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I've been prowling the net for some good audio editing programs to optimize my mp3 collection for the system in my car, and decided to compare Audacity and Goldwave.

Test Files I've taken brief, bass heavy selections from:

  • Sean Paul - Like Glue - 192 kbps
  • Bone Crusha - Neva Scared - 192 kpbs

Goldwave Settings I made 2 files for testing from Goldwave per song, one given the parametric equalizer and the other the regular equalizer, both using the preset bass boost. Audacity Settings In Audacity, I made 3 test files per song using the following settings for the bass boost:

  • 12hz/12dB (Default)
  • 12hz/36dB
  • 20hz/36dB

I found that 20-25 hz seemed to be just right for increasing bass without losing sound quality, but it varies per song, so I took the low range.

Test System

  • JVC mp3 compatable Head unit (Don't remember model number or watts off the top of my head)
  • 4 Pyramid Royal Red 300 watt speakers
  • Subwoofer Setup:
    • 2 Phoenix Gold Titanium Ti 10D 10 inch subs
    • 1000 watt Legacy Amp
    • 1.5 Farad Stingpro Capacitor

Test Results I burned the mp3s onto an RW and went out to test them in my car; tests are based on how good I thought it sounded (yes, they were highly scientific tests :P ). The tests were run with the amp putting out full power and the overall volume level at 26 out of 40. My findings were that, out of the Audacity files, the 20/36 was best, with the loudest bass with least distortion. Out of the Goldwave files, I found the ones with the parametric equalizer to be best, as the ones done only using the regular equalizer had noticeable sound distortion and somewhat quieter bass. Between the two winners for each program (Audacity 20/36, Goldwave Parametric), the Audacity file came out on top by a narrow margin, having slightly better bass and about equal sound quality. I'm now considering running tests with settings in Audacity just slightly higher, as I'm guessing the actual perfect sweet spot may be around 22hz and 36dB.

Conclusion So for pure bass performance, at least using the sound-editing newbie level features of each program, Audacity seems to be the better between the two. My only gripe with Audacity is the lack of a batch encoder, so I may end up using Goldwave anyways, as I have too large a collection to go through every song individually. I already voted in the features section, but I'll ask again; Please add batch encoder functionality! Otherwise, great work to all the devs on Audacity.... open source software kicks ass.