Central location to save plugins from Audacity updates

I don’t remember when Audacity started looking in older revs to find plugins, but I must say it’s convenient when testing nightly builds. Now, however, I have a collection of old Audacity versions just so the latest version can find my plugins. I tried saving them all in a folder on the desktop called “Audacity Plugins”, but how do I get Audacity to look there? Copying them all to the latest version du jure would just be doing it the old way. Do I have to keep one old version in the Program Files (x86) folder as a repository for plugins? Guess I could uninstall that one and just keep the plugins folder there.

It’s also the correct way if you are done with testing Nightly Builds. Audacity doesn’t let you specify random folders to search for plugins. That would be a feature request.


I see you haven’t experienced opening Effects and have to pick between three versions of the same effect. Or open a lesser Audacity and have 2.1.2 deauthorize all its effects.

I wouldn’t mind a way to decouple them.


Yes, I have. I just go to Add/Remove plugins and disable the ones I’m not interested in seeing. Once in a while I look at New just to see if there’s a new plugin. I think maybe I ought to make an Audacity folder in Program Files (x86) just to contain the plugins I’ve selected so that they’re not (on my computer) associated with a particular Audacity rev. That would make shorter work of enabling/disabling them when I update Audacity.

Ahh, so that’s how that happens…

I have also had plugins attempt to use initial settings that go with a different plugin the first time I use them.
I see in AppData file pluginsettings.cfg, the parameters for High Pass Filter appear before the first base64 string, which I finally learned (via an online decoder) identifies the Amplify effect. The base64 string for Amplify is followed by a “Ratio” parameter. The same High-Pass Filter parameters appear later, preceded by the base64 string for High Pass Filter. Does this indicate that the file is corrupted? (I’d have attached the file, but “The extension cfg is not allowed.”) Can running a newer version corrupt the file for older versions?

  • DickN

It doesn’t sound as if it’s correct, but what is the problem you are experiencing?

As far as I know, each effect in that file ends with the “Initialized” line.

There is a good reason for that. Make a copy and rename it to .txt extension then you can attach it.

Well, you can test that yourself and let us know. There should not be any corruption if the format of the file entries has not changed. I don’t think that has changed since 2.1.1.


Or open a lesser Audacity and have 2.1.2 deauthorize all its effects.
Ahh, so that’s how that happens…

Voilà the reason I don’t go down the 2.1.2 effects list and “manage” them. That’s a value-free activity.


I’ve had effects try to initialize with a different effect’s parameters when using 2.1.3.

I also find that if I use a later rev’s copy of High-Pass Filter when running 2.1.0, the Frequency parameter entry field is missing. I use 2.1.0 only on my Windows 7 laptop for live recording, but occasionally use High-Pass Filter to remove DC and LF noise before closing Audacity. I update the live recording version with some reluctance, but maybe it’s time to bump it. The pluginsettings.cfg files on both computers have the same beginning as described above.

Even if I copy single_para_1203.dll from 2.0.1 to 2.1.x, I can’t enter a decimal in the Frequency field. The parameter in pluginsettings.cfg has 12 decimal places, but if I change the first one to a 5 it reverts back to 0 when I run Audacity.

OK, here 'tis.

First line of file says “pluginsettingsversion=1.0”, so I guess it hasn’t.
pluginsettings.cfg.txt (28.1 KB)

Do you absolutely need to have access to all copies of the Audacity plugins in different locations when you run any version of Audacity?

If no, the answer is to create a “Portable Settings” folder in the folder for each version of Audacity. Then any one version of Audacity will know nothing about plugins in the “Plug-Ins” folder in some other version of Audacity.


You mentioned that before here "Single Band Parametric" occasionally losing "Enable" - #18 by DickN Can you hear the difference in fractional frequencies?

I think it is simply the result of us now validating plugin input. You can see if you click in (or arrow through) the Frequency slider that the values in the text box are integers. The LV2 version of this plugin GitHub - swh/lv2: SWH Plugins in LV2 format shows fractions when moving through the slider (observed on Ubuntu 14.04).

So you could try compiling the LV2 version of the plugin. From memory, compilation on Windows does not work out of the box (but I never tried that hard). If necessary, you could encourage Steve Harris (the author) to make it work.


I searched the manual for “portable settings” and didn’t find it. So I just put pluginregistry.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg in a folder named PortableSettings, and they get used instead of the ones in appdata, right? Are these the only files I need in this folder?

Sorry about the repetition. When the bandwidth setting is very narrow and the frequency is below a few hundred Hz, yes. Primarily, I use very narrow settings to find exact frequencies that I want to remove (especially when there are many spectral lines near them), like fans that just won’t stay at constant speed so I have to track them. The .004 octave setting made Single Band Parametric a very useful tool for this, since the Frequency plot has only integer resolution. Before I start applying any filters, I map out the frequencies on a label track using this method.

As I was reading this, it looked familiar but I didn’t see it in the post you mentioned above. Sorry if I’m again repeating myself.

If the offending frequency is not very loud, I occasionally use Single Band Parametric instead of Notch because I can reduce the depth of the notch to get less ringing and still keep it narrow (but not that narrow - a deep, narrow low-frequency notch can turn a pop into a boom or a bong). I very much appreciate, by the way, the advent of Preview in Notch Filter. That makes it easy to tell how far the fan frequency can drift at its present level before I need to change the notch frequency.

FYI: Preferences - Audacity Manual

The way that I located it in the manual was to click on “Preferences” in the “menu” column on the left of the index page, which took me to this page: Preferences - Audacity Manual then “Portable Settings” is listed near the top of the page as a link.
The main index page is a good place to start when searching - even the picture of the Audacity interface is clickable and there are links to most of Audacity’s features.
Hope that helps.

Thanks, Steve!

Steve told you where to find it, but we badly need a search box in the online Audacity Manual.

Meantime, you could bookmark this: toolbars site:http://manual.audacityteam.org - Google Zoeken and replace “toolbars” in the Google search box with whatever you are searching for.

If the “Portable Settings” folder exists, Audacity will create fresh copies there of all its *.cfg settings files.

I was guessing you would want to start from scratch, register only the plugins you want and build up fresh settings as you use the plugins.

But yes if you copy existing .cfg files from %APPDATA%\Audacity to the “Portable Settings” folder, Audacity will use those files.


Got it - thanks!

When I tried it I replaced ‘toolbars’ with ‘portable%20settings’ because I thought spaces would be a problem, but Firefox put a space in the address string anyway. So it works either way.
Not that it matters here, but replacing the 2nd ‘http’ with ‘https’ also works. The cached copy from Google uses https either way.

In lieu of a search box, which would be equally valuable in a local copy of the manual, I will write a .bat file to search the local copy. I’ll share it here. I will use FINDSTR just because it comes with windows, but GREP users will have no trouble changing the switches.

Topic about .bat file split to http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=92596

Indeed, but that is likely to be more difficult than adding a search box for online.

If we used PDF or Microsoft Compiled HTML - which has some variants for the other platforms - it would not be a problem.