One method for geeks, one for novices
Do you have a huge collection of MP3 files? If so, you probably have run into all kinds of issues with your music files from missing track data to unplayable songs to poor sound quality, etc, etc. There are literally hundreds of issues that can occur with MP3 files.
There are lots of programs out there to properly tag MP3 files, fix certain issues like VBR headers, add cover art, etc, but you have to download a lot of different programs and a lot of them mess things up more than they fix issues with MP3 files.
In this article, I want to mention three programs that I have used that do a great job of finding damaged MP3 files and helping you fix the issues. If you’re a perfectionist and really want to clean up your MP3 collection by tagging everything, adding cover art, fixing header issues and re-ripping poor quality files, then check out these programs below.
Note: MP3 Diags is not written for the novice user. You need to know a little bit about MP3 files and their technical specifications. If you’re looking for a program that does everything automatically, try MP3val, which I mention below.
MP3 Diags is a comprehensive application that can identify up to 50 types of issues with MP3 files and also has tools to fix most of those issues.
Some of the issues that it can identify in MP3 files include:
– Broken tags and broken headers
– Duplicate tags and headers
– Wrong location of tags and headers (ID3V2, LAME, etc)
– Missing VBR header
– Missing track info
– Missing cover art
– Poor quality audio
It can also fix quite a few problems like mentioned above, including some of the more common issues like:
– Adding track info from different sources (Internet, local files, etc)
– Adding album cover art from the Internet
– Fixing MP3 files that show the wrong song duration
– Fixing files in which the player cannot seek correctly
– Renaming files and changing the word case for track info
The great thing about this program is that even though it’s fairly complicated to use, it has a whole lot of documentation written by the program creator. He basically walks you through every screen and explains what all the buttons and options do. I have used this program on my dads MP3 collection, which included a lot of MP3s of Hindi music. Most of those MP3s were damaged or missing tags in some way or the other. MP3 diags scanned everything and quickly gave me a snapshot of what issues each MP3 file had.
MP3Test is definitely a simpler program to use than MP3 Diags, but it won’t catch as many errors. However, if you’re looking to find major issues, then MP3Test is just fine. It quickly scans your MP3 files and then breaks your songs down into damaged and error-free songs.
It also tries to give you some useful info like an error percentage for each song so you can quickly focus on the most damaged songs first. With this program, you won’t be able to repair as many errors either, but at least you can identify them.
If you want to get some extra features like tag editing and automatic rename by tags, then you have to get the Pro version. I would use this program only if you don’t have the time to learn MP3 Diags.
The last program I wanted to mention was MP3val, which I like because it’s very light-weight and way more “push button” than the other two programs. Basically, you just run it and it analyzes the files and fixes them for you. It corrects a number of issues including header problems, incorrect CRC, garbage at the end or beginning of the file, etc.
These are three good programs for fixing broken MP3 files that either don’t play properly, don’t have the correct headers, don’t have the right tags, etc. If you have a question about one of the programs, post a comment here and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!