Audacity stops recording when I switch applications...

I’m trying to copy some old tapes to digital. I have a USB tape deck and it works great in audacity as long as I don’t try to do something else while it’s recording. As soon as I move away from the application recording stops as though I hit the stop button.
Audacity 2.0.5
Linux Mint 17.1

What is the “something else” that you are trying to do while recording?

Anything. Doesn’t matter if its opening a terminal or going to an already running chrome session. The computer has 12GB of RAM and a Core i5 2500k processor so it’s not a resource issue.

So if you have a text file open and Audacity open, and resize them so that you can have them side by side, then you can start recording in Audacity but as soon as you click on the text file, Audacity stops?

Ok I tested this and no. Apparently it only happens if audacity is sent to the background. If I keep in the forefront of one of my monitors I can keep working. Which helps, but still not entirely a solution. I have work I need to do while this is recording.

I can’t reproduce the problem. I’m trying to get a clear picture of when exactly it stops, in the hope that that sheds some light on this mystery.

Back to the previous scenario:

  1. Open a text file in the default text editor and Audacity. No other applications open (not even your web browser).
  2. Resize the two windows and position them side by side,
  3. Start recording in Audacity
  4. Click on the text file - you said that Audacity is still recording
  5. Click on the title bar of the text file window
  6. Drag the text file window in front of the Audacity window
  7. Maximise the text file window
  8. Resize the text window just small enough so that you can see if Audacity is still recording
  9. Type the alphabet into the text file

At what point did Audacity stop recording?

It seems almost random now. If I minimize and maximize audacity by itself a couple times it stops. If I change focus to another app with multiple apps open it stop recording. It seems fine if it’s the only application running.

If its mostly random, it could be a hardware problem…

  1. Try another USB cable (better, shorter) if you are using a USB audio interface. If not, please specify your hardware.

  2. Check power saving settings in Mint and experiment with those. A lot of PC’s put parts of the hardware to sleep when not running full steam. Recording takes so little CPU that some setups simply put some parts of the hardware to sleep.

  3. Is your BIOS up-to-date? I haven’t seen this particular error because of old BIOS firmware, but stuttering often is linked to an older BIOS.

  4. Check BIOS settings (if there are any related) to sleep, CPU throttling, multi-core behavior…

Most recording engineers switch off Wifi, anti-virus software, sleep and ethernet altogether. And any other background task that isn’t essential. It’s a bit of a religious thing, not necessarily needed, but very understandable if you only get one shot to make the recording work.

Open Help > About Audacity…, then click the Build information tab. What is the wxWidgets version? wx2.8.10 had a large CPU use issue when Audacity lost focus, and might have other flakiness in that situation.

Also make sure the USB cable is plugged into an empty USB port, not a hub.