Import file size limitations?

I looked around for this info, but couldn’t find it quickly enough here or in the FAQs/manual to help me with a project just thrown my way with a request to assist ASAP!

OS: Windows 8.1 Audacity 2.0.6

I was sent a 320kbps .mp3 audio file four hours or so long (about 600 meg) that needs to be edited into hour-long sections for broadcast. (And also kbps needs to be reduced to 192kbps to broadcast on the station.)

  1. What are the mp3 file-size limitations (if any) on Audacity re: importing for edit?

  2. If able to import and edit this size file, how much degrading in quality will result from the conversion to 192kbps and exporting? (I guess one has to expect and work with some reduction of quality when working with smaller Internet stations requiring less bandwidth gobbling, and everything remains to be seen, but just need the input of the pros here.)

  3. If beyond the capability of Audacity, please advise as to other methods to edit and convert super-size .mp3 or other audio files.

Thanks for your help!

I don’t know that there is a restriction for show length in the region that you have — assuming you do have an MP3. Most people assume they have an MP3 no matter what it really is and Windows hiding the filename extensions doesn’t help any. If Audacity mysteriously doesn’t open the show, you may need to install the FFMpeg software to help out.

Assuming a stereo show, you have the best of MP3 worlds. Somebody produced the show at very high MP3 quality and the station wants good quality. That should work OK. Excellent would be the producer sent you perfect WAV files then there would be little or no perceptible quality loss.

Audacity will not produce an MP3 by itself. To do that you need to install the Lame software.

Other than that you should be good to go. Old Audacity used to have a show length restriction of 13 hours, but I think even that’s gone in the latest version.


A word on WAV files. They have a restriction of 2GB, so you have to juggle that in the mix. All in, you probably have the best production path.

The maximum size for normal WAV files is 4 GB (WAV - Wikipedia), though some very old machines and some very old or poorly written programs may only support WAV files up to 2 GB.

Just was making sure a file this size wouldn’t gack up my computer. Everything worked just dandy. Thanks, team of pros! Hope you’re having a pleasant holiday season! :slight_smile: