the series.

  2. mbf
    March 20, 2017 at 12:22 am

    The article is silent on the quality of the output an audiophile would like to know the effect on quality of output audio from these software

  3. Mike
    January 23, 2017 at 10:37 am

    another cool app is acoustica basica. It cuts the Mp3 perfectly as it is.

  4. coffeestainedpublications
    July 14, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I want to merge audiobook files into very large files, but many of the utilities do not seem to update the file length properly in the header so that as you play back the merged file, the player can't keep track of it's position correctly. (eg. The player tells me I'm 2 minutes in to the track when I might actually be 2 minutes into the third merged file - maybe 2 hours and two minutes to the total mp3 file.) This means that you can't cue back to where you left-off if you stop the playback.

  5. RJC
    April 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    MPe3split is useless. It may split files but where does it put them? Nobody knows.

  6. chock
    December 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    mp3cut.com not only cuts your files but reduces the sound quality down to 32kbps. So, it is not usable for high quality audio.

  7. Jessica Cam W.
    August 5, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Wow, so many MP3DirectCut recommendations! Thanks, guys! Lossless encoding is always desirable.

  8. sideunes
    August 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    i use mp3directcut http://mpesch3.de1.cc/mp3dc.ht...

  9. Wolfgang Beer
    August 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    another really cool and handy app for splitting a mixtape *.mp3 file that comes with a cue file for track information is cue file spltter from http://www.medieval.it/cuespli...

  10. Wolfgang Beer
    August 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    another really cool and handy app for splitting a mixtape *.mp3 file that comes with a cue file for track information is cue file spltter from http://www.medieval.it/cuesplitter-pc/menu-id-71.html

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 4, 2010 at 3:34 am

      Awesome, thanks for sharing!

  11. com4myst@blogspot
    August 3, 2010 at 8:25 am

    mm I thing #audacity is missing here

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 4, 2010 at 3:34 am

      Yes, Audacity would be part of the DIY tools in this list. I just thought I'd introduce Myna, the 'web-based version' of Audacity so people that don't usually need a full audio editor can still split/join files.

  12. Janeiro
    August 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

    http://cutmp3.net/ is also very useful. and no need to upload a file

  13. Janeiro
    August 3, 2010 at 6:43 am

    http://cutmp3.net/ is also very useful. and no need to upload a file

    • Jessica Cam W.
      August 4, 2010 at 3:16 am

      Ooh, nice discovery, thanks!