· What tools can I use to diagnose and repair problems with my MP3 files?
(Entry last updated on February 12th, 2002)
For checking the structure of the MP3 file itself, you want MP3Trim. This will tell you if the file is a "good" file or not. If MP3Trim gives the file a clean bill of health, then it should play on any playback software. In some cases, simply opening the file in MP3Trim and re-saving it will correct many errors. Note that the free download version only works on one file at a time, and it has a file-size limit. The pay version does not have this limitation.
For simply repairing VBR headers (useful if you've got time-index problems playing back a VBR file on the player) you want VBRFix under Windows, and MP3Tool under Linux. MP3Tool even has a version that will run on the shell prompt of the player itself.
For playing with ID3 tags and straightening them out, you want MP3 Tag Studio. This is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to do rule-based processing on every tag in your MP3 folder. Also highly recommended is Tag&Rename, a Windows utility which will (in recent versions) retrieve tag information from the Allmusic.com database.
For looking at the bit rate and quality of all your MP3s as a group, you want EncSpot. This will tell you what encoder was used to create a given file and will make a judgement call as to whether it's good quality or not.