Windows: If your music’s starting to take up an uncomfortable amount of space on your hard drive (or small MP3 player), you can decrease the size of it by converting all your songs to Variable Bit Rate with WinMp3Packer.
A lot of the music we download and rip is stored in a constant bitrate format, which at higher bitrates can be inefficient. Variable bitrate (VBR), on the other hand, is much more space efficient. MP3Packer is a free program for Windows that will turn any MP3 file into a variable bitrate MP3 file, thus shaving a bit of space off each track. The best part is, since you’re not re-encoding your music, it’s a lossless conversion—the quality stays the same while the space used goes down.
Whether it saves a meaningful amount of space depends a lot on your music. Reader Mxx, who sent in the tip about this program, said he shaved about 500MB off his 31 GB library, which is significant if you’re still rocking a 30 GB iPod—that’s a few more albums you can squeeze on the device. I noticed closer to 300MB, but a good amount of my music was variable bitrate already.
If you imported all your music yourself through a program like iTunes, you might notice a bigger space savings, and if you happened to download your music from somewhere like BitTorrent, you might save even more (depending on the encoding presets the original ripper used). And, the higher the bitrate of the original track, the more you’re likely to save. All in all, it’s a cool program to just run some of your music through to see if you can save some space. Hit the link to read more about how it works.
WinMP3Packer is a free download for Windows.
WinMP3Packer [HydrogenAudio Forums via #tips]