Editing silence duration at start and end of track

I regularly process lots of tracks containing narratives that need to have identical silence durations at the start and end of each track.

I hand-edit each track now to get the needed silence. Is there a way to automate or batch process, the silence duration at the beginning and end of every .WAV file?

I can’t think of a way to automate it, but we may be able to make the manual method easier. How are you doing it now?

I would create a silent clip and “Copy” it.

Zoom into the first of the lecture. Drag-Select, Control-E ( on a PC).

Find the first voice and select to the beginning of the recording. Shift-J, Paste.

Zoom out Control-F. Zoom into the end of the show. Drag-Select, Control E.

Find the last voice and select to the end. Shift-K, Paste.

Next clip.

I bet that’s faster than you have been doing it. We’ll see if anybody can come up with a way to automate it. It’s rough to do because probably the clip before and after the valuable voices is not dead silent, right? It still has room noises and so it’s hard to “find.”


Are these long tracks or short tracks?
Do they already have some silence at the beginning?
Do they have other silences in them?
How much silence do you require?
Do these tracks exist as audio files outside of Audacity? If so, what format are they?

Most of these tracks are 30 to 90 seconds. Most have almost the right amount of silence. Normally, I just wing it, visually identifying speech start, and using the mouse, cut (truncate) it to about 1/4 second of silence. Same thing at the end.

When there’s not enough silence, I use the silence generator in Audacity.

Actually, this is faster than what I’d been doing. Thanks!

If the silence is completely silent, you can use the “Truncate Silence…” option from the Effects dropdown menu (ALT-E). If it isn’t completely dead air, you may be able to compensate for this using the “Threshold for silence” option found within the “Truncate Silence…” dialog window. Setting the “minimum” and “maximum” values to 5 milliseconds ought to do the trick.