I have an FFmpeg command to trim audio:

ffmpeg -ss 01:43:46 -t 00:00:44.30 -i input.mp3 output.mp3

The problem I have with this command is that option -t requires a duration (in seconds) from 01:43:46. I want to trim audio using start/stop times, e.g. between 01:43:46 and 00:01:45.02.

Is this possible?

  • 1
    So you want to extract a section of an audio file using start and stop times instead of a start time and a duration, is that correct?
    – user86969
    Feb 3, 2015 at 9:35
  • 1
    @Nasha That's correct. I'll edit the post to make that clearer.
    – whitewings
    Feb 3, 2015 at 9:51
  • 1
    I have rephrased your question accordingly. Indeed ffmpeg doesn't seem to provide anything else than a start time and a duration. And mplayer doesn't either.
    – user86969
    Feb 3, 2015 at 10:13

2 Answers 2


ffmpeg seems to have a new option -to in the documentation:

-to position (input/output)
Stop writing the output or reading the input at position. position must be a time duration specification, see (ffmpeg-utils)the Time duration section in the ffmpeg-utils(1) manual.

-to and -t are mutually exclusive and -t has priority.

Sample command with two time formats

ffmpeg -i file.mkv -ss 20 -to 40 -c copy file-2.mkv
ffmpeg -i file.mkv -ss 00:00:20 -to 00:00:40 -c copy file-2.mkv

This should create a copy (file-2.mkv) of file.mkv from the 20 second mark to the 40 second mark.

  • 2
    Tx, that works nicely. I find that if I don't remove the copy part the audio/video is out of sync, so I remove that and add -async 1 and it works like a charm. Of course it requires reencoding, so an improvement would be a command that would allow for the copy but without the sync issues.
    – whitewings
    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:35
  • 4
    Is it possible to have multiple intervals and they would be joined together? i.e. ffmpeg -i file.mp3 -ss 10 -to 11 -ss 20 -to 21 -ss 30 -to 31 ....
    – Avner Barr
    Jul 17, 2018 at 11:47
  • @AvnerBarr I don't know if this is possible solely with FFmpeg, but I know it's possible with Mencoder. This works, using the -to option : ffmpeg -i mmm.mp4 -ss 00:04:04 -to 00:04:35 -c copy output1.mp4 && ffmpeg -i mmm.mp4 -ss 00:05:47 -to 00:06:05 -c copy output2.mp4 && mencoder -ovc copy -oac mp3lame -idx output1.mp4 output2.mp4 -o complete.mp4
    – whitewings
    Oct 31, 2018 at 15:15

If you have PHP installed, make it a script:

TimeDiff.php contents:

// Create datetime objcects
$dt1 = new DateTime($argv[1]);
$dt2 = new DateTime($argv[2]);

// Conver difference to seconds
$dt3 = $dt2->format('U') - $dt1->format('U');

// echo $dt3."\n";
$h = (int)($dt3 / 3600);
$dt3 %= 3600;
$m = (int)($dt3 / 60);
$dt3 %= 60;
$s = $dt3;

// Dump as H:M:S
echo $h . ":" . $m . ":" . $s;


audiochop.sh contents:


OFFSET=`php TimeDiff.php "$START" "$STOP"`

echo "Disecting $INFILE starting from $START to $STOP (duration $OFFSET)"
ffmpeg -ss "$START" -t "$OFFSET" -i "$INFILE" "$OUTFILE"


./audiochop.sh [input.mp3] [startchop] [stopchop] [output.mp3]

Where [startchop] and [stopchop] are both absolute timestamps from the beginning of the track.

NB: Script(s) may need tweaking depending on platform version etc...

  • So does the command look like the following example? audiochop.sh input.mp3 00:01:30 00:01:50 output.mp3
    – whitewings
    Feb 8, 2015 at 5:01
  • Yes, exactly that.
    – Litch
    Feb 9, 2015 at 5:39
  • This is actually the full command: ./audiochop.sh input.mp3 00:01:30 00:01:50 output.mp3 I had forgotten to put the period and slash in front of the command, which is why it wasn't working.
    – whitewings
    Feb 9, 2015 at 7:40
  • Incidentally, I found that this php/bash script also works on mp4 videos, so I assume it will work with any video format.
    – whitewings
    Feb 10, 2015 at 1:04
  • 1
    It should work with whatever format your ffmpeg supports.
    – Litch
    Feb 10, 2015 at 10:42

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