Need some help identifying quality track out of 2 tracks

HI, I’m still learning audio so I’d appreciate some help.

Please tell me, which set of stereo track is more “healthy”, the upper one or the lower one?
As I used the same effect but with different programs, and as you can clearly see, the results are different.
I didn’t develop enough of my ‘absolute hearing’ to know just by hearing which is of higher quality, I could guess, but it could be either one, but then again, that’s where software comes in for help, because you can see the wavelengths and analysed info of the track, so from this, by your experience, which one seems more “healthy”?

More info:
Upper track:
Lower track:

To emphasize, again, same effect for same file, different results with 2 different programs.

I assume that by “healthy” you are referring to “sound quality”.

The lower track is noticeably asymmetric (the peaks go lower on the negative side, and less high on the positive side). This is confirmed by the stats in your second post by looking at the minimum and maximum sample values. However, that does not tell us anything about the “health” or quality of the sound. Waveforms are rarely exactly symmetric. It’s more common for waveforms to look approximately symmetric, but so long as the average is very close to zero (the “DC Offset” figure) then it’s not a problem whether they are symmetric or not.

Short answer: Neither / either. It’s not possible to asses “health” / sound quality from either the waveform screenshots or the stats.

Assuming that it’s music, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. The important thing is what it sounds like.

Thank you Steve, I really profoundly appreciate all of your help, I’ve already read so many of your posts on these forums, thank you for all the hard work!

BTW, I went with the second (lower) track, since it actually sounds better, besides it looks better.

(I wanted to edit last post, but there’s no edit option)

It can become very confusing if earlier posts are modified, so much better to just add a new comment as you’ve done. :slight_smile:

Okay, thanks.

BTW, if we’re already talking… is there a real way to compare 2 tracks (like the other posted topic of comparing identical tracks) but without “inversing” one of’em (and then having to listen to the whole 50min of the track to spot a spike), just raw data on the difference between the two!?

What kind of differences are you looking for?

The “invert and add” method compares the tracks sample by sample. This method will reveal substantial differences between a WAV file and a high quality MP3 copy, even though the two sound virtually identical.

The simplest way to compare two tracks in Audacity is to simply look at the waveforms, as in your first post. Big differences in the wave thickness can quickly reveal where there is more sound in one track than the other, but subtle differences can be difficult to interpret.

Another way to compare is to look at the spectrograms. See here:

You can also look at the overall frequency content of a track with “Plot Spectrum”:

Okay, thank you, I’ve used these tools in the past, spectrogram and plot spectrum.

So, I finally surrendered to the inversion and listening process.

And, what’s the “and add” part of your post reading

The “invert and add” method


Also, this is off topic, but I must express and share,
(I’ve been using audacity for a few years now, not remembering exactly how many, about 7 years, maybe more)
I WISH audacity proj files would not be so humongously gigantic, and this is especially felt ever since v3.
Any other editing program of any sort I’ve used in the past, and there have been a looott, would save the proj file at kb or merely a mb.
And I know this is just like banging my head against a wall, because this is how audacity operates, so to change it, would probably mean to change the program, I haven’t looked at the source code yet, as I have a lot more impending projects to take care of.
Anyways, I just wish there was an option added to a new version or maybe even a plugin.
I just prevent myself from saving audacity projects as complicated as they may seem to get, it’s just not worth eating my whole HDD.

Say you have two tracks that are “almost” identical and you want to see the differences:

  1. Import both tracks into Audacity (one above the other)
  2. Invert one of the tracks
  3. Select both tracks
  4. Mix and Render (or Mix and Render to New)

“Mixing” simply adds the two tracks together (sample by sample), but because one of the tracks is inverted (positive samples are now negative, and negative samples are positive), you are effectively subtracting one track from the other (sample by sample).

Example: If the first track starts with sample values:

0,  0.5,  0.5,    0, -0.5, -0.5, 0

and the second track starts with sample values (note that the values are identical except for the 4th value):

0,  0.5,  0.5,  0.1, -0.5, -0.5, 0

Inverting the second track gives:

0, -0.5, -0.5, -0.1,  0.5,  0.5, 0

Then adding (mixing) the two together:

0,  0.5,  0.5,    0, -0.5, -0.5,  0
0, -0.5, -0.5, -0.1,  0.5,  0.5,  0
0,    0,    0, -0.1,    0,    0,  0

Note that all samples that are identical in both tracks are “cancelled out”, leaving just the difference between the two tracks.

Before version 3, Audacity projects had two parts. A small “.AUP” file and a humongously large “_data” folder that contained the audio data.

In version 3, the audio data is included in the “.AUP3” file rather than being in a separate folder.

The size of a v3 “AUP3” file is virtually identical to the size of an old v2 “_data” folder.

I didn’t know that, finally!
A new tool to the arsenal :slight_smile:

Thank you again for everything!

Yes, I know that.
It is more convenient that it’s now in one file, but still.
That’s also why it’s felt more since v3.
I would hardly open a folder of saved project data, I just need the project.

Toggling between tracks as they play is possible in Audacity …

Need to set solo button preference to “multi-track” to toggle …