Recording Chopped

Hi there,

Earlier this week I recorded a phone interview I did for my blog using my computer’s internal microphone. The conversation was just past 19 minutes long on my phone but for some reason the recording is only 13 minutes long and it clips in and out. The levels were fine the whole time and I didn’t mess with it at all before I saved it. Is there any way to get the whole audio back?


If you open the project and it’s 13 minutes and Audacity doesn’t volunteer to rescue, fix or correct anything, then it’s very probably history.

I recorded a phone interview I did for my blog using my computer’s internal microphone.

I know how to do that with a corporate IP telephone system, but I’m guessin’ that’s not what you did. What, in detail, did you do?

Audacity is not a good choice to record Skype or other chat or conference system. Audacity and The Conference System fight for mastery of the computer’s audio channels. If the Conference System, wins, Audacity could do what yours did.


Nothing fancy at all, I put my iPhone on speaker next to the computer’s built in microphone. It’s so basic which is why I’m confused! I’ve done it several times before with no issue. Figured it was gone but thought it was worth a try and want to prevent it from happening again.

I wondered why more people don’t do that. Is this the first time out? Do you do this all the time and this one happened to fail?

Do you still have the meeting in Audacity? File > Export as a WAV (Microsoft). Then Save an Audacity project. I know the natural inclination is to Export it as an MP3, but that can hide some of the symptoms in the MP3 compression distortion.

What number Audacity are you using? Which machine is it? SSD or spinning metal drive?

Yosemite has a thing where it tries to go to sleep to save battery whenever possible and you can register an application to not do that. That’s getting a little beyond me because I don’t have Yosemite.

If you already saved and exported, does it still do it? If you start a recording of room noise does it cut in and out? When was the last time you restarted? Do you get the chong when you do?

When you restart, do you get the spinning beachball of death before the machine stops or does it take a really long time to shut down? Do you use Chrome or FireFox browsers?

Do you keep like a billion things on your desktop?

Anything in here?


Yes, I’ve done this many times without error. I always export as AIFF but just tried WAV as well and no change.

I’m using Audacity 2.1.2 and am on an early 2015 13-inch MacBook Air running Yosemite 10.10.5. I’m 100% sure it didn’t go to sleep during this recording, but I just looked in my preferences and it had ‘put hard disks to sleep’ selected so it’s deselected now.

I restarted the day before this recording and it’s a very healthy computer. No issues at all. I have 2 Word documents on my desktop and made sure no other programs were running before I started the recording.

Re: the link: update display while playing was checked - I just unchecked and will do a test recording later today.

Thanks for your help!!

I’m 100% sure it didn’t go to sleep

Not that kind of sleep. Computers waste tons of time, for example, waiting for you to press a key. In battery systems, it pays well to shut down the processor between keystrokes.

This doesn’t work for sound management.

I need to look up how to register applications so they don’t do that.

MacBook Airs don’t have spinning metal hard drives, so it doesn’t matter if you stop them spinning or not, My MBA says clearly in About This Mac that it has SSDs Solid State Drives.

I like to keep the Audacity display updating during recording (but not editing). I don’t think that’s what’s doing the gaps. I wonder if they were visible during the recording.

I’ve been known to listen to the Mac during recording even though the Playthrough sound is late and echoey. It still doesn’t guarantee a recording, but it guarantees Audacity got the sound, turned it around and fed it back to you.

And then there’s the delightful prospect of a one-time-only event. I had one of those on an important recording (on a MacBook Pro, not an Air). Audacity took a mind to record the sound in split segments, like you chopped the recording up into little segments, but then got the order wrong when you put it back together. I was after content, not quality, so I was able to piece it back together. Only happened once.

If the work is reeely, reeely import, double record it. I have an Olympus stand-alone sound recorder that works in CD-Quality WAV. My one and only broadcast radio shoot, the production interviewee brought his own recorder in addition to mine.


I understand I’m the odd duck. I also have a Zoom H4 stand-alone recorder and two MacBook Pros in various stages of advanced old age, but whose microphones still work. Can’t have too many recorders.


Can you post the damaged show somewhere? You can only get about 2MB on the forum. Sometimes we can inspect the damage and get more information.


If you mean App Nap, Koz, right-click or CTRL-click over, Get Info, and enable the “Prevent App Nap” checkbox.


That’s it.
In general, I like the result of this effort.

Oh, right. It’s Sunday, time to back up and charge the MBA. I’m not a heavy field user and I shut down WiFi and BlueTooth when not in use. That goes a very long way to preserve battery life. The machine tries to maintain contact with a viable WiFi point even when it’s asleep.

If I let it do that…

Login > 10% battery remaining !@#$%^

iPods will do that, too.