Multiple simultaneous projects/edits?

Hi all. :slight_smile: I’ve got almost a TB of audio files I want to split into multiple tracks, and would like to streamline the process.

I have Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, and am currently using Audacity 2.1.1 but I don’t remember if it was EXE or ZIP download. (I think it was exe.) I did just download the 2.1.2 zip in an attempt to use it as a workaround for something, but it didn’t work.

That “something” was running multiple instances of Audacity simultaneously. I thought if I could run it from two different executables I could - well, in my case, do an Import RAW (of, for example, a 28GB file with 32-bit float, 2 channel, big-endian) in one Audacity window, while simultaneously doing a Sound Finder (parameters: -72 dB silence, 0.1 seconds minimum silence, label 0.05 seconds before & 0.2 seconds after) on a file in another window.

The Import RAW is not necessary for all >4GB files, only for some. (I suspect the headers or something got saved wrong when I edited previously, as I can tell in the filenames that I had edited them after originally recording them. Btw the files are all either AIFF or W64, as normal WAV doesn’t support >4GB yet afaik. I don’t understand why not as we’ve had 64-bit OS’s, necessity of recording long audio files, etc. for quite some time now.) The Sound Finder is cause I was recording a stream with music that is not available elsewhere (including for purchase, at least that I can find). (I understand there’s a law from I think the 1970s/1980s or so, I forget what it’s called or if that’s when it was written, that allows home recording for personal purposes.) Also the particular stream’s website has a playlist feature where they list what they played, time, etc. I’m hoping with the combination of that and the labels exported to text, I could import the two into something like LibreOffice Calc (specific use of which I realize is outside the scope of this forum), arrange the labels properly, then re-import the labels into Audacity and THEN export multiple, thereby having properly named songs. :slight_smile:

Also I just remembered, besides using Sound Finder to find the breaks between songs / announcements, I’ve also had occasion to use it to find breaks in the stream, where either it lost connection or something like that. Generally the “silence” between songs is between 70 and 78 dB or so, whereas the silence during a break in stream is reported as typically 120-150 dB or so. (This is from Effects → Amplify, and it says +50 dB would result in -100 dB or whatever.) In some cases I time-shifted out the gap if it was a short gap (resulting in a seamless splice if I did it correctly, although occasionally I had to zoom in and manually edit a spike out of the recording with the pencil), but other times the gap is longer and is out of sync, so I have to do other things with it there.

Also on the sound finder, while I’m thinking of it, if I try it on a file larger than about 16.3-16.5 GB or so, Audacity crashes. So on files larger than that, I’m having to split them into smaller files, then run Sound Finder on them. Also I’m remembering as I’m typing this (skipping around while doing so) that the above mentioned edited files were because I had to split larger files, and/or I had done the editing out of the stream-break silences.

At first, I had tried doing File - New to open a new project, but while doing the process in one window (or any process for which there’s a pop-up dialog with a progress/time bar), it won’t let me switch to the other window. And, with my attempted workaround (running a second instance of Audacity from a different audacity.exe), it just redirects me to the original window. :frowning:

I really don’t want to have to do one thing at a time. :frowning: I just learned about Chains, but they don’t have the Import RAW option which is necessary on some files, and I’m not finding the Export Multiple (or Export Labels) option. I ran a test on a few small files (200-400 MB) with just Sound Finder, but it auto-closed each one after it was done. I need them to stay open so I can manually inspect the labels and make tweaks where necessary.

I have an i7-4790K, 32GB RAM, three 4TB HDDs, a 256GB SSD, etc - PC specs at - and would like to be able to make full use of the processing power. I realize that working on a TB of files will take a very long time, but it’d be nice to be able to streamline the process by being able to do multiple things simultaneously, or effectively using a batch/chain to automate the process as much as possible, or better yet a combination of the two.

What would be my best course of action here? I do also have a laptop (with an i3-6100 - yes, an LGA1151 socket/CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD, GTX 970M - desktop has Intel HD 4600 iGPU, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit), but I don’t want to tie up 2 computers doing this. Just doing one thing at a time sequentially will take FOR-E-VER!! :frowning:

I only skim read your post.

You can find out the pros and cons of running multiple instances of Audacity in other posts on this Forum. Basically you can’t run two different, recent Audacity executables on Windows, but you can on Linux and Mac OS X. Even there it is not regarded as completely safe, but in practice it may work.

The best and safest workaround is to use your two different computers.

You can run different executables simultaneously in two different user accounts, but on Windows 8 and Windows 10 the non-active user account usually loses audio. Apparently this is actually a Microsoft decision based on user feedback.

Nyquist plugins like SoundFinder will crash and take Audacity with them sooner or later if you give them excessive amounts of audio.

Sorry this isn’t the answer you were hoping for.


Gale, you may have given me yet another idea.

First off, though, what do you mean by “two different recent Audacity executables”? In my previous attempt, I was unable to run 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 simultaneously, is that basically what you meant? (But I might be able to run like 1.x and 2.x at the same time? That probably wouldn’t be very useful for me though.)

You mentioned using the two different computers, and also you mentioned the two different user accounts.

Why couldn’t I combine the two? Run a few copies of Linux in VirtualBox under Windows, set up a shared resource so I can access the location where my projects are saved from inside the virtual machine, then run Audacity in each one. :slight_smile: Of course I’d need to be careful to not attempt to edit the same file from two different VMs at the same time. :stuck_out_tongue:

What do you mean, in this case, by losing audio? Does that mean audio won’t play on one user account while another user is active? Or is it more related to what the concept happens when I read a file directly when loading in Audacity, then move the file elsewhere on the disk? (In that case, it’ll say can’t find the file / audio and replace it with silence in Audacity.)

I guess Nyquist, etc. hasn’t been updated yet to support full 64-bit file sizes? (I think rated in exabytes or something like that, I forget right now.) :slight_smile: However, being able to even open the 20-30GB files in Audacity is definitely an improvement over some issues I’d had a couple years ago when trying to edit a large multitrack project. (In that case, I think I was running up against a 4GB limit. I also think using a 32-bit OS - Windows XP at the time - didn’t help either.) And as long as I break the chunks down to about 16 GB or smaller, I can nyquist them. :slight_smile: (I’m finding that splitting them into 12-hour segments - as 32-bit float, 2-channel, 44.1 kHz - puts them at around 9.5 GB. Of course I could go quite a bit more, like probably 18 hours, but for some things I’m doing it makes it easier to break it into 12-hour segments.)

So, any reason why running Audacity in multiple Linux VMs (in VirtualBox) wouldn’t work, as long as I’m careful not to access the same file twice simultaneously from different VMs?

Also another thing I forgot, if I go the VM route…

How multi-threaded is Audacity currently? If not very, then I’m thinking…

I have an i7-4790K, which has 4 cores with hyperthreading, so 8 threads.

Maybe I could have 6 VMs running, each assigned 1 thread, or 3 VMs, each with 1 core and a hyperthread.

I suppose I could have more VMs than I have threads and let Windows fiddle with the task scheduling of the VMs. With a 4 GHz (unlocked) CPU, I wonder if it’d be a significant enough performance hit that it’d not be worth doing that?

Or would the main benchmark be the fact that I’d mostly be using a spinning 7200rpm hard drive - a 4TB Hitachi NAS - to source (and eventually save) the audio files? I do have 2 others, plus a 256GB SSD, but they’re pretty full. (They might have room to work on a smaller project though, but that still may or may not account for temporary files space.)

Exactly. At your own risk, you can run 1.0.0 with 2.1.2.

I did not mention virtual machines (VM) because I only have 6 GB RAM 2.4 GHz dual core and VM’s would be too slow on my machine. On your Desktop, you could try it (again it is totally at your risk).

I don’t “think” you would need to run Linux guests, you could use Windows guests. It would be like running two machines.

By “losing audio” in the inactive user account, I mean you will not hear sound.

Audacity is not deeply multi-threaded.


Ahh, well I figure I could try it on my system. :slight_smile: I probably need to optimize my workflow though, and it’d help greatly to be working with an SSD, not a mechanical hard drive. :slight_smile:

I think my main bottleneck is, as mentioned, the spinning hard drive. (If only I could get a good reliable NVMe / PCI Express SSD for the same cost/GB as a typical green 5-8TB drive, and same capacity…)