How To Check An Audio Clips Properties

Hello everyone,

Been using Audacity for over a year, but this is my first post.

I work with Adobe Premiere and Anime Studio pro. I use Audacity, obviously, for audio. And I love it. But there’s one thing I just can’t figure out…

So, I recorded a character’s voice, then added a pitch change to it.

Everything’s great.

But then I go back to record more of that same character’s dialogue and I can’t remember what I had the pitch set at.

I’m used to other programs where you can just highlight a section of audio and see what the properties are (if you altered the volume, any effects, etc.), but with Audacity I haven’t figured out how to do this.

I’m recording some new dialogue and it sounds a bit off. I think I have the same pitch alteration as last time, but I’m not sure. How do I verify this?


The short answer is that, other than by listening, you can’t. Once the project is closed there is no record of what you did (other than volume envelopes, time track and gain / pan track sliders).

The longer answer is that there are two types of audio editors; There are the so called “real time” editors and “sample editors”. Audacity is of the latter type. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Real time editors don’t actually change the audio data until you export but apply a list of edits and processes on the fly (in real time) when you play back. This is a “non destructive” process and at any time you can undo or change any edit or process, even after closing the project.

Sample editors on the other hand actually change the audio data with every edit and process. If you change the pitch of a selection then you really do change the pitch of that audio data. There is usually an “Undo History” available while the project is opened (Audacity has unlimited undo history as long as you don’t run out of disk space), but once the project is closed there is no going back (don’t forget to make periodic back-ups).

While a project is open you can look in “View > History” to see a list of what you did, but maintaining the history requires huge amounts of data so the history is cleared when the project is closed.

That blows.

But I really appreciate the detailed response. Lesson learned.

Just wish there was a way to analyze the two audio clips to determine the difference in pitch.

Still, Audacity is a great program, and free, so there’s not really much to complain about.

Thanks Steve!

There are a couple of things Audacity could do which would help sligthly

  1. store the history list after closing the project (without being able to go back to some stage before the project was closed)

  2. store the last used parameters of an effect after closing the project. Audacity does that now for a few effects, so could conceivably do it for at least the shipped effects.



Thanks for the response.

My experience with Audacity is pretty basic.

Record something. Remove noise. Amplify when needed. Alter pitch on occasion. Maybe a little Compression or Normalization. That’s it.

So, I’m hoping you can go into a little more detail regarding your last post.


Gale is suggesting a couple of “feature requests” - things that Audacity could do, but currently doesn’t.

What I would probably do, (using Audacity’s current features), is to place a section of the older (processed) dialogue, into a track below the new (unprocessed) dialogue. Using the track “Solo” buttons you can then easily switch from listening to one, to listening to the other.

Tip: Changing the Solo button behaviour to “Simple” makes A/B comparing easier:
Tip: Ctrl+Z will “Undo” the last operation.

Ooops, I read it a little to quickly.

Great tip, Steve. Thanks.