Compressing mp3 files is a good idea for users who don’t have much disc space left on their portable multimedia devices or hard drives. In fact, it is still a very good idea even if you have a huge amount of space. Saving space means you can load more audio files. If you don’t notice any sound quality difference or quality change when comparing the original with the compressed mp3 file, why don’t you have the compressed one instead? It doesn’t that hard to reduce mp3 size, after all. With the right software, you can compress mp3 audio files in batch in just a few clicks. And, yes, there are free audio compression programs.
MP3 Quality Modifier is perhaps one of the most notable free mp3 compressor programs out there. Another free solution is Panther, which is an audio converter software but provides a tool to reduce audio size without affecting too much quality.
MP3 Quality Modifier
It’s portable, so you can immediately use it without installing right after extracting the zip content. Within just three steps–assuming that you don’t change its destination folder–this tool can compress many mp3 files at once without harming the ID3 tags by reducing the bitrate.
Some audio quality presets are available. Users, especially who want to get the result as fast as possible, can simply choose one of the provided presets.
Advanced users can optionally configure the settings manually to achieve their desired level of quality in case none of the presets meet their specific needs. Moreover, your custom settings can be saved as a new preset.
In short, this is what you do to compress your music files:
- Add all of the files into the list
- Choose an MP3 preset or manually configure the settings
- Click on the “Process” button to begin the compression
There are six (6) presets available which include Default, Best Quality, High Quality, Portable, Compromise, and Very low quality.
I’ve tried to compress a single mp3 file six times using all the available presets. When I listened to the file compressed using “high quality” and “very low quality” presets, I could barely notice the difference even though I kept repeating the same track several times. And I didn’t notice anything different when comparing between the “portable” and “very low quality” outputs. Note that only one mp3 file that I tested using all of the presets. Your experience might be different than mine.
As you can see from the screenshot of the test result below, the ones with the lower bitrates have the lower sizes and vice versa.
Other features to note:
MP3 Quality Modifier 2.4 is compatible with Windows only (tested on Windows 7)
Go to the developer’s website to download the program
In terms of features, Panther 0.9 doesn’t have many to offer, but it supports Linux in addition to Windows. This free tool requires Java to run properly. If Java isn’t installed on your machine yet, the download page of Java will be opened in your default browser when you launched Panther.
Users who need to compress mp3 files can start it immediately by choosing “Reduce the size of music files” once the program is launched. Multiple files can be added at once for batch compression. However, the only way for users to compress audio files is by manually changing the bitrate (64, 128 and 256 kbps). No presets available to help average users.
So far I’ve only managed to find these two free programs to compress mp3 files. If you know other similar free tools please let me know.