CTRL+A, [full track] playing impertinent audio

Hi team.
Not sure if this was an intentional function in 3.2.

CTRL + A should select the entire track. In my version, it includes and plays back audio that precedes 0:00s; audio that was shortened in one way or another plays.

Could you guys explain the logic behind this? My opinion is that I’m not sure it’s very useful, at all.
Until next time…!

That’s been the behaviour since at least 3.1.0.

I don’t see much use for it either. In fact, I don’t see much use for allowing clips or labels to be in negative time positions at all.

Looks like a regression bug to me - I’ll try to find some time to log this (but I’m too busy today). As well as being a useless and unexpected behavior.
And Steve is right it is a regression on 3.0.5, introduced in 3.1.0 which was when the Clip-Handle drag-bars were added.

The other odd thing about it, even in the earlier versions where it only plays from T=0, is that the Ctrl+A selects all the audio including any chunk in negative time - easily observed by sliding the negative time chunk back into positive time after the Ctrl+A select all is made.

Note tat while it is playing the audio that is in negative time then the GUI gives you no visual cues in either the Time Toolbar or the Selection Toolbar, they only kick in when the playhead reaches T=0:
Play bug.png

I’ve long thought that it’s pretty pointless to have stuff in negative time - a stupid over-complication of the GUI and the app. For a start the visual cue is pretty weak and easily overlooked.

You don’t seem to be able to move audio into negative time in Reaper - at least not on default settings (but there may be a hidden setting that I can’t find).


Some more odd negative time behaviors to look out for:

  1. Get a three minute song
  2. shift it leftwards so that 1.5 mins is in negative time
  3. Ctrl+A to select all
  4. Now apply an effect
  5. Observe: the effect is applied to the whole 3 mins
  6. Edit > Delete
  7. Observe: the whole 3 mins is deleted

I remain unconvinced as to the benefit of such behavior - also it is not consistent with the way that smart clips work as when you apply an effect to a shrunken smart clip the the effect is only applied to the visible (non-hidden) part of the clip.

Delete of course will delete the whole smart clip though, expected and useful behavior.


There’s a related use case, which is for a recorder to support a “count in” or some other cue to assist multi-track recording, where the count-in / cue is not intended to be part of the finished recording. A neat way that some other apps support this is to allow the timeline to be offset to the right so that the timeline starts a couple of bars (a few seconds) before zero, and audio before the start of the timeline is not allowed.

Here’s the general idea (mock-up):

Logged as:
Audacity erroneously plays selected audio that is in negative time #4185

I also logged:

The Selection and Time Toolbars do not show a selection that is in negative time #4186


Effects are applied to non-visible audio in negative time #4187

And I launched this discussion thread:
Why do we have negative time in Audacity - do we need it #4188


I think you hit the nail on the head.

Thank you Peter, you’re a Godsend…!


PS: And thank you Steve. Very interesting lead, the pre-0 recording timer. That might explain all of this…!