No wave form from imported mp3

I imported an mp3 recording (from an mp3 recorder) onto my computer and am trying to open it using Audacity. I have no problem doing this on my computer at work (with Windows xp), but frequently on my home computer, (with Windows Vista) Audacity opens the file, but there is no wave form and no sound plays. It is an mp3 and is about 100 mb. Currently, I have one such file open and it is fine, but I want to import audio from another mp3 and the second one opened, but won’t display a wave form. However, this is not an isolated instance, I have had this trouble several times on this computer trying to open an mp3 in Audacity. What is going on?

Since Audacity opens MP3s just fine, we might suggest that the files are not MP3. You can open the problem files and look. Right Click > Properties > Advanced or Extra.

You can also force Windows to show you filename extensions. That can go a long way to solving technical problems.

– Hidden File Extensions
– Start > My Computer > Tools > Folder Options > View > [ ] Hide Extensions for Known File Types (deselect)
– Apply

Let us know.


If the files turn out to be Something Magic, you may decide to download and install the FFMpeg package. FFMpeg allows Audacity to manage many more different files than it can by itself.


I checked and indeed these recordings are both mp3s. The recorder I have only records in wav or mp3 formats and I have selected mp3 so it doesn’t use up all of the available memory for an hour-long recording. I’ll probably just deal with my computer at work, where recordings open just fine. It would have been nice to do some editing at home yesterday, but it wasn’t meant to be. I know that Windows Vista does weird things sometimes (I don’t care for Vista very much) and wondered if that might be the issue and if there was a solution. The work computer runs WIndows XP, and I have no problem there. BTW, I did download the FFMpeg package right after I downloaded Audacity 2.0.

Is the Vista machine also running Audacity 2.0.0? If you click Edit > Preferences: Directories, is “Play and/or Record using RAM” enabled (checked)? If so, try unchecking it.

Are the files that have no waveform always that large?

Have you tried using FFmpeg to import the troublesome MP3’s (File > Import > Audio, choose “FFmpeg-compatible files” in “Files of type”)?

Can you upload one of the troublesome files to a free file transfer service like:

and give us the web address where we can download it ?



  1. Please click Edit > Preferences: Directories and tell us what it says for the location of the Audacity temporary directory. If the window you are importing into has never been saved as an Audacity project and the path to the temporary directory starts with “” (with nothing else before it), it could explain the problem.

  2. When this problem happens, also please open Help > Show Log…, click Log > Save… and attach the saved file to your reply (use “Upload attachment” underneath the message “Submit” button).