Multi track freezing during playback

I’m using audacity on a MacBook Pro with boot camp (so I’m using the windows side) I have multiple tracks-between 8-14-, I would like to use this as backing tracks for live acoustic performances, however I’m finding that during playback, many times the tracks freeze briefly, which of course, will not work for live work. Is it possible there isn’t enough memory on my MacBook Pro and this is causing the tracks to freeze during playback?

Are you playing files like AIFF or WAV? What audio device are you playing to?

Are you recording while playing?

What Windows version of Audacity are you using?

Is there are reason you don’t use the Mac version of Audacity ( )?


Thanks for the response Gale. I’m using 2.0.6, the files are MP3. I’m not recording while playing, just play back to use as backing tracks while playing along. I use the windows side because I have other programs that aren’t Mac compatible, I guess I could try to use the Mac side. Not sure what you mean by what audio device am I playing to? I have the computer going through a PA system for sound but the tracks still freeze even when I’m using the computer speakers or headphones.

An MBP will not spit 14 independent tracks of audio at you. How are you getting the audio into the amplifiers? There’s a piece in the middle we don’t know, and managing that much audio at once could very well be where the system is falling apart.


When I use a PA I just plug in a jack into the headphone input with a dual connector on the other end for left and right channels, but even if I don’t use a PA, if I just play the tracks with audacity from my laptop using my laptop speakers alone, the tracks will freeze briefly and then begin to play again. It only usually does this a few times during playback but even once is enough to mess up a live performance.

Have you tried using wav in stead of mp3?

It avoids decompression on every track independently. Anyhow, I wouldn’t even think about using mp3’s for anything but plain simple stereo playback. In any DAW.

Audacity has already performed the decompression when it completed importing the MP3 as PCM.

I was wondering if these were very large AIFF or WAV such as 24-bit rather than 16-bit, being read directly from the files, which might be more prone to freeze.

For pure sound quality, I agree.


Is this just at the start of playback?

Have you tried turning off as many other applications and services as possible?

Are these tracks intended to be mixed together in playback? If so have you tried selecting all the tracks then Tracks > Mix and Render? I think that will make the audio start playback more quickly.

If these tracks are to be played one by one as in a playlist, try File > Open… to import the files into separate project windows. Switch to the next project window to play the next track. But be aware Audacity on Windows may not be able to cope with more than about 20 project windows open. The limit could be lower, depending on the machine.


Still, there is no “Windows Side.” Windows is running as a Boot Camp task under OS-X. So everything you do is a game of Chinese Whispers. That’s fine when you’re trying to execute a Photoshop blur or complex spreadsheet, but possibly less graceful in real time, particularly with OS-X’s new genetic desire to save battery life at all costs.

You should run Audacity natively under OS-X just to see what happens. Any result is good, whether it got better or worse. We’ll see if we can get you a second Audacity license at a discounted price.


Ok, so I installed the free version on Audacity for Mac (couldnt find a full version to buy, is there one for Mac?) anyway, I set up a couple of my backing tracks and they play perfectly with no skipping or freezing…is there a way to set up a library using the Mac version? As it is now, each song is a separate file, which will work fine but with the other version I paid for I could put 8 songs in a row and chose which song I wanted to play.

Thanks for the help!

So there is no confusion, Audacity is always free. A paid version is someone’s hack and could harm your computer. Only download Audacity from Audacity ® | Downloads.

I would not expect there to be a problem with only two tracks even if you used Windows in Boot Camp.

If each file is a separate song, you can use File > Open… as I suggested. Each song then opens in its own Audacity window. So on Mac, COMMAND + TAB to switch to Audacity if necessary, then COMMAND + ` (backtick) to switch between Audacity windows.

If you do want to put each song into the same track, Edit > Select > All, then Tracks > Align Tracks > Align End to End, then Tracks > Mix and Render. If you want you can then drag-select the blue waves for each song then use COMMAND + B to label each song. Click in the label to select the song, then Press Play.