rgain / README

This Python package provides modules to read, write and calculate Replay Gain
as well as 2 scripts that utilize these modules to do Replay Gain.

Replay Gain [1] is a proposed standard (and has been for
some time -- but it's widely accepted) that's designed to solve the problem of
varying volumes between different audio files. I won't lay it all out for you
here, go read it yourself.


 - Python 2.6 --
 - Mutagen --
 - GStreamer 0.10 --
 - pygst 0.10 --

Just install it like any other Python package: Unpack, then (as root/with
 # python install

This is a program like, say, **vorbisgain** or **mp3gain**, the difference
being that instead of supporting a mere one format, it supports several:

 - Ogg Vorbis (or probably anything you can put into an Ogg container)
 - Flac
 - WavPack
 - MP3

Basic usage is simple:

 $ replaygain AUDIOFILE1 AUDIOFILE2 ...

There are some options; see 'em by running

 $ replaygain --help

This program is designed to apply Replay Gain to whole music collections, plus
the ability to simply add new files, run **collectiongain** and have it
replay-gain those files without asking twice.

To use it, simply run

 $ collectiongain PATH_TO_MUSIC

and re-run it whenever you add new files. Run

 $ collectiongain --help

to see possible options.

If, however, you want to find out how exactly **collectiongain** works, read on
(but be warned: It's long, boring, technical, incomprehensible and awesome).

**collectiongain** runs in two phases: The file collecting phase and the actual

Prior to analyzing any audio data, **collectiongain** gathers all audio files in
the directory and determines a so-called album ID for each from the file's tags:

 - If the file contains a Musicbrainz album ID, that is used.
 - Otherwise, if the file contains an *album* tag, it is joined with either

    * an *albumartist* tag, if that exists,
    * or the *artist* tag
    * or nothing if neither tag exists.

   The resulting artist-album combination is the album ID for that file.
 - If the file doesn't contain a Musicbrainz album ID or an *album* tag, it is
   presumed to be a single track without album; it will only get track gain, no
   album gain.

Since this step takes a relatively long time, the album IDs are cached between
several runs of **collectiongain**. If a file was modified or a new file was
added, the album ID will be (re-)calculated for that file only.
The program will also cache an educated guess as to whether a file was already
processed and had Replay Gain added -- if **collectiongain** thinks so, that
file will totally ignored for the actual run. This flag is set whenever the file
is processed in the actual run phase (save for dry runs, which you can enable
with the **--dry-run** switch) and is cleared whenever a file was changed. You can
disable these assumptions with the **--ignore-cache** switch; in that case, the
program will actually physically check every file in your collection for
Replay Gain data.

For the actual run, **collectiongain** will simply look at all files that have
survived the cleansing described above; for files that don't contain Replay Gain
information, **collectiongain** will calculate it and write it to the files (use
the **--force** flag to calculate gain even if the file already has gain data).
Here comes the big moment of the album ID: files that have the same album ID are
considered to be one album (duh) for the calculation of album gain. If only one
file of an album is missing gain information, the whole album will be
recalculated to make sure the data is up-to-date.

MP3 formats
Proper Replay Gain support for MP3 files is a bit of a
mess: on the one hand, there is the **mp3gain** application [1] which was
relatively widely used (I don't know if it still is) -- it directly modifies the
audio data which has the advantage that it works with pretty much any player,
but it also means you have to decide ahead of time whether you want track gain
or album gain. Besides, it's just not very elegant. On the other hand, there are
at least two commonly used ways to store proper Replay Gain information in ID3v2
tags [2].

Now, in general you don't have to worry about this when using this package: by
default, **replaygain** and **collectiongain** will read and write Replay Gain
information in the two most commonly used formats. However, if for whatever
reason you need more control over the MP3 Replay Gain information, you can use
the **--mp3-format** option (supported by both programs) to change the
behaviour. Possible choices with this switch are:

 - ** (alias: *fb2k*)
   Replay Gain information is stored in ID3v2 TXXX frames. This format is
   specified on the website as the recommended format for MP3
   files. Notably, this format is also used by the foobar2000 music player for
   Windows [3].

 - *legacy* (alias: *ql*)
   Replay Gain information is stored in ID3v2.4 RVA2 frames. This format is
   described as "legacy" by; however, it is still the primary
   format for at least the Quod Libet music player [4] and possibly others. It
   should be noted that this format does not support volume adjustments of more
   than 64 dB: if the calculated gain value is smaller than -64 dB or greater
   than or equal to +64 dB, it is clamped to these limit values.

 - *default*
   This is the default implementation used by both **replaygain** and
   **collectiongain**. When writing Replay Gain data, both the **
   as well as the *legacy* format are written. As for reading, if a file
   contains data in both formats, both data sets are read and then compared. If
   they match up, that Replay Gain information is returned for the file.
   However, if they don't match, no Replay Gain data is returned to signal that
   this file does not contain valid (read: consistent) Replay Gain information.





With the exception of the manpages, all files are

Copyright (c) 2009-2012 Felix Krull <>

The manpages were originally written for the Debian project and are

Copyright (c) 2011 Simon Chopin <>
Copyright (c) 2012 Felix Krull <>