DonnyDisco wrote:I am fooled by this every time I use it for multi-track recording and I think this is something that should be addressed in Audacity features. In fact I can't think of a multi-track use case where *removing* the time alignment makes sense but I imagine there must be one?
As Gale hinted, this is one of my bugbears. Go back far enough in history and ancient versions of Audacity did "the right thing" (in my opinion, and the opinion of many that work with multi-track projects). Then one day it changed.
Yes there are practical use cases where this behaviour is desirable. For example, if you are working in Audacity only, you may want WAV backups of the audio data in case (for example) you mess up applying effects. In this case, always including leading silence could massively increase file size / disk space use.
Another use could be splitting an album into separate songs. One way of doing this is to move songs that you want to save onto separate tracks, then Export Multiple based on tracks. In this case you would not want leading silence.
However, the reason that the current behaviour came about was not related to these use cases, but in order to solve a different problem - that of "rendering" tracks. For example, you may have multiple tracks with Envelopes. To "fix" the envelopes you would use "Mix and Render", but previously this would always render leading white-space (empty space) as silence, which you would probably need to remove manually.
I think what we really want is to be able to render a selection (not just the entire track), and have an option to include leading white-space when exporting. The export option should preferably be quick and easy to get at - in the export dialog rather than buried in Preferences.