Why Do my mp3's Sound Like Crap?!

I burned my Paramore CD and put them on my iPod and it sounds like CRAP! I had downloaded the songs and they sound great but the one’s I just burned are REALLLLLY quiet and sound all muffled on my iPod…!!

I’ve tried burning them in Windows Media Player instead and it seems a tiny bit better but maybe it’s just my imagination… I’ve tried speeds192, 164

I reinstalled my cd/dvd drivers, burned them to wav’s and then converted them at speeds112, and 256 - going to put them on my iPod and test it out…

SO - What could I be doing wrong!? Could it be my burner?

…I can’t really tell when it plays on my computer or iPod w/ headphones but in the car on my stereo it sounds HORRIBLE and the sound is so up and down - it makes no sense…!

You are confusing ‘speeds’ with the bitrate (kbp/s) used to encode/compress…
What are the original MP3s? 192kbps,128, etc…
Why are you burning them to put on the ipod? Are you burning as MP3s on disc, and playing in car,or are you burning an audio CD?
Just know that by, converting an already compressed lossy file (mp3>wav>mp3) and then converting again to compressed file (lossy to lossy), you’re losing even more quality…
Always best to start from original source…

sorry, I use the word burn when I mean rip. I ripped it (192kbp/s) from the brand new original CD and it sounded like crap. So I tried 164, 112, 256… That’s not making a difference.

I put it on my iPod & use the tape converter in the stereo tape player to listen on my car stereo. This is when it becomes clear that it is NOT the same as my other songs, or other versions of these same songs that I had previously downloaded! Shouldn’t it be HIGHER quality when it comes straight off the CD as opposed to downloading them peer to peer?!

So THEN I ripped them as wav’s and converted THOSE to mp3’s to see if that helped… it did help a little. But it still doesn’t sound as clear as other songs…

Hmm… my iPod now says ‘determining audio volume’ for each song when I plug it in!! Is it the iPod doing it, did they just add something like that recently that could be screwing up the way it sounds??? I sure do hate apple…

stop saying “Downloaded” when refering to music extracted mfrom a physical disc.

“downloaded” refers to music you purchase as daata off the web and it goes directly to your computer.

Extracting music from a physical CD is refered to as “ripping” and the
music extracted is called “ripped”

USUALLY “Ripping” is done as wav/pcm files, then a seperate operation is performed to create "compressed format files"
the most common being mp3 files of vaious “bitrates”

How an mp3 files “sounds” (in regards to audio quality)
depends less on the bitrate than on the specific algorythm
used to do the compression.

I have no idea what alorythm Widows Media player uses
but I’m as sure it sucks as I am that it’ll be cold in antarctica in july.

generally regarded as the best algorythm is “LAME” which is used by many different compression programs.

But LAME has it’s limitations and at bitrates 160k and below
FHg probably works better.

Frankly I stick mostly to 320k mp3’s, storage space not being much of an issue.


I said downloaded because I MEANT downloaded. I downloaded the Paramore songs from LIMEWIRE. I liked it so I purchased the CD and ripped it to my hard drive. THOSE sound like crap. I DID rip them at 320kps and it STILL sounds muffled and crappy - hense my problem. I’ve tried iTunes, MusicMatch & windows media player, W.m.p. ripped as wav’s being my best quality so far in my experimenting.

I am not posting because I’m an idiot, I’ve been messing with digital music since before Napster. I’m not an idiot - this has just never happened before.

Best ripping option imo is to use EAC + Lame, http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=EAC_and_Lame

CDex should work fine for new CDs. It’s complete, ready to go and LAME preset ready.

Under Settings-> Encoder-> choose LAME. Under Qualty choose [B]preset standard[/B].

The mp3s produced with ‘preset standard’, in blind ABX listening tests, have been found to be indistinguishable from the original for most testers.

I’m using CDex 1.70, choose the installer version:


I agree with Jedi Master Yoda on EAC .
EAC will make a .wav that is equal to what is on the commercial CD if that is what you want.
It also has the ability to go strait to .mp3 from the CD.There are a couple of methods of doing this.
First reading this link: (same as the one Jedi Master Yoda posted)
Then unzip the LAME into the same directory as EAC(should be in Program Files).
You can get it here: ( you probably want the top one).
Once you do that the first method is different than the one in the linked article.
It is the easy one but has some less control.The first Image shows the setup.

The second method is based on the hydrogenaudio link but the command line I use is different since I wanted a CBR & stereo instead of joint stereo.So it produces the same result as the first method.The IDtagging is slightly different.
With different coding you could use VBR if that is what you want.
For both you can follow these instructions.They are part of what I use when I make a multi album .mp3 CD.

EAC pulldown
Drive options.
Extraction Method tab:
Select: Secure mode with following drive features.
Leave both checked.
EAC options
Command line arguement needed. When setting up EAC.
Filename tab: %N _ %T
The spaces make the songs display better.
freeb/Database options
freedb tab Need to put in your email address & select the “Get active freedb server list”
You need internet connection for EAC to work.
Database pulldown : Get CD information from Remote freedb
Locates the CD in web data base in EAC it auto names files.
Action tab: Detect Gaps Analyzes
Check mark to append gaps to previous track.
Edit pulldown: Select all
copy tracks uncompressed to a temp folder.
close EAC
Then create group name folder then album name folder for each CD.
There are some other settings in all the options you may want to set that will be specific to your burner drive.
Note: Using uncompressed will give you the .wav format .Use compressed for .mp3

The command line I use for the second method is this:
–preset 192 --cbr -m s --ta “%a” --tt “%t” --tg “%m” --tl “%g” --ty “%y” --tn “%n” %s %d

I use 192 kBit/s to me this sounds good on most units.If you have better hearing & can tell the difference the go higher.

@MysticEyes; I haven’t tried the program CDex you suggested .I did DL it & I’m going to install it & give it a try.

I also prefer EAC, although it can be a little daunting at first…There’s also the very good (IMO), dBpoweramp, not free but user-friendlier…

Have a good day!

I have dBpoweramp(an older version) but stayed with EAC because it is freeware . I agree dBpoweramp is very easy to use.


I use 192 kBit/s to me this sounds good on most units.If you have better hearing & can tell the difference the go higher.

@MysticEyes; I haven’t tried the program CDex you suggested .I did DL it & I’m going to install it & give it a try.

The reason I suggested CDex is for it’s ease of use and it is LAME and LAME [B]preset ready [/B](I did update LAME to the latest). In the final wash it’s the LAME settings that matter for a good sounding mp3. CDex rips fine.

Your LAME screen shots and settings ‘–preset 192 [B]–cbr[/B]’ show you are not taking advantage of all the current sonic capabilities that LAME offers. In CDex you would simply choose ‘preset standard’. This is VBR (Varible Bit Rate) as opposed to your CBR (Constant Bit Rate) setting. The resulting VBR file will be about [B]the same size[/B] as your 192 CBR, but will produce a mp3 that to many (it has been tested) will sound identical to the CD. The reason being is that for more complex portions it will hit 320 when needed. This is also the way DVD’s work, high bitrates when[B] needed[/B].

Here’s a graphical representation:

The average bitrate is 195, which tells you the file size will only be a tad larger than your 192 CBRs. But notice that 32% of the mp3 has been converted at a superior higher bitrate than yours.

All this can be accomplished with EAC/LAME, it’s just a bit more complicated. With CDex, one download, one LAME preset setting and you are ready to go.

@MysticEyes : I installed CDex & I had DLed a newer version of Lame for EAC so I put that in.That is version 398.2 .
I tested it a bit but haven’t found the graph.
I use a CBR becaue I’ve been told that some CD players don’t play the VBR .

MysticEyes wrote,

“The reason being is that for more complex portions it will hit 320 when needed. This is also the way DVD’s work, high bitrates when needed.”…

Indeed, :iagree:… The encoder adjusts itself according to the complexity (“complex portions”) of the music…Lame [B]VBR[/B] gives you a [I]constant quality[/I] level rather than a [I]constant bitrate[/I]…

[QUOTE=cholla;2232441]@MysticEyes : I installed CDex & I had DLed a newer version of Lame for EAC so I put that in.That is version 398.2 .
I tested it a bit but haven’t found the graph.
I use a CBR becaue I’ve been told that[B] some CD players don’t play the VBR [/B].[/QUOTE]
Well it’s part of the spec and they should, my Sansa mp3 player and every mp3 ready DVD player I’ve tried does.

The graph is from another app. :slight_smile:


You were all set to go with EAC you just had to change your settings from CBR. My CDex recommendation for those new to the game (like the OP). A one download, easy to get running app. But I do use it all the time, great for audio conversions too.

Hopefully you use this as the last step in your mp3 creation process.


Relax, we are not mind readers!

And you did post in the “newbies” forum…

Sorry for a certain presumption of ignorance, particularly in regards to your original phrasing.

I personally use the free version of “SwitchSound” by NCH for creating compressed files, then TagScanner to do my tagging.

I do mostly 320kBit/sec CBR, partly because the compressionmoperation runs faster
partly because I have sufficient space to store my complete
library several times.

There are several unexamined possibilities,
a bad optical drive?
a bad pressed disc?

@MysticEyes ; I do like the CDex program & from no more than I’ve tested it I can tell it will be a useful addition.
EncSpot does give quite a bit of information.I’m posting an image of one of the CBR files.Theres not a lot to look at but I thought someone might like to see a comparison.
I DLed mp3gain but I haven’t installed it yet.Looks interesting also.

I DLed [B]mp3gain[/B] but I haven’t installed it yet.Looks interesting also.

You’ll be able to normalize [B]all[/B] your mp3s to the same volume (by how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear) and eliminate clipping also. The default setting is 89db, which seems a bit low. I use 92db.

Wow. Lots of this is to techy for me… I am running my Riot! CD through the CDex program now, we’ll see how it goes!

BUT My iPod is doing this with LOTS of songs so maybe it’s my iPod!! Also my burner only burns half a cd now, so maybe it’s my burner! My technology is all dying and me w/ no money to replace it! Any suggestions on how I can fix them?!

My burner is going fine now but it randomly stops on some songs/discs… NEVER has trouble w/ dvd’s… what the frick?!

THANKS GUYS!! you guys amaze me

Wait what? I’m confused…

You downloaded songs off Limewire, you like them so you bought the actual songs on an cd from a store.
Then you ripped the songs and stored on hard drive. You want to put it on iPod right?

Then on your last post you said it could be your burner’s fault. WAIT WHAT? How could it be your burner’s fault, your not burning anything??

Anyways if you want to fix your burner, find your burner’s model (IT HAS TO BE THE CORRECT ONE, OPEN UP YOUR COMPUTER AND LOOK IF YOU HAVE TO) then go to this site: http://dhc014.rpc1.org/indexOEM.htm
Find your correct firmware, download it (if there is more than one, download all and install all according to order). Then run the stuff you downloaded. This should solve your burn problems because I had the exact same problem and I fixed it by updating the firmware.

CD DRIVE. Sorry, I call it a burner! I mean my ‘cd drive’

How does one ‘open up’ a laptop?