playback problems in Audacity 2.0.x

This seems to be a sudden onset problem. After anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes of playback, audio will stop playing while the audio position counter continues on. Then one channel begins to work, and after a few seconds, the other channel, out of sync, will begin playing. This goes back and forth while the audio position readout becomes gibberish (mostly dashes with a number and no increments). When I stop playback, Audacity crashes.

This happens exactly the same way on all of my computers, and with all versions of Audacity I’m using: Mac OS 10.5.8 on a dual 1.8 GHz G5 tower, audio playback is through an M-Audio 96/24 card. Project rate is 96000 hz at 32 bit float. Also Mac OS 10.6.8 on a MacBook Pro running a 2.4 GHz Core i5, audio playback through built in audio set to 96000 hz at 32 bit via AudioMIDI setup.

This happens on Audacity 2.0.6, 2.0.5, 2.0.2 in exactly the same way. It started when I upgraded to Audacity 2.0.6 and updated ffmpeg to 2.2.2.

I have since done clean re-installs on both machines, trashing all prefs, and libraries, but it seems permanently broken. Help!



This seems to be a sudden onset problem.

On the video forums this was the cue to look for hard drives filling up. “I didn’t do anything unusual and it just stopped working right.”

Turns out the System Drive had 500M left and was gasping for air. That’s “M” not “G”. You can get into trouble if any of your connected drives are running out.

What happens if you do a sample, simple production at 44100, 16, Stereo?

The symptoms are of a machine that can’t keep up with the work. How many tracks do you have and how long are they?

What else are the machines doing? I used to routinely get a department manager out of trouble by “really” closing the thirty or so programs and tasks he had open and minimized.

Are all your machines using spinning metal hard drives? I never thought it would make that much difference until I met a sister machine to mine that had spinning metal. I have a modest SSD. I thought the machine was broken the performance was so sluggish.

There was a recent post that made a case for shows over a certain size requiring SSDs for complex production. That’s not crazy-talk.


Thanks for your reply and troubleshooting tips, Koz. The MacBook is running 4 GB of RAM and has 160 GB free on the hard drive. The G5 also has 4 GB of RAM and has about 51 GB free on the hard drive. All my disks are mechanical, and while I’d love to try out a SSD sometime, for the moment I got what I got.

I do typically have Firefox open, as well as Mail on either computer while working, though I have attempted to play these sound files with Audacity alone running with no difference.

The files I’m attempting to play are somewhat large, 2 hours or so in length, stereo. I’ve tried downsampling them to 16 bit, 44.1 khz, but the playback problems remain the same.


Is the M-Audio card a USB device? If so, do not connect it to a USB hub - connect it to an empty USB port.

Have you visited to see if there are Mac drivers or firmware you should download for the card?

Have you changed settings for the card somewhere before this problem started? Have you changed anything else? Have you installed new network software or changed network settings? Macs do not always like that.

Try Audacity project rate at 44100 Hz (bottom left) and set up the M-Audio card and your built-in audio with that rate in /Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup.

Are you playing two hours at the end of an already long track? Time positions do not display properly in tracks that contain more than 2 147 483648 samples. That is just over 13.5 hours at 44100 Hz but less time at higher sample rates. Try File > Close then just import the file on its own. Is it a separate audio file or is it an Audacity project?

Have you reset preferences like this? Quit Audacity, open Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder and type:

~/Library/Application Support/audacity/

Then open audacity.cfg. Select all the text and delete it.

Then type the following at the top of the file:


Save audacity.cfg and restart Audacity.

Can you attach the Audacity crash report? Open Finder in 10.5.8 then choose Go > Go to Folder and type:


For 10.6.8, type:


Please see here for how to attach files:


Think I found the problem…disk error!

After trying all suggestions (thank you so much Gale and Koz!), I attempted to record a new audio file of significant length (45 minutes), and found everything worked perfectly, regardless of bit rate or sample depth, and on any computer I have.

I did a quick sweep of all my disks with DiskUtility, and found the 3 TB disk I had my problem program on was riddled with errors! Now I just hope I can rescue everything on that disk and start over.

Thanks you all so much for your attention to my problem. I really appreciate your dedication to making Audacity bullet-proof reliable. Thanks for your patience with a newbie!!


FWIW, attached is the crash report from my G5.
Audacity_2014-11-26-153543_G5.crash (39.2 KB)

Thanks, Mike. Glad it seems to be fixed.

So was that an external disk? I would expect Mac to repair any faults on the system drive when you reinstall OS X.

The crash report mentions Snap To in Selection Toolbar - I have seen that implicated in a crash on Mac once before. Unless you want Snap To on, I would leave it off.


Unless you want Snap To on, I would leave it off.

Suggestion noted! I kinda like snap-to when I’m making labels, but I can do without just fine.

The disk is an external, and as soon as I get all my stuff off it (hopefully), it will be junked. I had some prior warning that there might be something wrong with this disk, but I ignored it.

Audacity is the best!!


Feel free to use it when needed. If you get any more crashes it would be helpful if you could post another crash report in a new topic.