My 1.3 Gbyte WAV file won't Import

Hi everyone,

I’m a new Audacity user and I’d very much appreciate any advice you can give me as I haven’t been able to find my query in the FAQ or among previous queries.

I’ve recorded an important interview on an Evistr L53 voice recorder and copied the resulting WAV file onto my Lenovo laptop. The WAV file is 1.3 Gbytes. I can play and hear the file in VLC Media Player and know it’s a good recording. I have more than 200 GBytes of free space on my laptop which is running Windows 7. I’m running version 2.1.0 of Audacity.

When I try to import the file into Audacity to edit it, Audacity behaves as though it has imported a file, but there’s nothing there. What am I doing wrong?

Kind regards

Do smaller files created by the L53 import correctly into Audacity?

The current version of Audacity is 2.2.2 (Audacity 2.3.0 is due to be released in a few weeks) and is available via the Audacity website:

Hi Steve,

Many thanks for your reply. I’ve updated to 2.2.2 and yes a 20 Mb MP3 imports perfectly and I can edit it - it’s just teh big WAV file it doesn’t like.

Nothing at all, or several hours of silence?
How long (time) is your 1.3 GB file?

If you know the format details (and you know that there are 8 bits in byte) you can check the file size against playing-time. If that’s off, it might be a clue.

For example, 16-bit, 44.1kHz requires 2 bytes per sample, so a mono file is 88.200 samples per second and a stereo file is 176,400 bytes per second. (If you put that into a spreadsheet it’s easier to use minutes and MB or GB.)

You can try importing the audio as [u]Raw Data[/u]. If you have uncompressed data (and you know the format details) that will work even if the WAV header is screwed-up. If you get “pure noise” try an offset of 0 or 1. (If you have a 24-bit file, try 0, 1, and 2).* If you have a compressed file in a WAV container Raw won’t work at all… You’ll always get noise… But, the above file-size check will tell you if the data is compressed.

I’ve never done this, but VLC can convert to different formats, so you may be able to “convert” to a new WAV file. The same trick may work with TAudioConverter or other conversion tools.

You could also record with audacity while VLC is playing.


  • IIRC, the actual offset is 48 or 49 bytes. That’s where the header ends and the audio begins. But as long as the bytes get re-assembled correctly you’ll get audio. (The left & right channels can be reversed if the offset is off by a full-sample, but that’s not a big problem.)

Hi Steve,

The interview was about two hours long, from memory. I appear to be getting nothing at all in Audacity (although I’ve played back the file on VLC Media Player to make sure it’s there).

There is a nice little tool called wavewizard.exe which allows you to load a wav file and review its properties. It can be downloaded from here but as always make sure you scan with your antivirus before running it.
If you load your file then look at properties you should see details as read from the header and you can snapshot them and show them here if your not sure what they mean.
( To decompress the rar file on windows you need something like peazip ).