Massive Lag

I am using a 1 month old Sony VAIO Fit 14, 8GB RAM, i7 Intel processor, 1TB HDD,and the newest Audacity downloaded less than 1 month ago 2.0.3. My input is Line 6 UX2 with POD Farm.

I am having a problem now that i have had in the past with other computers, and in fact this was part of the reason i got my new computer.

It seems that when i record somewhat lengthy or sizable projects, Audacity becomes extremely laggy and frezzes up a lot. I tend to record songs that are let’s say up to 10 minutes long front to back, with 10 or more different stereo tracks in them. Not sure if the type of sound on a track or the volume has any impact, i wouldnt think so. The project file folder ends up being around 1GB (which in and of itself seems quite large to me and i am wondering if i am mis-using the software in some way or being very inefficient about it somehow?)

So when i am using one of these large projects, effects i’ve noticed so far:

  1. It becomes very difficult to scroll around the gui, clicking the up and down arrows or side to side. It becomes very laggy and hangs a lot.
  2. When recording, it can pause in the middle of the recording process (since i am playing with overdub, the music i am listening to stops) and then either start up again for a few seconds further down the song, and after not much time it completely dies. And i am unable to reopen Audacity without a full reboot at this point.
  3. I also notice that when i record on a song like this, the process manager shows that my CPU usage is low, my RAM usage is low, but my “Hard Disk” usage is ~98% and flashing red in the process manager.
  4. When playing back this 10 minute song, after a minute or two some tracks will stop playing (and possibly restart later) while other keep on playing normally. Additionally some tracks may play regularly but then a second version of the same track will play with a short delay right behind it, creating a very strange and freaky echo.
  5. When i try to export to WAV, #4 tends to keep many of these issues and i get bad WAVs that my computer finds it difficult but not impossible to play.

I had a 7 year old VAIO with mediocre old CPU, 1GB ram, and 750 GB HDD that i was using Audacity on, and in fact it was when i started using Audacity for larger projects that my old computer started crapping out and ended up constantly going to blue screen of death. I assumed it was the PC and not audacity and it was high time i got a new one anyway so i went ahead and did that, and while the rest of my new computer works fantastically, Audacity still acts as if i have a low-spec computer. So i feel like it can’t be my computer specs. Does anyone have any clue what can be going on here? And by the way is 10min song with 10 tracks = 1GB project file folder normal? Or am i doing something dumb? Any advice would be very helpful as i like audacity and dont want to have to upgrade to protools just because i am being stupid (not that it would necessarily solve the issue anyway).

Thanks very much in advance

Which Windows?

The size of the show isn’t as important as you think. Every time you do something; apply a filter or an effect, Audacity has to save UNDO. If you apply something globally to all ten tracks, you just doubled the size of your show on disk. Also, Audacity works at 32-bit floating internally, so doing size calculations only based on the original 16-bit work isn’t useful.

And yes, when you’re calculating horsepower, Audacity has to perfectly play all of your previous work into your headphones and still manage to record the current performance. Did you notice a gradual slowdown or increase in problems as the show got longer or deeper?

It’s extraordinarily important to work from a clean hard drive. Fragmentation is deadly when the machine is trying to play ten real-time tracks to your headphones and the tracks are garden-hosed all over the drive.

One of the video ideas is to run the computer from a relatively small hard drive and save the terabyte monster for data-only.

There is a method to force Audacity to use more fast memory during production tasks, but I’ll let one of the other elves deal with that.


Are you in 16-bit? I forgot to ask and you didn’t say. If you’re doing production in 96000/24-bit, this is an enormous show and you may run out of computer resources relatively quickly. Koz

I am using Windows 8. My Project rate is always at 44100

To be honest not totally sure what your question means but when i go to Edit:Preferences:Quality, the Sampling box is 44100, 32-bit float. Real time converter is Medium quality, dither=none and high quality conversion is Sample rate converter=Best Quality (slowest) and Dither = shaped.

Also i pretty much almost never apply any effects via audacity. I only fade the pan and the volume of a particular track, i do most of the sound effects pre-audacity.

As far as when the issues start, its hard for me to say. The larger files always take like 10-20 seconds to load into memory when i open them( as they get larger) but this is not a problem. My current project began with an 8 min click track. Then i recorded maybe 4 guitar tracks with different lengths across those 8 minutes. Everything is still fine. Then i take my PC to the studio and begin recording from the beginning for a drum track. 2 minutes into recording the drum track the overdub playback stops, and the whole just starts bugging out, i have to reboot my computer. This happens twice in a row. I then try muting all but the click track and 2 guitar tracks because thats all i really needed to get the drum track down, and I am able to get it to record a full length drum track this way, but in reality i cant say muting the other tracks is what helped and my understanding of the software is very little so i dont know what this actually affects. I do a second take on the drums as well after i get it working and that one works ok too. I get home from the studio and try to listen to my whole show and it craps out by having some tracks go mute, others get doubled, etc. I try to mix it down to a WAV in case that might help and i dont get those same issues per track, but the wav doesnt really play correctly all the way through. Does this gigantic explanation help? I fear something with the drum tracks messed it up but i did nothing different than with the others. ALL tracks save the clip were done in stereo, and all thru my line 6 UX2 and pod farm effects software. Guitar was direct and drums thru mics.

I am recording in all the default fields as far as i know since i downloaded the program.

The symptoms that you describe are consistent with running Audacity on an ancient computer or under powered netbook. As you are running a fairly powerful computer it is puzzling why you are having these problems.
Have a look in the Windows Task Manager to see what’s happening in terms of CPU and disk usage while Audacity is running. (I don’t use Windows, but I found this guide to the Windows 8 Task Manager: ). If CPU usage or disk activity are very high, see if you can find what program/process is causing it.