Running audacity 2.1.2 in two windows on Mac OS 10.13.4

I had two files open in two separate audacity windows. I was just experimenting, running by the seat of my pants to see if I could cut and paste from one waveform window to another. Which I could do but hadn’t yet got satisfactory results. And at this point I had not saved anything. But it seems I corrupted the file to which I was pasting content. Now when I open it in either audacity or itunes it sounds like two separate versions playing slightly out of sync.

I think this is in part an OS question, because 1) the date on the file in the audacity directory has not changed, and 2) when I opened the same file from the BACKUP hard drive it sounded the same. I suspect mac or audacity are using file pointers which are still going to the same file handle based on the file name . But I have now shut down twice with no effect. How can I flush the system completely and get back to my ‘not saved but somehow altered’ file?

Please upgrade to the latest version, 2.2.2, from here.
You must have saved something, since you can play the file in iTunes. When you import an audio file into Audacity it does not touch that file unless you specifically export to it.
So we need more details about the process you went through.
– Bill

I had a music file with a bad dropout and wanted to try patching the affected spot from another file in which that section of the music was intact. So I opened file 1 and from that audacity window selected “file/open” to open file 2. In doing this the second file came up in a new audacity window.

At that point I began a series of cut-and-pastes from file 2 into file 1. I would first cut the target section from file 1 and select a segment of file 2 of exactly the same length and paste that into file 1. After 3 or 4 attempts, always preceded by a rollback (undo) of the previous cut-and paste, I was auditioning the result and noticed the corruption I have described: It sounded like a merge of the two files which was not synchronized. Consequently I didn’t do a save.

Now, I understand what you say about not being able to play the file in itunes if I had not saved it, but by the same token if I had saved it – to the same file name – it would have changed the timestamp. No? The timestamp has remained unchanged throughout this experience. And I didn’t do an export of the file to my backup drive. I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would want to do that (i.e. outside a regular Time Machine process), but in any case up to this point the backup drive was not connected to the Mac.

I have had files sound like this previously, in cases where I had done some switching back and forth between Internal Speakers and Soundflower, and I suspected that was the kind of issue I was confronting – that somehow the Mac output was in an unstable state – and I have fixed this before by restarting audacity, or, if necessary, restarting the Mac. I MAY have done a Mac restart at this point, i.e. before I decided to check my backup file, but I am not sure. In any case, when I did connect the backup drive and opened the backup version of file 1, first in audacity and then in itunes, it had the same unsynchronized quality, even though I had, most certainly, done no writes to the backup drive. As a final check, to rule out a Mac file system or output device source of the problem, I copied the backup file to a flash drive, plugged the flash drive into a digital player and got the same garbled sound through my stereo system. (I should note that I had first copied the file to my downloads directory on the Mac before copying it again to the flash drive.)

Separate question: I have downloaded 2.2.2. I did a “quick and dirty” and now have two versions of the executable. (I was in a hurry and didn’t want any side-effects on my music directories.) The new version opens properly, and I was able to open a music file with it. Can I safely just delete the 2.1.2 version?

Ah geesh. It occurred to me that the simplest explanation for the circumstances I have described was if file 1 was corrupted all along. And I braced myself to feel stupid. But no, that couldn’t be because it sounded fine as I was trying to splice into it. Well, both things are true. It turns out that the file is goofed up (technical term) but only at the very beginning – for the first 40 seconds --while I was working on it 25 or so minutes in.

So the file was presumably already corrupted when I backed it up, which would remove the whole spooky “action at a distance” issue as well – i.e. given that the backup drive was not connected as I was doing my editing.

Just a brief background to this file. I recorded it from an on-demand web streaming service. (This was radio station based, btw, not a premium service.) I first exported the file as-is, and that became file 1. The next day, without closing the file in the meantime, I added track labels and did an “export multiple” to divide it into four separate movements. I then closed the complete version of the file without overwriting the original export with the track labels I had inserted.

So there is still a bit of a mystery as to what happened to the beginning of file 1 subsequently, as it retains the date and time of the initial export. The file for the first movement, which includes those first 40 seconds – and was created the next day – still sounds fine. I am listening to it now as I write.

Glad this was resolved. I’d still recommend upgrading to version 2.2.2.
– Bill

Yes, I downloaded 2.2.2, and have already made a recording with it. Apparently there is nothing more to the install than moving the executable to the applications directory?

As I noted in my last post, my main issues were indeed resolved, but do you have any idea, based on the actions I took in creating my file and then splitting it into separate tracks, what may have caused the partial corruption that did take place?

Yes, just replace the executable.

I have no idea how your file got corrupted.

– Bill