Could a huge project cause problems?

Okay, folks, I just discovered something that might have been at the bottom of my latency problem – and explain several other pieces of weird behavior with Audacity. The project I was working on involved me recording a few bars of music and repeating them so I could record the vocal over it. I didn’t know exactly how many repetitions I would need, so to be sure I had enough, I entered some huge number like 1000. I didn’t bother to do the math and I discovered I had inadvertently created a project that ran over 4 hours – and I mean several of the tracks ran that long. I noticed that whenever I tried to open the project, it took forever to open. I’m wondering if that was what was causing my problems.

I’m guessing no. Audacity works in chunks to avoid problems like this. If you open a Project to look at rather than listen to, you have _data folder with billions of individual chunks and fragments in it and an aup file to keep track of it all. Audacity still has to manage original files, so in that sense, it is going to slow down. Large shows aren’t free.

There is something magic about what you’re doing. Projects should open instantly. All Audacity has to do is open and interpret the aup file. It’s a tiny text file. I just now, literally, finished saving a two hour and fifteen minute stereo capture from a radio receiver. I exported it as a WAV file and it did take a bit of time to create the file. That’s my goal, but I also saved it as an Audacity Project.

Quit Audacity. Double click on the aup file and Audacity with the show opened in three and a half seconds.

You have something very serious wrong. I need to drop out for a while.


“Several” tracks at over 4 hours will be a lot of audio data. When the project opens in Audacity, the computer needs to read all of that audio data from the storage medium (usually the hard drive unless the project has been saved to something else). Having read the data, Audacity then needs to calculate the waveform according to the current zoom level. Depending on the read speed, the amount of waveform that needs to be calculated and the speed of the computer, loading very large projects can be slow.

Also, having a lot of tracks can make Audacity slow to respond when pressing the Play ot Record buttons, however the size of the project should not affect “latency”. The recording latency is primarily down to the audio hardware and drivers. If you try recording before a project is fully loaded then that could have an adverse effect on latency and/or cause bits of recorded data to be missing. The same is true if the number of tracks becomes too great for the computer to handle.