Tag Archives: mp3

ncdt: An interesting evolution

Quick on the heels of tree and ddir, a loyal reader pointed out ncdt, which takes the tree model and adds a small feature or two.


As you can see, ncdt adds the size of files and directories as part of its default display. So in situations where it’s useful to see directory structure and size — such as labeling removable media, like CDs — it is probably more useful.

Unfortunately, I see no options to adjust what ncdt shows, so there are no “human-readable” (which I prefer) output flags or the like. What you see is what you get.

ncdt also promises to show “special” data for mp3 files, but the Debian version as well as the version I built on my Arch system from the Debian source package showed nothing. Even the sample screenshot in Debian doesn’t show anything “special” for mp3 files. Hmmm. 😦

It’s possible that there is an added dependency that I don’t have, or perhaps the mp3 files I tried post-date what ncdt is capable of analyzing. I checked the ReadMe and source files, but I got no hints. And the only home page I have for ncdt is the Debian package page above.

No matter. ncdt adds a little to the tree model and could probably, at one time in the past, show a little information about mp3 files. It’s an interesting evolution, even if it still needs some attention to reach fruition.

checkmp3: Does exactly that

A long time ago I mentioned mp3check, and we also saw mpck and mp3val. checkmp3 does much the same thing as those tools, albeit with a little less … discussion.


checkmp3 adds on the oblique ability to “fix” mp3 files, by sending the entire file to STDOUT but omitting frames which appear invalid. I suppose that could technically “fix” an mp3 if you pipe it into another file, but I also suspect it would cause hiccups in some cases. The files I used for a test run were more or less intact, so I didn’t notice any difference in playback.

You see the Debian Squeeze version there (apparently it’s also in Sid), but the man page gives a Sourceforge address which is titled, oddly, MP3 Check. I tried building MP3 Check from scratch in Arch but ran into issues; all the same, I have no reason to believe that checkmp3 and MP3 Check are not the same program. (The mp3check we saw before was strikingly different.)

That’s about all I can think of to say. It’s a very straightforward tool and (apparently) does what it promises. Let’s move on.

lame: How could I have forgotten this?

Somehow I managed to work my way through 20 months of console programs — usually on a two-a-day basis — and still not mention lame.


That’s unacceptable, considering I can remember lame from as far back as 1999 or maybe even earlier. Back then I was stuck using Xing‘s Audio Catalyst to convert CDs to mp3s, and a friend laughed and said, “Get lame.”

Fifteen years have not obsoleted lame, and for what I can remember, it still works just as well. And there’s even more reason to love it now, with that beautiful real-time animated conversion statistics graph. K.Mandla likes. … 😀

It might be presumptuous for me to offer suggestions on how to use a program that has been around since 1998 and reached such a widespread audience. It’s even more presumptuous because lame has help pages as long as your arm, covering everything from variable bitrate encoding to filter cutoffs to id3 tagging options. For any tweak I could offer, lame has about 20 variations.

I will be honest and say I don’t use lame much any more, since most tools I see incorporate other encoding tools, or rip straight from audio to mp3/ogg. It’s rare that I see a wav file that needs conversion. 😦 And if I must be absolutely candid, I haven’t ripped a CD to mp3 in years.

Perhaps that too is a sign of our evolution, over the last 15 years. :\

mp3rename: Rename and organize, in one fell swoop

No, it is not reruns week for K.Mandla. Back in January we had a little CLI tool named mp3rename, and now again, here’s a CLI tool named mp3rename.


Two separate tools with much the same approach and results. This mp3rename, which dates back to 2003 supposedly, adds the feature of organizing the output files, in a similar fashion to mussort. I don’t recall seeing this outside of one or two other utilities.

This mp3rename is a little convoluted to work with; I found I had to call specifically for the IDv3 tag to be used, or it came up with no data to sort or rename on. That might just be my files though.

And it’s worth mentioning that the renaming options seemed to stutter if they weren’t explicitly listed in the command, even though the help flag suggests there’s a “default” string mp3rename will fall back to. I got a lot of errors until I used one I drew up with no spaces, and tacked it on to the end of the command.

If you try this in Arch, you’ll need both perl-mp3-info from extra and perl-mp3-tag out of AUR. Offhand, I’m not sure what those correspond to in Debian; my search for “perl mp3” was somewhat scattered.

In all, this mp3rename — aside from the option to organize mp3s according to artist and album — doesn’t differ a whole lot from the other one. And goodness knows there are lots of other scripts, some specific to file types, that will do the same in much the same way.

The lesson to be learned here is, if you are a young Turk in software design circles, the command-line mp3 renamer utility has been done. And done, and done, and done, and done. … 😐

mpgtx: Slicing and dicing, mpegs of all varieties

Having already cruised past such heavyweights as mplayer, mencoder, handbrake, avidemux, inkscape and imagemagick makes me a little more comfortable approaching mpgtx.


A tool specifically for carving away at mpeg files of all varieties is not intimidating in itself.

Knowing full well that it’s a console-only tool, with nothing graphical aside from specific control characters … that might be daunting to some.

mpgtx wisely subordinates some obvious functions to quick mnemonics, taking its biggest functions and relegating them to ancillary “programs.” So mpgtx -s is the same is mpgsplit, and so forth.

I mention that only because I enjoy little conveniences like those.

Once you get used to how mpgtx represents ranges and times, it becomes a piece of cake to get it to split or join as you like.

Knowing some of the mechanics of a video file are important too though. I had a lot of false starts with split video files until I used the -P flag, to preserve the metadata between the original and the chunk output.

Of course, it’s not quite correct, but it helps get playback started.

mpgtx claims it can handle mp3 files too, and tagmp3 — supposedly the same as mpgtx -T — has a lot of the same functions as in mp3rename and similar tools.

So what you get with mpgtx is a wide variety of tools that approach a wide variety of media files. Not a bad tool to have around. 😐

One final note: I feel somehow obligated to mention that the last posted update to mpgtx was in 2005.

Ordinarily I don’t mind if a program is out of date, even if it stretches back to the late 1980s.

Part of me wonders how well this is keeping up with newer file types and media standards, and if that would be an issue with more recently encoded files.

Take care and keep backups, would be my advice. Not to be a scaremonger, just that prudence is the better part of valor.

mpck: Seemingly misnamed

So long as we’re on mp3 file checkers, mpck is available too.


Had it been me, I would have named it mp3ck, but that is neither here nor there.

In the same sort of fashion as mp3check and mp3val, mpck skims mp3 files and checks for errors.

And again, without a damaged file I don’t know what I can show except happy results.

mpck does have a couple of unusual flairs though: It will check for names that are longer than a certain limit, check for “strange” characters, and check files with extensions other than just mp3.

I see no option to fix files though, so it may be that you need another tool for a monkey wrench, if mpck throws errors.

And this time the tables are turned: mpck is in Arch, but not Debian! Revenge! 😉

mp3val: A simple validation check

I’m coming to grips with the fact that my Thursdays are more or less overloaded, and if I want to keep up my two-a-day pace I’m going to have to make preparations.

Fair enough. Here’s one I anticipated yesterday: mp3val.


Much like mp3check from last week, mp3val runs through the files you give it, and checks over the guts.

mp3val has the options to fix errors, preserve timestamps, keep an error log, etc. It seems quite prepared to do a thorough job.

I say “seems” again because I went through the mp3 files I have and didn’t get any errors, like you see in the screenshot.

mp3check though, marked those with small inconsistencies, which now makes me wonder if one or both of these programs is slightly out of whack. One is giving warnings, the other says remain calm, all is well.

Perhaps if I had a file I knew to be damaged, I could troubleshoot one or both. If you have an mp3 that is corrupted, maybe you can perform due diligence. I have a few more posts to get through this morning. … 🙄

By the way, this is another that is in Debian &c., but not in Arch. 😯 Blasphemy! 😉

mp3report: We’re not even close to finished yet

The beat goes on. Among esoteric and erstwhile intriguing mp3 accessories is mp3report, which — again, as you might have divined — is really pretty cool.


Fully known as the MP3 Report Generator, this nifty little tool spits out a classy table in HTML, showing all the mp3s within its reach.

All very clever, you say, but I have over 3Tb of mixed and moshed audio files, arranged by genre, artist, album, release, edition, quality and embedded image data, through a series of 4000 folders.

Apparently not a problem, since mp3report can recurse through directories, and carries support for version 1 and 2 id3 tags.

All very clever, you say, but I would like to see more detail in a report.

In that case, I would suggest checking out the documentation, which allows you to customize the report results, adding or subtracting as much data as your little heart desires.

All very clever, you say, but it’s … it’s … it’s old.

Yes, well, it’s true, it technically dates back to 2000, but I could find no rough spots, except when I tried to force-feed it a few ogg files. 🙄

But considering it does most of its work in textmode and only outputs to a file, what exactly are you missing in terminal evolution over the last 14 years?

I found mp3report in the Debian-Ubuntu-Mint chain gang, but not in Arch or AUR. If it’s not in your distro I believe it could just be downloaded and run; I’m hopeless when it comes to perl, but it looks like it only needs mp3::info.

Next up, believe it or not … more mp3-related tools! 😯 🙄

mp3rename: The ubiquitous function, in its simplest form

Before I even showed you a screenshot, you would probably have an idea of what mp3rename does.


And yet I’d be leaving out a few crucial points if I said no more than that.

First, mp3rename needs you to set the “look” of the files when they’re renamed. In other words, it wants to know how the files should look when they’re done.

So running it the first time with something like this

mp3rename -s '&a - &b - &k. &t'

and then following it with

mp3rename *mp3

Should give you files that look like

Revolution Void - Increase the Dosage - 1. Invisible Walls.mp3

and that would be good enough.

As far as I can tell, there is no way to reverse the action, i.e., to fill tags based on file names. For that, you’ll need another tool.

You’ll need to ask for zero-padding, if you want it. And be careful with the -v flag for verbosity; somehow, when I used that once, all the files were written to a single one called -v.mp3. That caused some problems.

That’s about it though. I can vouch for a lot of other renaming tools for audio files, but I suppose in its simplest form, this is what the function looks like.

Oh, by the way: There are a lot of projects that go by the name “mp3rename”. This one comes out of the Debian repos and appears in AUR; the fact that it was in both is the reason I used it. There’s another one here, and some others elsewhere.

mp3burn: Straight to video — I mean, audio

If you think I’m nervous about reaching way back to 2001 for something like mp3burn, you needn’t worry.


One thing you can say about Debian, it does a good job preserving its multitude of components.

Of course, that’s Linux Mint 16, which is only a distant cousin to Debian, but mp3burn works well from the repos there. I didn’t find it in Arch. 😯 Amazing, I know.

I’ll admit I didn’t actually burn a CD though; I’m low on CDs right now. 😕 But not bad for a program with an 0.1 version dated 2001. It seems to have aged well.

mp3burn’s claim to fame is that it doesn’t spill decoded mp3s to disk, which saves space in the conversion process.

Remembering back to 2001, I can see why mp3burn would have won a few converts. Disk space was a little tighter 12 years ago, and filling a disk while writing a CD was a danger.

Regardless, mp3burn still works, even if disk space isn’t a worry these days.

Oh, and I know you thought mp3wrap would round out all the mp3* programs. Not by a long shot. 😈