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mp3plot - creates a plot of the bitrate distribution of MP3 files


mp3plot [-i] {input.mp3}
mp3plot [-g] [-i] {input.mp3} [-p plotter name] [-o output.png]
mp3plot [{-h | --help} | {-V | --version}]


mp3plot creates a plot (textual or graphical) of the bitrate distribution of an MP3 file; i.e. it displays which proportion of the audio file uses each of the possible bitrates.

The plot can serve e.g. to compare an audio source as encoded by different encoders or settings; or to display how the chosen (average) bitrate was achieved by the encoder.

By default the plot is printed to the console. If mp3plot is compiled with the appropriate libraries, it can also create a graphical plot in a png image.


The program follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (‘-’). A summary of options is included below.

[-i] inputfile.mp3, [--input] inputfile.mp3

Plot inputfile.mp3.

-i / --input is implied if not used (e.g.

$ mp3plot -i input.mp3

is equivalent to

$ mp3plot input.mp3

-o output.png, --output output.png

Save plot image to output.png.

Ignored if the console plotter is used. If omitted will default to the input filename with ".png" appended.

-g, --image

Output to a png image file.

By default the png will be named after the mp3 file and placed on the same directory as it, e.g. "/music/some file.mp3" will produce "/music/some file.mp3.png". Use --output to choose the output filename.

-p plotter_name, --named-plotter plotter_name

Choose the plotter with plotter_name.

Only required to hand-pick an image plotter when both GD and Magick plotters have been compiled in. Use "list" to display a list of available plotters, e.g.:

$ mp3plot -p list
Avilable plotters:
* console: textual, printed
* magick: graphical, file output
* gd: graphical, file output

By default, when a plotter is not explicitly chosen, if -g is used an image plotter will be chosen (magick if present, gd otherwise). When -g isn’t used, the console plotter will be used.

console is always available, while both magick and gd can be included or excluded at the time of compilation.

If a plotter not available is requested, mp3plot will exit with an error. e.g. if the Magick module wasn’t compiled in:

$ mp3plot -p magick

mp3plot: No plotter with such name available</screen>

-h, --help

Show summary of options.

-V, --version

Show version of program and extra compilation information (libraries used, their versions, compilation date and compiler).

--old-colourscheme, --old-colorscheme

Use the older set of colours (used up 0.5.0) for graphical plot output.


You can report any bugs to the author at (or visit the upstream site for more details).

See Also

Upstream site:



Toni Corvera <>

mp3plot author


Copyright © 2007, 2009 Toni Corvera

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 or (at your option) any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

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