There may be times when you need to merge MP3 files into one recording e.g. merge a number of ripped CD tracks into one MP3, or combine multiple chapters of an audiobook into a single file.
The program I use to do this is called Merge MP3 – it’s a simple free program to quickly combine MP3 files into a single MP3.
It’s also portable so there’s no need to install it – which is of benefit as it doesn’t clutter up your computer.
Merge MP3 Features
Merge MP3 is described by its author as a ‘plain vanilla’ merging utility i.e. it doesn’t have a ton of options and it was created to do just this one simple job, very well.
It doesn’t have all the complex features of some commercial programs, or full audio suites like Audacity. But, for the average person who isn’t an audio expert, this makes it much easier to use – even without configuring any options it still works well.
Some of the main features of the program include:
- It’s totally free, not a limited/trial version!
- No complicated installation – intuitive interface and fast merge speed
- Merge as many files as you like – no limitations by size, length, or number of files
- Sort files to be merged by filename (with or without directory), date/time or size
- View detailed information about MP3 files to be merged, including MPEG header information and ID3v1 and ID3v2 information
- Choose to use ID3 tag from any of the files to be merged to write into the target file
- [Optional] write ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags into the merged MP3 file
- [Optional] write VBR frame into the merged file – useful when merging files with different bitrates
- [Optional] convert MP3 files into an audiobook format (.m4b) for iPod/iPhone
5 Steps To Easily Merge MP3 Files Into One MP3
Download the Merge MP3 program as a zip file from the developer here and extract/unzip it. Then run the MergeMP3.exe program to start it
Note: you may then see an error message “Could not connect to server to check version information” because there are no more updates to this program – just click OK to dismiss the message.
Tip: to prevent the message appearing in future – in the menu bar, select ‘View’ then select ‘Preferences’ then select the ‘Internet’ tab and Un-tick ‘Automatically check for program’s updates’ then press OK
In the menu bar, select ‘File’ then select ‘Add Files’ (choose your individual MP3 files) or ‘Add Directory Recursively’ (adds all MP3 files within your chosen folder) as I have done in my example:
Tip: alternatively, you can just drag and drop MP3 files straight into the main program window when you first start the program.
[This is Optional] Files will be merged in the order displayed – if you want to change this order, click on a file and use the Up or Down arrows in the middle of the toolbar to move that track up or down the list
[This is Optional] Initially, the fields for Year, Genre, Title etc are greyed out – if you want to add them, tick the checkbox near the top left (as shown in the example above) then fill in the details
In the menu bar, select ‘File’ then select ‘Merge’ and choose the Save location and a Filename of the merged MP3 to start to combine MP3 files – note that if you filled in the Title field in the previous step, that is automatically used as the Filename:
The merge process is very quick – merging a 13 track album took less than 10 seconds in my testing. Once complete, the merged MP3 file is saved into the Save location you specified.
That’s all there is to it :-)
Convert MP3 Files Into Audiobook Format (.m4b) for iPod/iPhone
The program iTunesCoder.exe (included in the zip file) performs the conversion but you must have iTunes installed for the conversion to work.
To convert MP3 into .m4b format:
- Select ‘View’ then ‘Preferences’ from the menu bar to open the Preferences window and select the Audiobooks tab:
- Tick the box to ‘Automatically create audiobook from merged file’ and browse/locate the iTunesCoder.exe program (it is in the same directory as the unzipped MergeMP3.exe program) then press OK
- Now follow the normal merge process – remember to Un-tick the ‘Automatically create audiobook from merged file’ option afterwards if you want to perform standard MP3 merges in future
My Test Results
I have tested Merge MP3 with many music tracks and albums that I ripped from CD with Windows Media Player.
I found no issues except for one particular album where the merging process froze (no progress in the progress window). Clicking ‘Cancel’ brought up an ‘access is denied: error 5’ message which usually indicates a file permissions issue.
I checked the problematic album for file permissions etc but have not been able to find a cause – perhaps there was something really weird about that album’s encoding or else it was slightly corrupt.
However, as Merge MP3 worked fine on 99.9% of everything I threw at it, and it’s a quick and lightweight program, I’m very happy to recommend it.
Merge MP3 is a simple but effective free and portable program to merge MP3 files into one – the program menus and options are also very intuitive.
It merges MP3 files without recoding so it is quick and there is no loss of audio quality – it basically just joins them all together into 1 file.
It doesn’t offer very complex features but that means there is no need for lots of learning or audio tech knowledge – for the average user who just wants to quickly merge MP3 files it seems ideal.