Crashed, project files flatlined, can I recover with data files?

Mac OS Monterey 12.2.1 / Audacity version 2.4.2 then upgraded to 3.1.3 while troubleshooting.

I was working on a project when the app crashed. It was saved recently to my desktop. I went to open it again and had the orphan files message. I clicked ignore and open project. When it opened the two audio tracks in it were blank.

I still have the whole _data folder and those .au files do open with audio. Just the .aup file opens blank. Is there a way to recompile all the .au files into the project?

-I was working in version 2.4.2 then saw a notification that there’s the 3.1.3 version out and that may fix some issues, so I tried that first. No luck so far.
-A lot of threads also mentioned opening the .aup file in a text editor, so I did that. It does show data in there with the correct project name.

Any thoughts?
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Are the AUP file and the _DATA folder in the same location or folder? Audacity 2.4.2 will not open up a show without that.

Is there a way to recompile all the .au files into the project?

Were you editing when Audacity crashed? If you were, then it may be the end of the world. There are slow, painful ways to rescue a 2.4.2 project if you haven’t edited it yet, but once you start editing, the little AU files get scrambled and the only way to unscramble them is the AUP file.

Did you make a backup WAV or Project before you started editing? One of the seriously cool things Audacity 3.1.3 does is let you make a backup Project with no links or ties to the original show. A real backup. It is strongly recommended you File > Export a perfect quality WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit file of all original work before you start editing.

If this is the only known interview with the governor, it might be possible to open the little 6-second AUP files one at a time and piece them together on an Audacity timeline just by listening. If the show was stereo, the mono AU files alternate Left-Right-Left-Right.

Again, if you were in the middle of editing, the AUs will be scrambled and not follow either the file names or the time and date stamps. This could be your retirement project.

What was the show? There are tricks for double recording live events and as has been mentioned multiple times, Zoom and Skype will both record conversations on their servers. You can double record a live interview by just leaving your phone recording on the table between you.

Koz

Thanks Koz.

Yeah, I had been editing it already, so sounds like the work I did is lost. The interview itself was recorded on Zoom, so I still have the original audio files. I’ll just have to start over on the project.

Did you make a backup WAV or Project before you started editing? One of the seriously cool things Audacity 3.1.3 does is let you make a backup Project with no links or ties to the original show. A real backup. It is strongly recommended you File > Export a perfect quality WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit file of all original work before you start editing.

Does this just save the original files so if the project gets lost, I’d still have to start over?

I’m wondering if I should be starting to Save As the project with different rev names throughout so if I lose the latest I can hopefully still have an earlier version and not have to start over? Unless there’s a better method?

It’s not Save As. It’s Save Project > Backup Project. That gives you an isolated backup not linked to the active show. If you Save As, Audacity assumes you want to continue with the new project forever.

I’ll just have to start over on the project.

You got insanely lucky. Many forum posters lost the only copy of a vital interview or sound performance.

In your particular case, trying to rescue the edit is a retirement project, if it’s possible at all. Far faster and more efficient to pull down the raw interview and cut it again.

Yes, you can periodically form a backup project as you go. Build the time and/or date into the name so you can find it later. 20220418GovernorInterview-raw. If you do live interviews or presentations, Export a perfect quality WAV sound file when you get done with the performance. WAV files are less brittle than Audacity Projects.

There are restrictions to that as well. There is a time limit. Don’t try to export your 6 hour podcast as WAV.

Koz

This is where you help us out.

The interview itself was recorded on Zoom

How has that worked for you? We’ve been telling people to do recordings that way as far easier and is less error prone than trying to do the whole thing at home.

If both sides are wearing headphones, you should be able to get a remarkably good, clear recording. If everybody is hands-free, it could sound like a bad cell call.

Also, there’s the note that they will separately record both sides of the conversation. Have you had any experiences with that?

Koz

How has that worked for you? We’ve been telling people to do recordings that way as far easier and is less error prone than trying to do the whole thing at home.

If both sides are wearing headphones, you should be able to get a remarkably good, clear recording. If everybody is hands-free, it could sound like a bad cell call.

Also, there’s the note that they will separately record both sides of the conversation. Have you had any experiences with that?

We use Zoom primarily because all our interviews are remote and most people are already familiar with Zoom, so it helps make things easier for them. We coach them ahead of time to use high quality headphones or a professional mic if they have them. Once we get on with them, we test audio and in some cases have asked them to switch headphones, go hands-free or even once we had them call in over phone for better quality.

Zoom gives us a separate audio file for each person which is really nice for editing.

a separate audio file for each person

Really, each person? So if there are three people on the call, you get three sound files? That’s a lot handier than I thought it was going to be.

in some cases have asked them to switch headphones

Leakage? Your voice leaking into theirs?

once we had them call in over phone for better quality.

How do you capture that?

Koz

Really, each person? So if there are three people on the call, you get three sound files? That’s a lot handier than I thought it was going to be.

Yep, it’s in Zoom settings → “record a separate audio file for each participant”- it’ll record up to 80 participants individually. You get a bunch of files from Zoom: An mp4 of the full video, an m4a of the meeting (everyone’s audio together), and separate m4a files for each user.

Leakage? Your voice leaking into theirs?

No, because everything is remote we don’t get any leakage. And if one person has disruptive background noise when someone else is talking, it’s easy to edit out since we have those separate audio files for each person. What I was referring to there with the headphones is that sometimes the headphones they start out with are awful, so we ask them to switch to a different pair or try calling in. Just depends on how the sound quality comes through.

How do you capture that?

Every Zoom meeting has a call-in number, so they just use that. They disconnect computer audio altogether but remain on the Zoom meeting on their computer with webcam so we can capture their video. Then they call in as a separate user via phone. Zoom will save that audio file too, just like any other user.

Although, I think Zoom might save all dial-in users as a single user audio file. Fortunately we only have 1 person on for these interviews so it’s never been an issue yet.

That explains why Zoom is so popular. They seem to have production tasks and tools nailed in addition to having multiple people reliably talk to each other.

I’m saving your clear responses and explanations.

Who do you think is going to buy them? Gotta happen, right? I badly want Zoom Corp maker of sound recorders to buy Zoom Video Communications, and then watch the news and finance shows try to keep it straight.

What is your company product or service? You normally can’t mention that, but if a forum elf asks you…

Thanks, much.

Koz