If you’ve been collecting iTunes or MP3 files for any length of
time, you’ve probably gathered some duplicates. Programs that
compare file size, file names, and tags are largely effective in
rooting out these storage wasting redundancies, but they’re not
perfect. For instance, you may have renamed a tagless file and
re-encoded it to another format without removing the original.
Audio Comparer takes the process a step further and as you
might’ve guessed from its moniker–compares the actual audio. It
does this faster than I thought it might, processing about 140
files in approximately two minutes. Alas, support is a tad limited:
MP3, MP2, MP1, WMA, AIF, WAV and OGG are a start, but so many
people using iTunes, Audio Comparer’s lack of support for AAC is
regrettable. To test the program’s mettle, I re-encoded an MP3 file
of Red Ryder’s “Lunatic Fringe” to Ogg, as well as twice to MP3
with different names with all the tags removed.
The results were eventually rewarding but initially a bit
disappointing. I’m not sure what algorithm is being employed, but I
suspect something in the way of a dynamics snapshot. The program
rated new wave band The Fixx’s 1983 “Sign of Fire” as an 89% match
for the rock song “Lunatic Fringe.” Both tunes have a lengthy
silence and slow volume increase at the front, but little else in
common. More bothersome was that the program didn’t find the
re-encoded versions of Lunatic Fringe on the first or second
passes. It found them the only third time I had the program process
the folder in which they resided.
Audio Comparer did the job on the third try, so I’ll assume it
was a glitch and give it the nod. Just make sure you run multiple
passes. The 30-day trial/demo doesn’t move, copy, or delete files
(which is to be expected); however, it does tell you the name and
location of the matching files.
–Jon L. Jacobi