This tutorial will guide you in joining two or more MP3 files together into one (longer) MP3 – using free, open source software.
Before we get started, it’s very much worth noting that if you have access to the .wav files, or the CD that you created the MP3s from, it’s best to use either of those sources to create your ‘combined’ MP3. When you join MP3 files together with Audacity, they are first decoded to a format that Audacity can work with, and then re-encoded back to MP3. This causes some loss in quality. The loss isn’t huge, but if you fancy yourself as an audiophile with a sharp ear, you might notice the difference between the original MP3 files and the “joined” one.
- Start by downloading and installing Audacity. You’ll also need the LAME library – download and unzip it (doesn’t matter where, just remember the location).
- Launch Audacity and select File and then Open…
- Navigate to the MP3 (or WAV) files you want to combine. Select multiple files by holding down the Apple key, and then click Open. Each file will now be imported into Audacity.
- Here’s where it gets just a tiny bit tricky. You’ll need to select one of the files to ‘paste’ into the other one. By default, when you paste one file into another, it’s put at the beginning. So, bring the track you want to play “first” in your final MP3 into the foreground. Click on the area in the bottom left part of the window (see the pink circle in the screenshot below). You’ll know you’ve done it right because the light gray background turns a darker shade of gray.
- Now select Edit and then Cut
- Bring the other Audacity window to the foreground, select Edit and then Paste
- You should now have a screen similar to the image below – again, the track that you pasted will be at the beginning. You can use the Play button to hear how the entire ‘combined’ MP3 will sound.
- Now it’s time to save the combined files into one. Select File and then Export As MP3…
- Give your new MP3 a name and choose a location to save it. Click Save
- At this point you’ll very likely be presented with a screen asking you to locate libmp3lame.dylib. Click Yes
- Navigate to the folder that you created way back in step one. That folder contains the required libmp3lame.dylib file. Select it, then click Open.
- If you’d like, you can enter the ID info now. Click OK when you’re ready.
- Audacity will now encode and export your file. Depending on the speed of your Mac and the size/length of the MP3 files, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to.. hours?
- That’s it. Give your newly created MP3 a listen to make sure it all went smoothly.