Importing OLD MP3 files

I am having trouble importing some old MP3 files. I know that I have imported these in the past but on an old install of Audacity. The error I am receiving is:
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I can play these files in QuickTime Player. I thought it might be related to Lame or FFmepg, but I am not sure about that. Here is what I have installed -
Screen Shot 2020-11-06 at 8.59.06 AM.png
I am running MacOS 10.15.6 with Audacity 2.4.2

I am open to any ideas. My current workaround is to play the files using QuickTime and record the system audio. Not very elegant but it works. I can attach one of these audio files if you want an example. They are each about 5 minutes in length.

Thank You,


In 2.4.2 we tightened up error reporting when importing MP3 files. This is what you’re seeing.

LAME and ffMPEG have nothing to do with importing - they are for exporting audio files from Audacity.

You could try installing the VLC Media Player. You could then load the files into VLC and save them as FLACs. Import the FLAC files into Audacity.

Or you could try installing Max. Get the “unstable” 0.9.2b4 version (earlier versions won’t work on Catalina). It has a somewhat quirky user interface but you should be able to figure it out. The advantage is that you can use it to bulk-convert your problematic MP3 files into FLAC, OGG, AIF or just but any other format.

– Bill

It is possible to force Audacity to try importing via FFmpeg before using the normal MP3 importer. To do that you need to select “FFMpeg compatible files” as the “file type filter” in the Import file browser. Sorry I don’t recall exactly how to do that on macOS but Bill can probably give more details.

I expect that will allow Audacity to successfully import these “slightly faulty” MP3s.

I have VLC installed. I will use that method. thank you.