plays both windows; i only want one

new user. my interest is solely in working with MP3 files of music i made from dropbox and stored on VLC. i import into audacity, copy a song from it into a second window (new) and paste. so far so good.

but when i try to listen to that song in window #2 it plays both windows. it extends the line of where i want to listen to window #2 ONLY and extends it up into window #1 as well, thus playing two tracks simultaneously.

i want to listen to and work with #2 only. even when i click on the new window or hit select, then hit the play button or space bar, it insists on extending the line that runs through #2 all the way to the top and plays whatever is at that point in #1 at the same time. most annoying.

what can i do?
thanks in advance

If you Open two files you normally get two separate Windows that play separately.

If you Import two files they normally open in the same Window and they mix when you play or when you export to a new file. There is a mute button to the left of the tracks if you want to silence one of them.

So… What are you trying to do? Join two tracks, one after the other to make one-long track? Something else?

working with MP3 files

As you may know, MP3 is lossy compression. When you open an MP3 (or any compressed file) in Audacity (or any “normal” audio editor) it gets decompressed. If you then re-export as MP3 you are going through another generation of lossy compression and some “damage” does accumulate. Ideally, you should use lossless originals and if you want MP3, compress once as the last step. If you are stuck with MP3 originals, try to minimize the number of times it’s compressed. Or, there are specialized programs that can do limited editing without decompressing.

OK, so on Windows 10, I opened Audacity 3.0.2, Imported an mp3 file, then:

  1. Ctrl-A - select all audio
  2. Ctrl-C - copy
  3. Ctrl-N - open new Audacity Window
  4. Ctrl-V - paste previously selected audio into new Audacity window #2.
  5. Space Bar - plays audio from window #2.

Are you using 3.0.2 ?

If not, I suggest downloading from here:

DVDDoug what i am trying to do is take about 40 cassette tapes that we recorded off of live Jamaican radio in the 1990s and digitize them (this part is done and are now VLC files, each about 90 minutes long.), then use Audacity to make a Greatest Hits album. i want to get rid of the songs that are too fuzzy or discordant. for example, on tape 1 i might take song #4 and song #13 only, then tape 2 take #10, that kind of thing, but maybe later on i want to return to the first file and get song #22. must i re-import tape #1? unlike a CD or internet download each song is NOT clearly separated from the previous or subsequent one. my only interest would be to fade in and fade out as needed. i will not be wanting any voice or comments from myself overlaid on top. must i import each VLC file individually, take the cut i want and paste it into the second window, and then close it out and import the next one? i have learned how to zoom in control-1 to find the exact spot to end one song and how to add silence of a couple seconds and then copy and paste the next cut. thanks for your time and expertise. any suggestions are most appreciated.

jademan i downloaded audacity less than a week ago so it is the newest version yes. p.s. on another topic is there a button i can hit after reading your response that will allow me to indicate your user name and answer you? on facebook, it is simply “reply” and your user name would be in bold in my response. in other words, i have posted a reply here that includes both people who were gracious enough to help me, but i wasn’t able to answer each individually without including their user names in this general response format. thanks to you as well for your time and expertise.

i teach at a university and audacity has been a great lesson in humility. i’m sure my students who are 50 years younger than i am could handle these tapes effortlessly!

You do not need to cut and paste between windows

  1. You can import one of you 90 minute tracks, select the audio you require (with click&drag) and the use:
    File > Export > Export Selected Audio

  2. Or import one of you 90 minute tracks
    a) delete the audio that you don’t require
    b) work on the fades and levels
    c) File > Export > Export Audio

    But what I would do would be …

  3. Place labels with song names at the start of each song and then use File > Export > Export Multiple

This will give you a set of separate audio files one for each song which you can then work on separately.
It also means that you have each song (good and bad) available for archive.

You can then open a new Audacity project and impoert all the songs you need to make a “greatest hits” mix.
You will probaly want to use Tracks > Align Tracks > Align End to End
as initially all imported songs will be on their own track starting at T=0


  1. Do export and work with WAVS (to ensure no quality loss)
  2. If you need compressed MP3 or AAC files do this as the last production step and do still keeo the WAV files for archive.
  3. Do backup the resultant files on at least one external drive - you don’t want to lose all the work


BTW - once you’ve finished I’d love to have a copy or your “Geratest Jamaican Hits” album - if that’s at all possible

Yes, that big red Post Reply button that you already found works just fine.

jademan: got it. thanks again.

waxcylinder: i wrote a lengthy reply that my piece of drek laptop just ate, so i’ll condense. sure, i’d be happy to send you one my buddy remixed on audacity, but bear in mind this is Jamaican radio with station i.d. and Dj i.d. for greats like Bob Clarke, Elise Kelly, Mighty Mike, Dionne Matthis etc. also oddball announcements about cricket scores, ads such as Blue Bomber laundry soap, quirky stuff. although there are some later Bob Marley cuts our interest was pre-reggae ska, mento, calypso etc. as well music of consciousness from the 1990s. we caught some cuts by the Wailers’ backing chorus the I-Threes and roots stuff by the Skatalites or Ernie Smith yes yes yes, but Ini Kamoze, Ziggy Marley, Shaggy no no no. Mi Coffaa by the Jamaica Folk Singers yes, Buffalo Soldier no if that distinction makes sense. these tapes are not like Legend, Wailers greatest hits.

i’m not especially tech savvy so you would need to instruct me how to send one of our remixes with playlist if you are still interested. thanks for your advice above. i’m getting there. p.s. my buddy used audacity to make the remixes once he had digitized the original cassette tapes on Dropbox.

let me know if you want some really unique tunes that will have you thinking you are “Way up in deh” (the Burning Spear) in the Blue Mountains or in Port Antonio. cheers.

Hi meythai,

thanks for that, I’d love to have a listen to those Jamaican tunes. I sent a Dropbox request with a folder lingk to your Gmail account which you should see sometime soon - so you should be able to upload there for me.

Many, many thanks,



well i did not get a link via dropbox. i should mention that my buddy is the one with the dropbox account. he sends me a link which i download onto my laptop as a VLC file. he doesn’t want to pay for an upgrade, so he leaves the link up long enough for me to download then erases it and puts up a new one. also dropbox for me is in Thai since i live in Thailand. i can read Thai but the technical stuff is confusing enough and i cannot find a link to where i can change the language. what you can do is send an email address or tie into my facebook account. i don’t want to publish my email address or facebook name in this public forum - is there any way to direct message you in audacity as i do sometimes on facebook? sorry to be such a Luddite. or if you can think of another way around this let me know. D.

waxcylinder: silly me. if you have access to my gmail account then just send a gmail address for you and i’ll send the tape that way