Skip silence during playback

Is it possible to add a feature that allows silence to be automatically skipped during playback?

This feature should have the same ability to detect silence as the Truncate Silence effect (i.e. threshold & duration options).

I have multi-track recordings that relates to each other by time. During playback when I locate a portion of interest on one track, more often than not, the conversation will continue on another track. 2 ways I’m handling it now:
• Manually scroll to a waveform and play. When a portion of interest is located and continues on another track, load the other track and continue the manual scrolling playback from there. This ‘manual scrolling’ therefore requires constant input to manually skip the silence.
• Truncate Silence and play. When a portion of interest is located, undo Truncate Silence, try to find the waveform of the portion of interest, load the other track and continue from there. Truncate Silence, while good for final playback, removes the concept of time thereby making it difficult to find a corresponding portion in another track.

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Truncate Silence … removes the concept of time

Correct. It’s one of the ways Audacity is not a very good surveillance recorder. No time stamps.

You can use a surveillance system designed to do this job.


By default, (“Truncate tracks independently” NOT selected), if you apply Truncate Silence to multiple tracks at the same time, it will truncate silences that are common to all selected tracks, thus keeping the audio synchronised across all tracks.

Oh, do you have any software to recommend?

My multi-channel recorder has a software playback feature but it’s nowhere near Audacity capabilities and ease of use. Audacity is still pretty amazing. :smiley:

Haha, was expecting this to come up. Yes, I am aware of this feature and use it occasionally when saving to multi-channel audio files but it’s still not as good as the ability to skip silence during playback.

My multi-track recordings are not in a single file (i.e. not multiple channels in a single track; but single channel across multiple tracks).
I have a 32-track recorder that continuous outputs many audio files in 1h intervals to sub-folders separated by channel name and date.
It will be very tedious just to load all 32 tracks in Audacity.
Also the audio of interest tends to span only a subset of the 32 tracks (say 5-10). It starts on a particular track then switch to different tracks at certain point in time and I will only which track it jumps to and therefore which track to load next after hearing the audio (so the concept of time is important). If I Truncate Silence across all 32 tracks, there will be hardly any truncation at all; at best all the 1h audio files are reduced to 30 mins and therefore I still have to go through 30 mins of waveform and silence. But if I apply Truncate Silence on the first track of interest or if there is the ability to skip silence during its playback, this 1h audio can be processed in say 10 mins as that’s the actual duration of the audible waveform less the silence.

Oh, do you have any software to recommend?

I don’t. I have all I can do to keep up with this one.

Proper surveillance software or systems are usually money-based applications, so users not rolling in cash arrive on the forum wanting all the bells and whistles (time stamps, auto file save and resume, unattended file management, multiple timed recordings, etc.) at the Audacity price point.

I would want that, too.


There’s not much point creating an “Adding Features to Audacity” forum for a freeware if it’s going into this direction. :neutral_face:

This post is just a suggestion for a long time Audacity user. Not demanding anything. It’s more like if there is anything the developers like to hear from users, I hope this can be shared with them to at least be in the line up for consideration.

Audacity already have many bells and whistles that I find useful. Its extensive features is the reason I’m using it; not because it’s a freeware. It has so much more features than the software of the 32 track recording payware, a proper surveillance system with hardware and software, that I brought. I have used a number of audio editing software and I haven’t come across one that offers this “playback silence skipping” option but I’m now on the look out. A further thing that stands out with Audacity is having this active forum where individual users can easily communicate with Audacity (at least that’s what I hope/thought). It’s so hard to find such a feedback area especially in large less-nimble organisations that offer only money-based applications.

From a price point, yes, I am willing to pay should it come to the stage where Audacity charges for a “pro” edition or additional plug-ins (as long as it’s not exorbitant for an individual user). And pragmatically speaking it should be cheaper to pay for an upgrade or add-on to an already complete software, like Audacity, then to hunt for an entirely new “surveillance software or systems”.

Your suggestion will be logged, but new features should be discussed. If there’s a strong argument for why Audacity should have a feature, and if a lot of users request the feature, then it is more likely to happen. It’s unlikely that everyone will agree, and if there are two sides to the discussion then both sides should be aired.

Thank you very much for the consideration! Yup, understand that higher rated feature requests have higher chance of release and should be rightfully so. :slight_smile: