Some users of TheLastRipper has requested integrated volume nomalization (Issue 61). While I admit that I’ve noticed the volume changes between tracks, I’ve never really bordered to find a solution. But since others had similar issues, I decided to take a look at it. I ended up looking at ReplayGain, a project that aims to add a tag, containing volume information, to all songs. Then read the tag at playback and determine the volume. Though the value of the tag must be calculated first.
As this seams like a big feature, and as argued by Andreas in the issue tread, it’s probably not a feature for TheLastRipper. Nevertheless it doesn’t mean that the problem should be fixed, just that it should be done elsewhere. This is also good, since you entire music collection doesn’t necessarily origin from TheLastRipper. The solution is to implement this feature at playback level, meaning in your audio player.
For those of us running Ubuntu and using Amarok, this can be done easily. First open Amarok, choose “script-management”, Click download new scripts. This will open a dialog showing the newest, most popular and most downloaded script for Amarok. Just install the script called ReplayGain. Once this is installed you’ll have to install some dependencies with Synaptic. I’ll try to list those I think is needed: python-kde3, mp3gain, vorbisgain, flac, python-xml
If you enter the script-management in Amarok again, you can enable the ReplayGain script. Enable it, select it and click “Settings”, you can tweak the ReplayGain script a little here. Once your done with that leave the settings, and ReplayGain will print a small popup, telling you which optional dependencies you are missing. I’ve probably forgot to list some of them, you may find them in Synaptic if you think you need them. Though I haven’t found “aacgain” or “replaygain” in the Ubuntu repositories.
Well, you don’t need “replaygain” or “AACGain”, unless you, like me, have AAC music. Actually I’ve just bought my first AAC music from iTunes. I haven’t used iTunes before, but I thought I’d give it a try since they started releasing DRM-free content. So I installed iTunes in my virtual machine, and copied the AAC files back to my Ubuntu system after they were downloaded. First I must say, the quality of iTunes plus files are very good, and the files has ID3v2 tags (other mp3’s I’ve bought online did!). It’s sad that iTunes doesn’t run on Linux, Apple could at least offer a web interface for iTunes plus.
Well, if you have AAC encoded music, you’ll need AACGain, it’s not in Ubuntu or Debian repositories. Actually I couldn’t find any .deb packages for it anywhere. So I decided to make my own. You may download my ACCGain package here. Feel free to contact me if you want the source package.
Once you’re done installing dependencies, and have enabled the ReplayGain Amarok script, you can right click in your playlist and choose “Apply Replaygain tags”, I selected “To entire collection using album tags” it took a while but the volume was automatically determined by Amarok afterwards.