Frustrations from a Training Manager

I know of a training manager who runs a radio course for adults and prefers Audition over Audacity for many reasons, including ease of use and more powerful features. Because Audacity is free, it is sometimes preferable for teaching purposes. However, whenever she gets the chance, she teaches them Audition while she gets to moan about the shortcomings of Audacity. The radio station crew always use Audition NEVER Audacity.

She sometimes gets frustrated when:

1). the main window cannot be resized vertically (i.e. zoomed in and out vertically, not just horizontally) so that more tracks can be seen at once (essential for large projects which have a large number of tracks)

2). creating a track from an .mp3 file is not intuitive

3). adding and removing tracks is not intuitive

4). difficult to do crossfades without seeing where the crossfade occurs (by way of curves), like you can in Audition

5). difficult to remove background hisses and hum completely when using the “noise removal” tool. Though one student suggested the use of the “vocal removal” tool instead so that the noise in a stereo track (which is the same in both channels) disappears.

6). when deleting a part of a track, Audacity does not allow one to bring back a part of it back (but not the whole thing, as you can do by an “undo”). For example in Audition, if you delete a section of audio, you can click and drag to reveal a part of the deleted audio.

7). the playback cursor can get very confusing. For instance, if you position the cursor, then playback a few seconds of audio, then stop, then decide to select a bit of audio from this stopped position, it is very difficult to do this because the selected audio will occur from where the cursor was positioned before the playback.

8). backing up a project file is definitely not intuitive, as you need to copy the “data” folder over as well as the .aup file

9). sometimes vertical red lines are seen throughout the audio tracks and it takes a while to work out that they are actually indicators of where the waveform has been clipped

Incorporate the above improvements into v2.0.6 of Audacity and she’ll be happy!

This is a long shopping list with many topics so this thread could get very bifurcated and messy :wink:

I’m going to try and pick off some of the low hanging fruit …


9). sometimes vertical red lines are seen throughout the audio tracks and it takes a while to work out that they are actually indicators of where the waveform has been clipped

These are indeed the clipping indicators - a positive feature of Audacity. The default setting is 2off" so someone has turned them “on”.

Just uncheck “Show Clipping” in the View Menu - see this page in the Manual: Audacity Manual

It is usually advisable on lower-powered computers to turn off the clipping indicators while recording as the compute power consumed can cause interruptions to the recording. You can turn then on for a view after recording and then off again.


By their nature Audacity Projects are somewhat complex beasts and as you not they are not a unified file. It was designed this way to facilitate speed of processing, it’s the price you pay for the speed you get.

We do and try and make this clear in the Manual -see this page: Audacity Manual

We did start work on a specialized page on backup strategies but it hell into the “long grass” as other priorities intervened, perhaps we should consider reviving it.


What I would do here is:

  1. mark the current cursor position with a label - use Ctrl+B
  2. Play the audio from there
  3. mark the required playback position with Ctrl+M while recording
  4. select between the two labels and label it - or drag the “edge” of one of the labels to the other label

See this page in the manual: Audacity Manual


I don’t understand what you’re getting at here :confused:

If you select and delete part of a track and then decide you want it back, using Undo will restore it.

The only problem is that Undo is not selective so you can’t pick out just one thing from the history that you want to undo (but all major applications Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshopt etc all work like that).


Yes indeed it is - and many of us have argued that the tool should be called “Noise Reduction” rather than “Noise Removal” as the current nomenclature sets false expectations.

I find the default settings a little too aggressive as they can produce tinkly artifacts - I have recently been getting advice from this from another Audacity Team member and forum contributor (Steve), and have added a note to the Beta manual for 2.0.6 - see the green note at the bottom of this page:

These settings have ben working well for me on
1)FM hiss
2) webstream carrier noise
3) slight mains hum I have on one channel of my cart/arm/TT.


Shift + a stops playback and positions the cursor right there.
You can assign a new key combination if this one isn’t convenient (Ctrl-space for example or simply something with"s").

To create a track from an MP3 or any other audio file you need to Import it into Audacity.

We have a distinction between native format (i.e Audacity Projects) which can be Opened and Saved - and non-native formats (e.g. audio files like MP3 and WAV) which need to be Imported and Exported. This is partly this way to try to make it clear that Audacity is not opening a WAV or MP3 file for editing - rather it is temporarily using it’s own native format for working - i.e. Audacity is not aWAV or MP3 direct editor (other software tools are available for such purposes if required).

This approach is not unique to Audacity - many other software applications exhibit such distinctions.

Unfortunately there are some parts of the GUI that blur this distinction - for example it is possible to use File > Open … to edit an audio file - but what Audaccity is actually doing behind the scenes with this command is:

  1. Opening a new Audacity project
  2. Importing the audio file into that new project
    So it is actually not an Open but a disguised Import. Personally I am one of those who believe that should not happen as I think this confuses the interface for the users - but opinions on this vary among the Audacity team.

See this page on importing in the manual: Audacity Manual

And the File Menu page re Opening: Audacity Manual


Going to the Tracks menu there are two items in the drop-down menu for:

  1. Add New which has its own helpful sub-menu
  2. Remove Tracks - which removes all currently selected tracks, if none are selected the command is grayed out.

How much more “intuitive” or discoverable can the developers make it, I’m at a bit of a loss here? You know you are wanting to operate on Tracks so where more obvious to go than the Tracks Menu

See this page in the manual: Audacity Manual.

The un-obvious part of track removal is that the user can click on the little x in the top left hand corner of the Track Control Panel and that track will be removed whether it is selected or not - see: Audacity Manual


Ther are a couple of existing tools than can help here:

  1. View > Fit Vertically or its keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F (chosen this way to mirror the Ctrl+F for zoom to fit horizontally.

  2. View > Collapse All Tracks or its keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+C of you have a lot of tracks they still not all fit though, but you will see more tracks.

See this page in the manual: Audacity Manual


I imagine that you mean it the other way around.
Creating a track from an MP3 is simply importing a file (Shift-Ctrl I). Alternatively you can drag and drop the file.
However, I guess that you want to create an MP3 from a track. The only cumbersome thing is to first install the library–which is essentially only a license question and can’t be altered.
To export a single file:
Mute all tracks (Ctrl-u) and unmute the track you want to export → export.
Or deselect all tracks but the one you want to export (from beginning to end, too). → export selection.
The Parameters for the export dialog are straight forward and remain the same for most upcoming sessions. In most cases it will be enough to select the right file type (*.wav or *.mp3 etc) without clicking the options menu anymore.

Ah yes, I agree that this one is not as easy as it should be - there are a pair of crossfades in Audacity that don’t actually do the X-fade for you - you have to fade on e track out and the other in - and there are more complex customizable fades available from the Effect > Adjustable Fade…. None of these fades has a graphical interface which shows what the curve is (there are ways of faking this, say by generating a sine tone and then applying the fade, this will show the curve shape).

One of the Audacity Team (Steve again) has been doing a lot of work on fades - for example the Adjustable Fade is his work. He may want to chip in here on whether or not he thinks a GUI with fade shapes is achievable or desirable - If so then this would definitely stand as a Feature Request.

This page in the manual is worth a read: Audacity Manual
Here you can see the fade shapes (and these were generated in the manner I described above)


Good point Robert - 'twas the use of the term “track” which has a specific meaning as an entity within Audacity that threw me :confused:

As Robert says - and this page in the manual wil be helpful: Audacity Manual

Though in my defence the poster does say “Creating a track from an MP3” and not “Creating an MP3” :sunglasses:

This page on LAME will be useful too: Audacity Manual


When training folk she may find the various tutorials in the manual helpful as they work through a number of common uses of Audacity - see:

Top Tip: If you scroll down in the front page of the manual to the Reference section:
you will find that all the items displayed there in the screen image are clickable to take you directly to the page ar section in the manual related to where you are clicking (and many thanks to editor Bill Wharrie for this amazing piece of work - I, personally, find it immensely useful).


And answer came there none …

No comment, no challenge, no thanks :cry: :open_mouth: