Help for a newbie

Please excuse my ignorance. I am a new Audacity user and need some guidance from a kind soul. I recently recorded (with the artists’ permission) a house concert, which currently exists as a single mp3 file. I would like to cut or split (I’m using neither term in a technical sense) that single file into multiple files, each consisting of a single song / tune. I am assuming, though I have not yet tried it, that I could save multiple copies of the entire concert (the number of copies equal to the number of files I’d ultimately like to end up with), import each, then “split delete” (trying to use this in a technical sense if I read the manual correctly) each file removing all of songs / tunes except the one I want. Something tells me there must be a more efficient process. Am I on the right track simply importing numerous copies and editing them, or can some one provide me some guidance how to do this more efficiently?

Since you already have an MP3 file, you probably should be using a different editor. It’s too easy to cause sound damage by doing it in Audacity.

MP3 Editor


Koz is talking about using dedicated “MP3 splitting” software that claims to be able to split MP3 files without decoding then re-encoding them, thus minimizing the “damage” caused by the second encoding step.

Reading your question carefully, it looks like you’re asking to do this:

You don’t say which version of Audacity your are using nor on which operating system. I’d recommend 1.3.12 if you are not already using it.

– Bill

Thanks, Bill. I’ll check out the link you provided a little later this evening. I am running the beta version on Windows 7. I’m trying Audacity as it is free and it was recommended by a friend. I only recorded in mp3 as I was borrowing some equipment I am considering purchasing and it was already set up to record in mp3 to save memory. The device also records in wav format, which would be my preference. Thanks for the help!

Since you have been helpful, does Audacity deal with flac files? I real can’t stand the way some “tapers” split up tracks. Is it possible to take the beginning of one file and move it to the end of the preceding file, or vice versa? Can I do all of that in a flac format, or would I have to convert the files, which is not a problem. I can always convert up to wav, move things around, then convert back to flac. I understand that all conversions are based on some algorithm that will likely degrade quality … I’m not overly concerned, as long as I can keep my files out of mp3.

Again, please pardon my ignorance, but I am educatable … if that’s a word. Thanks again.

FLAC is a loss-less compression format, there is no loss of data when the file size is compressed, (downside the FLAC is only half the size of the original WAV).

MP3 is a lossy compression format, there is loss of data when the file size is compressed, (upside the MP3 is only a tenth the size of the original WAV).

[BTW it’s educable, not educatable :ugeek: :slight_smile: ]

looks like I could use some more education…thanks, Trebor. Are you saying that a flac file retains the same sound quality as a wav file?

Yes, and so does the wikipedia link I gave …

Lossless data compression is a class of data compression algorithms that allows the > exact original data to be reconstructed from the compressed data. > The term lossless is in contrast to lossy data compression, which only allows an approximation of the original data to be reconstructed, in exchange for better compression rates.

also …

FLAC employs a lossless data compression algorithm. A digital audio recording compressed by FLAC can be decompressed into an > identical copy > of the original audio data. Audio sources encoded to FLAC are typically reduced to 50–60% of their original size

Audacity will import FLAC files, uncompressing them in the process in order to store them in its own internal format. So no need to convert first to WAV.

Using Audacity 1.3.12 it is a simple matter to import the various files. Each file will go on its own track in Audacity, and become a separate “clip”. You can then use the Time Shift tool to move the clips, for example dragging a clip off of its track and butting it onto the end of the clip on another track. Once you’ve got the files put back together the way you like, you can do File > Export Multiple, choosing to export the new tracks each as a separate file.

What I do in the case you are describing is put the entire concert back together into one unbroken track, then decide on my song breaks and use labels to mark those breaks. Then I use Export Multiple to export based on labels, thus creating my own new “tracks”.

You should have a look at this page in the manual for using and moving clips:

and this page for Export Multiple:

– Bill

Thank you all for the education and your help. You’ve been most gracious!