Pad the beginning of an MP3 file with silence
January 22, 2014 4:45 PM   Subscribe

What's a good way—using a free, GUI-based, Windows tool—to pad the beginning of an MP3 audio file with a minute of silence?

With audio that's meant to guide you through an exercise routine or meditation session, after clicking 'play' at my desktop computer, I want some time to go get into place on the floor before the routine starts.
posted by Paquda to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Audacity is my go-to.
posted by roomwithaview at 4:47 PM on January 22, 2014 [9 favorites]

What are you clicking play on? If it's a player with playlists you could use Audacity to generate 1 minute tracks to load into your playlist interleaved with your mp3s.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 4:49 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Audacity will absolutely do this. I don't know what formats you're working in, so you might have to also download MP3 conversion libraries alongside it (it's easy enough to find a Youtube tutorial on this, and I think there's even in-program help).

After that you import your track, put your cursor at the start, and then go up to the "generate" menu and click on "silence". Put in the number of seconds you want to generate, it will, and then export as whatever you'd like.
posted by codacorolla at 4:50 PM on January 22, 2014

nth Audacity.
posted by pompomtom at 4:53 PM on January 22, 2014

I think the easiest will be laconic skeuomorph's idea of just using playlists. Take one of the pre-made silent mp3s of varying lengths here and insert them into a playlist. No need to muck around with Audacity.
posted by jcreigh at 5:06 PM on January 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

You don't need to decode / re-encode anything, you can just concatenate the files together. You can use jcreigh's link to get the silent mp3s. On windows you can do this from the command line:

copy /b 30sec.mp3 + input.mp3 output.mp3

The metadata won't necessarily be correct or consistent, but it will play just fine.
posted by aubilenon at 5:21 PM on January 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oops, missed the requirement that it's GUI-based. NEVERMIND!

(but be aware that opening it in audacity, adding the silence, and re-saving WILL decrease the quality)
posted by aubilenon at 5:22 PM on January 22, 2014

Please don't re-encode lossy files using Audacity or similar. Playlists or concatenation are vastly preferable.
posted by turkeyphant at 9:48 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yup, Audacity will do it (and a mot else besides).
posted by Gelatin at 2:57 AM on January 23, 2014

I may be trippin' but doesn't the Winamp (i.e. Winamp 3.5) have a 'pause between tracks' option built-in? Can't test it right now so this shall remain a shot in the dark. But yeah, failing that silent MP3s + playlist seems a better option than re-encoding in Audacity.
posted by Drexen at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2014

If you want to losslessly edit an mp3, mp3DirectCut is a tool that can modify an mp3 without re-encoding. However, I don't know if it can insert silence; I've only ever used it to trim and split files.

That said, I agree with the above sentiment that it would be simpler to just make a silent audio file and use it in a playlist.
posted by t3h933k at 8:53 AM on January 23, 2014

I honestly don't think that listening to a non-musical track the asker will be able to tell the difference between whatever it was encoded at before, and whatever Audacity will do to it. I find "audiophiles" tend to vastly overrate how much normal people care about that sort of thing.
posted by codacorolla at 11:20 AM on January 23, 2014

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