Audacity size constraints

I’m using Audacity to record audio books. I’ve completed my first one, and I’m about to finish the simple “editing out goofs” phase and get into the effects and touch-ups phase.

Right now, I have three chapters per Audacity file, with a total of 9 files. The three chapters per file are on the same track. The issue is that if I find a good mix of, say, normalizing, reverb, noise reduction, etc, I don’t really want to have to go into all nine files to apply such settings.

So my question is, can Audacity hold 8hrs of audio? Is it a good idea? I don’t really care about file size, but being able to apply effects universally would certainly save time and (if I failed to write something down just right) could prevent mistakes such as applying effects unevenly in the recording.


Mac OSX Snow Leopard
Audacity 1.3.12 Beta

barely maybe
and not real reliably if at all

but a very terrible idea no matter what

if you normalise / amplify to the same number on each track you get the same results

noise reduction should be the same
just use the same numbers

might even work better doing it separately if the noise varied from day to day for whatever reason

but if you did an audio book there should be no noise at all to start with

why would you put ever reverb on an audio book?
that bother listeners trying to understand the voice
and drive them nuts after 8 hours of it

personally i would do 9 tracks for 9 chapters
maybe more

its not that hard to apply the f/x to each one by itself
and faster to get the right settings by starting with a short part instead of taking the time to process 8 hours with it and finding out you didnt like it

Yes it can, subject to the computer being able to handle it.

No it’s not. There are numerous problems that make working with very large projects more difficult, many of which are due to operating system and hardware limitations rather than Audacity itself. My preference is to keep projects to a maximum size of one hour (which also makes backing up to CD easy).

Depending on which effects you are wanting to use, you may be able to make use of the “Chains” feature in Audacity 1.3.12.
Unfortunately Chains do not yet support all effects, but the basic idea is very simple. You can put together a “chain” of commands and apply it to multiple files. The processed tracks are then output to a new folder. There’s not much documentation about Chains, but a bit of experimentation with small test files should show you most of what you need to know.

@whomper - I figured that was the case, and a good point about having slightly different sounds different days. Ideally, the room would be completely silent, and it isn’t bad when everything is turned off. I’m using an iMac, so my computer isn’t the issue: it’s the fan, the PC close by, the newborn son, etc. Everything still sounds great over the speakers, but with headphones on, I can tell that the battle has just begun. But I’ve been very impressed with noise removal, as most of my background noise is rather steady and predictable. Oh, and Reverb = arbitrary list of a feature. Though adding some depth with a second omni-directional mic might someday be something I monkey with.

@stevethefiddle - I’ll certainly look into the Chain feature; it sounds like that could come in handy. Reminds me of the way a lot of non-linear editors are moving now with film and screencasting, where you can paste adjustments: one of the coolest features I’ve seen in a while.

If I find some process that proves particularly effective after playing around with this for a bit, I’ll post it.


You don’t second mic to add reverb …

[BTW applying some effects takes a significant fraction of “real time”, e.g. the computer could take half an hour to apply the effect to an hour long track].

You can use one close up microphone for a “dry” recording of the voice and one or two microphones to pick up “room ambiance”. It can work very well and produce the most natural sounding ambiance (light reverb), providing that the room is very quiet and has good acoustics. The technique is better than simply recording with the microphone further away because it improves SNR and allows the direct (dry) and ambient (wet) sounds to be mixed as required after recording.

I should have wrtten “You don’t need a second mic to add reverb”: i.e. there is another method …

Monkeying around with a free reverb effect is cheaper and more versatile* than the second mic technique.

[* unless you live in a palace with a range of room sizes, up to “Chapel”, and with a range of wall surfaces ]