Lots of Data, Audacity Crashes


I’m very new to recording, both with Audacity and in general. Forgive my basic stupidity.

I have been working on my latest song/project for weeks, and it has ballooned to a very large size. The project file itself isn’t so bad, but the data folder is a whopping 10 GB. This is obviously because I save my audio files at 384,000 Hz.

I am well aware of the fact that I’m pretty much an idiot for saving them at such an unreasonable size, but this is what I have been doing so far. I actually have gotten away with this on many songs, but at a certain point the file has a hard time running.

Before I started recording vocals today, the data folder was only about 2 GB, and it ran fine. But now after many vocal takes of a seven minute song, it is 10. I have plenty of actual room on my hard drive for the time being. But, as I said, the file won’t run very well right now. It is extremely slow upon opening and can’t get through either a full play or a recording. There are many freezes and dropouts, and often the file shuts down entirely.

I would really like to record more vocal takes. I also need to be able to work with the file in order to edit the takes that I have.

I have pretty much learned my lesson not to record at 384,000 Hz anymore in the future. But, what should I do in the present? I have saved previous versions of the project, including one with the full instrumentals but no vocals at all. Do you think I need to go back to this 2 GB version, and start over with the vocals at a lower quality? Is there something I can do to make the project, as it currently exists, more manageable? Would deleting vocal takes help, or would that not matter because they are already in the data folder?

Also, even though I have a great deal of storage on my computer, the overall Audacity folder is about 105 GB after only 15 songs. I don’t think I want to be stuck with that taking up space in the long run. Do you have any advice on how to permanently move the folder to a separate hard drive without messing anything up? I don’t want to overly confuse data links, or mess with the program itself.


Why :open_mouth:

An actual “hard disk drive” or a SSD?

It sounds like you have reached the limit of what your computer can handle.

Note that the amount of data in 10 minutes of a stereo track at 384 kHz sample rate in Audacity, is approximately equivalent to three full 60 minute CD albums. That’s a lot of data for your computer to move around.


I would suggest:

  1. Change the “Project Rate” to 44100 (in the bottom left corner of the main Audacity window)
  2. “Resample” all of the tracks to 44100 (see: Tracks Menu - Audacity Manual)
  3. “File menu > Save Project > Save Project As…” and save the project with a new name.
  4. Quit and restart Audacity.
  5. Check that your new project plays correctly.

It’s very rare that I save “projects” for more than a few days. Once I’ve completed a project I just export an “archive” backup copy as either WAV of FLAC format. Once I’ve moved onto other things it is extremely unlikely that I will want to go back and work on the multi-track original, and although WAV files are relatively large, they are MUCH smaller than an Audacity project.

If you must retain a copy of the project, my advice would be to make a “Zip” archive containing the “.aup” file AND its “_data” folder.
More information about safely managing Audacity projects here: Managing Audacity Projects - Audacity Manual

Note that the next version of Audacity uses a different project format (it will also be able to open old projects, but only save in the new format). The new format is very much easier to handle because it is a single file rather than an “.aup + _data folder”.