DIY CD Compression?

When we take long road trips, I like to load up my cars CD changer with classical music. On the pieces with more dynamic range, it is impossible to hear the quiet passages without cranking up the volume to the point that the loud ones are deafening.

I usually rip copies of my CD's to prevent damage to the originals in the car. So it maybe it would not be too much trouble to take an extra step or two to process the files to limit the dynamic range before I burn the copies.

Can anyone suggest a program that would allow me to do this?

Audacity will do this and a whole lot more (and it's free). You can get it here:

There may be other ripping programs that make the process easier but if you do any manipulation of audio files, you need this program or another like it. Adobe bought CoolEdit (and changed the name), which is very similar, but you have to pay for it.

Adobe Audition will let you "normalize" tracks, do peak limiting, adjust volume levels, do dynamics processing and other such goodies. Pro Tools and probably some other programs will also do this.

You'd have to rip the tracks from the original CD, open the program and then choose what processing you wish, then save the processed track to the hard drive. Then you'd burn the new CD from the processed tracks.

Not sure if what you want is worth all that work, but it can be done.
Thanks for your replies. I am using Roxio "Easy CD & DVD Burning" to rip my copies. Does any one know if I can do compression with with this program?

Sorry for the begginer's questions, but I'm a beginner.

It doesn't sound like too much trouble as I copy the CD's to my hard drive anyway, to access them via a SqueezeBox. If I process them to 2nd file, I could burn the 2nd file and then delete it.

I will check out sourceforge, audition and protools, Thanks.
What type of audio system is in your car. Some have automatic volume controls that adjust to the in-car noise level. Check you owner's manual.
I got the Audacity as a free download and it does have the compression ability I was after (and a lot more). It did take about 3 minutes to process a 11 minute track, so a 75 minute CD might take 25.

I am going to need a faster computer to make this work.

Protools looks to be a lot faster but the software/hardware package is overkill for me. I'm going to check out audition to see if it is any quicker.

Thanks for the tips!


Yes, it can take a significant amount of time. On the other hand, if there ARE any of the ripping tools that do this automatically, they're going to have to go through the same process and will probably be slow too.

Regarding you're earlier question about Roxio: I haven't used it in a while but a lot of these tools offer the ability to do normalization on the fly. This is not the same as what you are trying to do. Normalization attempts to make all of the tracks approx. the same loudness so you don't have to keep playing with the volume every time a track changes. Dynamic range would be unaffected which is what you need compressed.

Good luck with the search.