Audacity locks up when editing

Greets all.
I’m a long time Audacity user on linux and I have very rarely had any issues with stability until recently.
some quick system specs
Xubunbu 13.04 (rarring)
AMD Phenom 4x core at 2.4Ghz
4GB ram
Nvidia graphics
Audacity version 2.0.3

What I do is pretty straight forward.
I work with an hour of voice audio (pastor’s sermon) at a time and I edit it and put it into shape for a radio broadcast.
Format is WAV 44khz 16bit. File size is usually 600-700 MB.
End result will be a MP3 hitting about 70MB.
But anyway;
The freezes in Audacity happens with just plain editing. Highlighting small sections of the audio and deleting.
The past few weeks I have seen Audacity freeze or “lockup” 5 to 6 times during the editing.
This never happens when importing the audio or applying effects (like compression, tempo change, etc) or transcoding the audio to the MP3 format.
It always hits when just doing the simple editing. Killing and restarting Audacity will let you recover where you left off (thank goodness!) but it won’t be long till this happens again.
I have recently got into the habit of using the keyboard space bar to stop playback so I can apply the edit with the mouse. Before I would use the mouse to click stop and then apply the edit; but I changed because I had to take my eyes off exactly where the edit needed to go which caused me to lose my place.
I’m wondering if this may have something to do with it.

Any ideas? Question?
I really need to get this fixed. This work is really mission critical and I have considered other editors. I have become so comfortable with Audacity I really don’t want to change.

The most common cause of Audacity locking up on Linux is when PulseAudio stalls.

My analysis of the problem (I’m not a developer, so take this with a pinch of salt, but it holds with the symptoms that I observe):
Unlike most other audio programs, Audacity starts a new audio stream every time that play starts, and ends the stream on Stop (similarly for “record”). If the connection fails then Audacity does not retry, but simply hangs, waiting for a response from PulseAudio that never comes.

If this is the problem that you are getting, then a workaround that is likely to work is to change the audio device settings in the device toolbar so that Audacity accesses the sound card directly through the ALSA drivers and bypasses PulseAudio. To do this you need to select the “hw” options.

Bypassing PulseAudio has downsides (all boil down to the same thing):

  1. You probably won’t be able to record sounds that are playing on your computer (such as Internet radio).
  2. PulseAudio provides shared access to the sound card hardware. If you bypass PulseAudio then Audacity will give an “Error when opening sound device” if any other application is accessing the sound card.
  3. Other programs will probably not be able to use the sound card while Audacity is running.

Hey Steve,
Thanks for the quick reply.
What you are describing I think may be the issue.
A few weeks back I changed the setting so I could record from the internet (was hunting some sample music).
I started running into the freezing issues not long after that.
The editing work is mission critical so making the settings change to fix this isn’t a problem.
My next editing project won’t be till early next week. Will see if I can get through the entire session without freezing.
I will report back the results.

Unless you are playing and stopping frequently or rapidly, this could be Audacity “slowdown” bugs in projects with over an hour of audio, rather than (or possibly on top of) a pulse problem. See “In projects containing an hour or more of total audio, there may be a delay” in the 2.0.3 Release Notes . Using Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete or Silence Audio are explicitly mentioned there as causing hangups.

I am not clear if you (still or ever) select using the keyboard (SHIFT + LEFT or RIGHT arrow key). If so, this will cause Audacity to lock up for considerable lengths of time, but should be improved from Audacity 2.0.6 onwards. To solve that, you could uninstall the packaged version of Audacity you have now, then install an Ubuntu “Daily Build” of Audacity 2.0.6-alpha. See: .


Sorry for the delay in reporting back.

I changed my playback hardware to what it was originally set for which was “sysdefault” and it seems to have solved the problem.
But there is an annoying issue of a audible ‘pop’ when I hit play when editing. I don’t recall it ever doing this before but it isn’t crashing and that is what I’m after.

Thanks for the help!

Wouldn’t sysdefault be pulse if you have not removed it?

DC offset: Audacity Manual ?