Recording length

Hello everyone,

I have a Mac with El Capitain, using Audacity 2.1.2. (installed with .dmg). We’re using Audacity everyday to record the amount of time our dog barfs. We’re making recordings of 6 to 7 hours each day. We’re having two types of problems:

  1. Sometimes the lengt of our recording is only 2 hours (instead of 6 to 7 hours we normally record). The beginning (leaving the house) and the end (coming home) are always recorded. We think the recording stops in the middle and starts recording again after a while, but we don’t know how this happens because it doesn’t happen every day (we don’t change preferences).

  2. When we export the recordings of 6 hours to .mp3/.mp4/.wav, the audio file is only 1 hour long, we never have the full recording when we export it.

Anyone who has had the same problems and knows a solution?

Thanks in advance!

There is a setting where Audacity will only record if the performance loudness goes up. Preferences > Recording… I think. I’m not at a computer to look it up.

WAV has a limit for long recordings. Are you sure it happens with MP3?

You have a serious problem with diagnosing this because you have no way to know what part of the show gets left out.


We didn’t use the setting to only record when there are sounds, 'cause some days the full 6 hours are recorded and some days it’s only a few hours.

I’ll check the MP3 file again!

Thanks for your answer.

Here it is.
Audacity > Preferences > Recording > Sound Activated Recording.

I picked that because of the erratic nature of your symptom. If the neighborhood quiets down in the middle of the day and the dog doesn’t spit up, the whole middle of the recording would be missing. There are relatively small number of symptoms like you have which will not cause Audacity to outright fail.

Did you turn off Screen Saver and Energy Saver in Apple > Preferences? Audacity doesn’t do well when Audacity steps on sound services and they’re napping.

I sometimes take the problems backwards. If somebody paid me to make a computer do what yours is doing, how would I do it. That’s a good way.

WAV has an internal limit of 2GB and 4GB (depending on how you count). It sometimes gets to its limit and starts over. So you only get the last chunk of the show rather than the whole thing. That’s one reason not knowing exactly what content is missing is deadly. That puts us in cosmic rays and witchcraft territory.


We didn’t try to turn off the sleep mode, so that’s a good thing to try. Although that doesn’t explain why some days the full 6 hours are recorded, because the computer would have gone in sleep mode as well. The recordings of 6 hours have silence parts too, so that’s why I doubt that setting is on.

We’ll try the sleep mode definitely on Monday. Thanks for the tip, I hope this is the problem :wink:

turn off the sleep mode, so that’s a good thing to try.

And Energy Saver. Don’t leave that one out.

The recordings of 6 hours have silence parts too, so that’s why I doubt that setting is on.

See, it’s darn good to know that when we’re struggling for clues.

Although that doesn’t do anything for me. I’m almost out of ideas.

…Here’s one. Where are you saving the work? Under certain conditions, Audacity will try to put sound work in the wrong place in your Mac. Try changing the save location to your desktop.

My next step would be send you off to check your hard drive for stability. I know this is a standing joke, but you did try to shut down and restart the machine, right? The Chong sound indicates the machine found no obvious errors at startup, so leave the speaker volume up a little.


Exactly what audio device you are recording with (make and model number)?

Also turn off App Nap. Right-click or CTRL-click the Audacity application, choose “Get Info” then put a tick (checkmark) in the “Prevent App Nap” box.


I know of no single failure that can cause all those symptoms. That’s why I’m going with a system failure.

It could also be doing multiple things wrong. Those are the most fun.

Not knowing what portion of the content failed just kills us.


Oh, and if I haven’t written these words yet, Audacity is not recommended as a surveillance recorder.

Older versions of Audacity would not go over 13 hours which was a gotcha for people wanting to record all day. Messy things can happen to computers that think they have been abandoned for extended periods. That is sometimes thought of as an error condition.