Audacity 3 much slower when saving file


I seem to recall this problem with an earlier version of Audacity. I compared how long it takes Audacity 2.3.3 and Audacity 3.0.0 to save a 2.16GB wav file, 2.3.3 took exactly 50 seconds and 3.0.0 took exactly 80 seconds, quite a big difference. Is there any chance this can be fixed in an update?

I did a lot of QA speed testing of all parts of Audacity during the alpha and Release Candidate test phases ad was satisfied that although 3.0.0 was ever so slightly slower for WAV export it was so close as to be acceptable - nothing as divergent as you are reporting. We took great pains to ensure that there was no serious performance penalty coming with the new integrated project file structure

Just to be sure I just did some further tests just now. My PC is an HP Envy with a 256GB SSD and an onboard 1TB HD (spinning metal), running W10.

I generated a one-four stereo chirp and timed the exports of that as a WAV file (605 MB) - an hour is a pretty fair test.

  1. On 2.3.3 and 2.4.2 both SSD and HD the WAV export took 26 seconds
  2. On 3.0.0 both SSD and HD the WAV export took 27 seconds

so a mere 1 second or 3.85% increase - which I think should be tolerable (the price you pay for the new safer integrated project file).

I’m slightly surprised that the write times are so similar for HD and SSD - but where SSD shines over HD is in read access times.


There must be something in my PC that Audacity 3.0.0 doesn’t like :frowning: I’ll try running a comparison on another PC

And with a bit of time on my hands I repeated 2.3.3 versus 3.0.0 with a 4 hour chirp - a 2.36GB WAV file

  1. On 2.3.3 WAV export
    a) SSD 1m 52 secs
    b) HD 1m 46 secs

  2. In 3.0.0 WAV export
    c) SSD 1m 55 secs - a 3 second or 3.6% increase
    d) HD 1m 59 secs - a 13 second or 12.26% increase
    so a fair increase for the HD export – but I’m totally puzzled by your 60% time increased, if I recorded that I would be worried, in fact we would not have released id we measured such a large discrepancy

  3. Incidentally the Chirp generation is faster on 3.0.0 where it took 1m09s versus 1m20s with 2.3.3.

    But to test this really scientifically I would need to:
    a) detach my PC from the Internet and my Wifi
    b) ensure no other processes are running
    c) turn off my McAfee virus checker
    d) repeat the tests many times
    But sorry I just don’t have the time to do that.

I also think that just under two minutes to export a 4 hour stereo WAV at 2.36GB is not an unreasonable amount of time.

BTW I note that in your original post you talk about “save a 2.16GB wav file” - you do mean Export don’t you - or are you talking about the time to save a project ?


Please do and please report back (and please tell me more about your configuration) - you have got me intrigued. :nerd:

Part of the testing I did in the alpha nda RC phases was to use pre-release 3.0.0 for my production engine. I regularly work on 2-3 hour stereo projects and I have never felt slowed down when using v3.


Hi Peter, Yes you are correct, I did mean “Export” and it was saved as 32 bit PCM 96000Hz. I haven’t been able to try 3.0.0 on another machine yet but will do tomorrow and I’ll report back

Peter, I’ve compared Audacity 2.4.2 to Audacity 3.0.0 on another older and slower PC and “exported” the same 2.16GB file, 2.4.2 took 136 seconds and 3.0.0 took 148 seconds so the extra long save times I originally reported must be something to do with 3.0.0 not liking my PC :frowning: I guess I’ll keep using an older version of Audacity for now

Thanks for that feedback BazzerBee - most puzzling :confused:

Personally I’d put up with longer exports (make coffee) for the benefit of all the bug-fixes and the improved safer database structure - but that’s me :nerd:


I’m on a different platform, but out of interest, I’ve just run a quick test to compare WAV export with Audacity 3.0.0 and Audacity 2.3.3 (the only other version that I currently have installed).
Exporting a 300 MB 16-bit, 44100 Hz WAV file took a shade over 8 seconds with both versions of Audacity.
Other than the Audacity version and the exported file name, all else was identical for both tests.

Fwiw I didn’t expect much difference because the bottleneck is usually the conversion from 32-bit float (in the project) to 16-bit (in the exported file).

I just updated to 3.0 ona windows 10 machine and its taking it over 20 minutes to open an old file! I am doing podcast editing, and if its going to take this long opening, how long will it take to save!!! I tried to save on my previos version, 2.3.something, and it was going to take over 2 hours to save after some cuts and edits, that is twice as long as the tracks!!! I do not understand! It used to save in like 2 minutes MAYBE, but now… I don’t know if this is feasable!

Run a thorough anti-virus scan on your computer, then disconnect from the Internet and try running Audacity with your anti-virus disabled.
If that enables Audacity to run properly, then you need to configure your anti-virus so that it does not interfere with the normal running of Audacity.

I already rolled back to 2.4.2. It was much smoother. I use the same computer for livestreaming and gaming, and it runs fine, audacity just seems to be a bit issue on my computer, and its not even 2 years old! My antivirus is WIndows Defender, which isn’t inerfearing with audacity.