No fan of the aup3 file

I just bought a new PC and upgraded to Audacity 3. I’ve been using Audacity for many, many years. I understand the purpose of the aup3 file, but I am not a fan.

This week, having the aup3 file instead of the aup files/folder tripled the time it took to complete my work.

I produce the podcast for the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is done like a talk show. Our host is in LA and the guests are wherever they are; everyone’s in a studio and they send me files with voice, then silence, then voice, then silence, etc. I take all the audio files and sync them together so it sound like everyone is in the same room.

The raw interviews usually run 45-50 minutes and I cut them down to 28 minutes.

I normally create an Audacity project (I always name it “Summed”) where I lay in all the raw audio and then I equalize everything (levels, background noise, plosives, etc.). Once that project is laid out, I export it as a (16 bit/44.1) mono WAV file and then I start editing.

Yesterday was my first day using an aup3 project. When the Summed project got to about 30 minutes, it froze. I closed out and came back and it was still frozen. I closed out, restarted the computer, came back and tried breaking it up into smaller pieces. The files I created by doing that also froze.

I waited and waited for the Summed project to unfreeze and saved what I’d done so far to a WAV file and started editing that.

Now, normally there will be 4 or 5 times where the guest and host talked over each other. Using older Audacity, I am able to go into the Summed project, copy all the audio from one of those spots, create a new file and lay out everything so they’re not talking over each other. When I tried to do that yesterday, I could copy from the Summed project, but when I copied my tracks into a new project, the new project froze.

I have stripped new Audacity off my computer and loaded an older version.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong? Again, I understand the idea of having one singled aup3 file rather than hundreds of aup files, but this seems like a step forward and three steps back.

Richard Paul

Thanks for the feedback.

We’re aware that some users experience this “extreme slowdown”, but it has been extremely difficult for us to reproduce. There are some changes in the next version of Audacity (3.0.3) that “may” fix it, but we will need to wait until it has been widely tested to know if the problem is still present.
Audacity 3.0.3 is due to be released soon, so it would be useful if you could give it a try with a non-critical project and post an updated review for the developers.

During the development of the Unitary Project AUP3 project format I did extensive speed testing on:

a) my W10 PC in Manchester 8GN RAM 236 GB SSD + 1TB onboard HD
b) My Macbook Pro in Manchester with macOS 11.x and 10.x 8GB RAM 256 GB SSD
c) My W10 PC in Zurich - 8GB RAM 256 GB SSD

On all three machines there was no measured degradation in performance apart from Exit from Audacity where the database vacuuming takes place to release unused temporary space.

In fact many of the Effects, generators and Analyzers ran faster with AUP3 than they did with the old AUP format.


I’d love to do that, provided I can simultaneously run 3.0.3 and the older version that I put back on yesterday. I assume that, when I’m opening 3.0.3, there will be an option to run both versions, but in my experience the new version always wipes out and over-writes the old version. Please let me know. Thanks!

You can’t run them simultaneously, but you can have them both on the same computer and run either one of them (just not at the same time).

  • Do NOT use the installer for Audacity 3.0.3. Download the ZIP version.
  • Extract the ZIP file somewhere convenient. Anywhere that you have full read / write access with your normal log-in will do.
  • Open the Audacity folder that you extracted from the ZIP, and you should see the “audacity.exe” file. Make a desktop shortcut to that file.
  • In the same place as the “audacity.exe” file, create a new empty folder and name it “Portable Settings” (without quotes).

You will now be able to launch Audacity 3.0.3 from the Desktop shortcut. The Audacity 3.0.3 settings will be saved in the “Portable Settings” folder so that they do not interfere with your other installed version.

You will still be able to launch your installed version in the normal way.

(It may actually be “possible” to run both at the same time, but don’t. There’s a risk of data collision if you do, so always be sure that the other is not running when you open either of them.)

Because the 3.0.3 version isn’t “installed”, it is very easy to remove if you don’t want it any more - just delete the folder and the desktop shortcut.

Thank you. I will try it.