Recorded 13 hours but will only load 20 minutes?

Not sure if this is an operating system error but the data is there. I recorded 14 hours of audio with Audacity and saved it twice (took over a half hour each time, once to an external drive and the second time to my native drive) and both files are showing as 8gb in size so the information is there, but when I load it into ANY DAW, it only loads 20 minutes of the file. Additionally when I load the file into a media editor, it also only sees 20 minutes of the audio.

I recorded the audio using Audacity 2.0.5 on a Windows XP machine. But it won’t fully load on my Windows 7 machine either.
I have a feeling the file contains inaccurate container data that might be adjusted allowing me to load the entire wav?

Please help.

Audacity 2.0.5

Audacity 2.0.5 had a hard 13 hour (approximately) time limit. That’s as much data as it would address before it folded over and started the count all over from 0. You’re listening to the “over.”

That’s been fixed in later Audacity versions.

You may note that WAV also has limits. Either 2GB or 4GB depending on the system.

I don’t know that there is a way to rescue the earlier work, but I suspect however much successful work you have now, that amount will be missing from the rescue. When it folded over, it started stepping on the earlier work.

We have to wait for a more senior elf.


You know that totally makes sense. The initial recording was about 13 hours and 21 minutes and no more than 21 minutes has loaded from either file.
Well now I know.


To be accurate, the limit was in the data that could be stored as a single track or clip in an AUP project file.

The limit was 2 to the power of 31 = 2 147 483648 samples. At 44100 Hz project rate, the limit was thus about 13 hours, 31 minutes, 35 seconds. At 88200 Hz the length limit was half that.

Audacity 1.2.x would overwrite the original recording after it exceeded 2^31 samples, but 2.0.5 does not overwrite. If BigAlSonoma had saved an AUP file for the recording and opened that AUP in 2.0.5, all the data would be oprhaned and the recording would be a flat line, but the project should open correctly in current Audacity.

If BigAlSonoma only exported WAV files, they will behave as described in Audacity or any editor because of the file size limit Koz mentioned. The same would happen if you had recorded in current Audacity. You exported a larger file than the format allows.

If there is no AUP file, the solution is to use File > Import > Raw Data… to import the WAV file. Be sure to specify the correct encoding and sample rate that you exported as. There will be a click at the start of the file which is the file headers. Zoom in at the start and delete the click.

Then export using “Other uncompressed files” with RF64 (RIFF64) header which supports unlimited file size (for all practical purposes). If you are still using 2.0.5, click the Options… button after choosing “Other uncompressed files”.

If the player you are using won’t play RF64, split into WAV files no bigger than 2 GB (to ensure compatibility in all players).