Edit & Record Compressed MP3 Files Without Decompressing With MP3DirectCut

Tina Sieber 22-06-2011

<firstimage=”//”>compress mp3 fileMP3 is a digital audio encoding format, in which audio files are compressed to reduce the amount of data (i.e. shrink the file size), without losing sound quality in the ears of most listeners. The standard procedure of editing an MP3 file involves several steps: decompression of the file, editing, and re-encoding to MP3. The decompression and re-encoding process typically results in a significant loss of quality.


mp3DirectCut is a freeware audio editor and recorder that can work with compressed MP3 files. It allows you to cut, copy, and paste audio bits or change the volume without decompressing the audio file. In other words, you can edit your MP3 files without a loss of quality. Moreover, you can record MP3s and auto-detect pauses to cut and ID3 tag a file.

The Interface

mp3DirectCut has a clear interface, which provides easy access to all key features. Editing and playback buttons sit at the bottom of the window, navigation in the middle, topped by the MPEG audio data waveform.

compress mp3 file

Just underneath the menubar sits a list of smaller buttons that provide one-click access to further editing features, including ID3 tag editing or moving selection by frame. If you’re unsure what a button will do, hover with the mouse over it for a tooltip clue.

compressing mp3 files


A Closer Look

When you open, edit, or save files mp3DirectCut may show a note, such as the one below. Similar tips can be found throughout the program. This is a great feature for new users, as the notes highlight important points and guide the user.

compressing mp3 files

mp3DirectCut is very intuitive to use. You can edit mp3 files using the mouse, menu, buttons, or keyboard shortcuts. For several actions there is more than one way to get to the same result, making it easier to find it right away. As mentioned above, if you’re unsure what a button does, just have a peek at the tooltip.

compressing mp3 files


For example you can change the volume of an MP3 file or only a section by dragging the grey grips of a cue up or down or click the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [UP] or [DOWN]. The brown color indicates that the volume was adjusted. You can then jump to the next cue to the left or right using the respective key in the navigation window or by clicking the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [LEFT] or [RIGHT].

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To summarize, the program is straightforward and easy to learn using trial and error. If you’re stuck, there is always the user manual that you can consult. You can also find the link under > ? > Manual.

So to conclude, let me just highlight the…


3 Best Features

These are the best features as I see them.

Editing Several Files In Parallel

File > New program window will open an additional instance of mp3DirectCut, allowing you to edit several audio files in parallel.

High Speed Recording

With > Special > “High speed” recording you can record 33 rpm longplay records with 45 rpm playback and also set other grabbing speeds as needed.

Pause Detection… & Saving Split File

So you recorded an entire LP and now you want to split it up into single MP3 files? Go to > Special > Pause detection, and adjust the settings. When the tool is done adding the cues, close the Pause detection window.


You now need to change the cues to mark the end of a file. One after another, click each cue and go to > Edit > Names and part properties (or click the respective button), where you need to check > Cue. When you have done all cues, go to > File > Save split to save every region beginning with a cue to a new file.

compress mp3 file

If you need more help figuring out this program, know that mp3DirectCut comes with a good user manual, which also features a list of keyboard shortcuts and command line options.

Looking for more MP3 editing tools? Have a look at these articles:

What are your favorite features or what do you think is missing in mp3DirectCut editor? Please share your impressions in the comments.

Related topics: Audio Editor, File Compression, MP3, Record Audio.

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  1. Fareed
    June 27, 2011 at 5:44 am

    I searched lots of days to make a MP3 Ringtones, i hope this software makes..Thank you very much

  2. Audioengineer
    June 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    You should never EVER EVER record anything as lossy...everything should be recorded in RAW and then bounced as WAV or AIFF, that way if you ever do want a higher quality version of whatever you can get it. I repeat, never bounce anything to MP3 or record to MP3 because then you're stuck. Convert to MP3/AAC afterwords so that the original source is completely lossless.

  3. Hank
    June 23, 2011 at 12:54 am

    > "...without losing sound quality in the ears of most listeners"

    What's the sense of writing such a sentence? Fact is, it's either a lossy one or it's useless if you wanna compress without a lossy quality because then you don't need mp3.

    • Tina
      June 23, 2011 at 1:53 am

      To reach its high compression, which enables small file sizes, MP3 encoding eliminates those sounds that most people can not hear anyways. The fact, however, is that some people with highly sensible or trained ears do hear the difference between an MP3 and a WAV.

      This has nothing to do with the software introduced here, it's a characteristic of MP3 encoding.

      • Hank
        June 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        When you're talking about ppl who are listing to music via their mobile, ok. But everyone else who loves good sound should use something better than mp3 (as long as they wanna use compressed files). Anyway, if you don't hear the difference between a high compressed mp3 and a lossless soundfile, you either are doing something badly wrong to your ears or should let check your ears by a doc. The only "advantage" of mp3 is, that it's wide spreaded because it's one of the earlies.

        Anyway, that's no discrimination about your article and work itself. It's all about the above quoted sentence.

        • Tina
          June 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm


          I concur. Of course mp3 is a lossy format. However, it was designed so that the average listener, who likely uses average to bad speakers or headphones, won't realize the difference. Hence, 'most listeners'. And this average person may find the above tool useful. That's all this article is about - the tool.

      • Audioengineer
        June 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        Although that may be what everyone says, MP3's distort the rest of the "instruments" with in a sound file. When you start messing around with cutting out frequencies it affects all of the other frequencies through either distortion, pitch, or just making it sound muddy, and that's exactly what MP3's do. They cut out what "human's can't hear" but what that does is distort every other frequency that's part of that sound wave. MP3's also compress the wave itself AFTER it's cut out the "unusable" frequencies, which leads to more distortion.