Saving files

Thanks in advance for your patience - I’m just getting started in the audio book narration world, and I have some pretty basic questions. If this one has already been answered, please point me to the relevant post. Cheers!

Saving files: what’s a good system? Here’s what I’m doing now, and it’s getting confusing.

  1. Record a chapter.
  2. Save it in Audacity, something like this: 1_BookTitle_raw.aup
  3. Export the raw recording as a .wav file: 1_BookTitle_raw.wav
  4. Edit the recording in Audacity, using the .aup file. Save this as 1_BookTitle_ed.aup
  5. Export the edited recording as a .wav file: 1_BookTitle_ed.wav
  6. Perform mastering chain on edited recording in Audacity, using the .aup file. Save this as 1_BookTitle_mc.aup
  7. Export mastered file into .wav format: 1_BookTitle_mc.wav
  8. Export mastered file into .mp3 format: 1_BookTitle_mc.mp3
  9. Upload the .mp3 file to ACX

First of all, is that too many steps? Am I creating unnecessary files?

And secondly, when I make changes in an .aup file, export the changed version as a .wav file, and then go to close the .aup file, it asks if I want to save changes to the .aup file. I’ve been selecting “No” because I don’t want to override that .aup file (in case I want to go back and have access to the version that existed prior to the most recent change), but on one occasion I selected “No” and when I went to upload the file to ACX, there was nothing there (just a recording of silence). Thankfully I was just able to go back to the previous version, but still, it confused me.

I’m looking for a basic step-by-step process that I can use for all of my projects so that I can easily find what I need. Thanks so much!

The general rule in making backups, is to backup things that will be very expensive (either in time or money) to recreate.

So backing up the original recording is an obvious one.

If your editing process is a long one then backing up the edited version is probably also a good idea. I don’t know enough about how audacity works to say for sure but it might be that simply backing up the .aup file is sufficient to save the edit. In any case the .aup file plus all the supporting files would be better than just making a .wav copy of the edit. That way if you loose (or totally screw up) the active version you can go back to where you were and continue editing, instead of just having an edited file.

If your processing steps are easily repeated then I wouldn’t bother to make a backup of the result.

You are not saving an AUP sound file, although I know that’s what it looks like. You are saving an Audacity Project. The AUP file is the project manager (it’s a text file) and it manages all the sound bits in the _DATA folder of the same name. The AUP file and the _DATA folder have to be in the same place or folder for the show to open. Double click on the AUP file and it will open Audacity and unscramble all that stuff in the _DATA folder.

_Do not change the names of either the AUP file or the DATA folder or separate them in different parts of the computer.

An Audacity Project preserves multiple sound tracks and layers, labels and other editing stuff. It Will Not Save UNDO. Once you close an Audacity Project, that’s the end of UNDO until next time you open the show and make more.

I typically only deal with the live portion of a recording, but I have WAV Exports of everything I’ve shot live. Nobody is going to like writing a check to have an actor read a performance over again because I didn’t keep high quality backups of the performance and the edit room lost their copy.

At the end, I would probably export a “final” WAV and then burn the ACX MP3 from that. So the archive would be two WAV files, before and after, or Raw Shoot and Client Deliverable.

Archive (upper case “A”) is in two different places. Not one and not three. Two. I sometimes literally send Backup 2 to my sister in Schenectady for safekeeping. I keep Backup 1 here in LA.

MP3 should never be used in production even though that’s what ACX is doing. MP3 creates sound damage and you can minimize it, but not stop it.

Please note that ACX demands a higher MP3 quality (192) than the Audacity default (128). Quote them:

… be a 192kbps > or higher > MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR) at 44.1 kHz

In the middle of production it gets fuzzy. The obsessive may save a Project with a new filename every so many minutes. That’s not a dreadful idea. There’s also a project hierarchy for sequential saving I don’t completely understand.

Some of it is going to depend on how much storage you have.

Projects are more brittle than WAV files. There are people whose Project just won’t open or is so damaged that the sound is not recoverable. Few people ever claim their WAV file won’t open. So there is that.


I am trying to name my chapters as required by ACX.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
Audacity will not let me use the : in the title.
But this is required by ACX.

Please help

The colon character is a “reserved character” on Windows and must not be used in file names.

Not according to this page:
and I’ve not seen that in any of ACX’s official documentation (