static/distortion on export?

My recording sounded perfect in Audacity, but then when I exported it as either an mp3 or wav, the beginning sounded staticky. This lasts about 5 seconds then disappears. Any thoughts? Thank you

Do you still have the Audacity project? If so, does it (still) play OK? In particular, does the beginning sounded “staticky” and is the lasts about 5 seconds there?
What program are you using to play the exported file?
If you import the file into a new Audacity project, does it still have the same problem with distortion and the last 5 seconds missing?

Exact same problem here. Audio is fine in Audacity but when I export it as a .wav the first 5 seconds have a giant buzz. It has happened with several different files and now it seems to happen on every export.

How long are the shows?

Where are you getting the shows from and what are the shows?

What happens if you open one of the damaged shows in Audacity? Does it play OK?

We’re not interested in fuzzy generalities we need very specific answers. Are you both on Macs? What kind? Which OS? Are you both using Audacity 2.0.3?


Does the problem seem to be anything like described here ?

In other words, are there multiple tracks and some of the tracks don’t start at time zero or some/all of the tracks have multiple clips separated by space? Is the distortion where the clips do not overlap? If so, does generating a bit of silence at the start of the track then Tracks > Mix and Render solve the problem?

Can either of you attach a five seonds sample WAV file? See for how to do this.


Hi Gale,

I am having a similar problem. I have Dropboxed a zipfile with a workspace and multiple botched outputs. I read the other post you hyperlinked but didn’t glean much from it.

Here’s the link:

Thank you MUCH!

Thanks for the file. You do seem to have a similar layout (multiple tracks not starting at time zero 0.0) which has been suggested could lead to distortion. However I have never found a problem even on Mac (I tried your project there).

In this case the tracks and the MP3’s included seem to be voice distortion effects so you must expect distortion in the exported file. The WAV export sounds the same as the project to me.

Which tracks are you trying to export from the project - all but the bottom two muted tracks?

If the problem is the distortion from about 40 to 70 seconds due to the combined volume of the tracks being too loud, click in turn in each track that plays in that time period then hold SHIFT and press G to open the Gain Slider for that track. Turn the gain down on each track by the same number of dB. Then play the result and look at the green playback meters to make sure the red clipping lights at the end of the meter bars do not come on. If they still come on, turn down the gain more on each track.

If you drag each track down by the horizontal line dividing the tracks, then you can change the gain slider in real time while you play. Note the VoiceOvers track is too loud (brings on the clipping indicators) even played on its own.

If there is some additional distortion in the export that is not already in the project as intended, try Tracks > Mix and Render before export as others have suggested (though I don’t see why that should make any difference). Edit > Undo the Mix and Render if needed.



Attached is a screen shot of the problem I’m having.(File sounds fine in Audacity, then when I export it as .wav it has a bad buzz for the first 5 seconds. The photo shows the exported .wav opened in Audacity.) It started when I was using Ver. 2.0.2. I just updated to 2.0.3 and it’s the same. I’m using OS 10.7.5. I think I’ve just found a work-around: If I mix and render, THEN export, it looks and sounds fine.
buzz.tiff (87.2 KB)

Hi Gale,

Regarding the file submitted earlier. That one is from an earlier project that had a lot of intended distortion. For WHATEVER reason, this morning, I couldn’t replicate the problem (I’m about to start working on sound effects so we’ll see what happens and I’ll let you know).

I’ve dropboxed another file. This is an MP3 exported from the project I linked to you earlier with every track but the clock track deleted. The ONLY sound I should hear is

“tick tick tick tick tick”

and for the first 5-7 seconds I hear

“tick ZAP ZAP ZAP tick ZAP ZAP tick ZAP”

Here’s another example from the project I’m working on right now (opens in 23 hours). This is supposed to sound like a simple voicemail on an old-school answering machine. I’m sorting out some confusion on voiceovers that’s unrelated to Audacity freaking out, and once I make sure I am sending you the right workspace to go along with the errors, I’ll dropbox the one I’m currently working on.

I was able to move my good audio past the noise, but then I made a gain change in one of the tracks (not an effect, gain on the left of the track), and the noise became longer (15 seconds) and overtook my work again!

I am using a Macbook running OSX 10.6.8, 2.2GHz core 2 duo, 4GB RAM. When I was having the issue I rebooted the computer, disconnected every external peripheral including power input, and did not start any applications before attempting an export…same problem.

Hi Gale,

Please note that Mixing and rendering tracks did NOT solve the problem for me.


Hey Everyone,

I think I’ve just had a breakthrough with isolating the bug in my particular case. My workspace included MUTED TRACKS with unrendered changes which appear to not be touched by the mix & render function. This is why mix & render wasn’t fixing my problem…when it was fixing other users’.

Here’s a dropbox link to a workspace and an export with the problem. When I unmute the first and fourth tracks in the workspace, Mix and render, and then re-mute and export…the problem goes away.

Thanks Everyone and especially Gale! I could never have figured this out without your help.


Hi Stevan,

A user who was having a problem with similar-sounding distortion was found to have a track that had invalid (NaN) sample values, but exporting or converting the track to 16-bit would solve the problem as long as dither was enabled for High-Quality sample conversion. However the clock track MP3 you cite above does not have invalid sample values, nor can I reproduce a problem if I export an MP3 from that project (with dither on or off). So I must assume the cause of your problem was different.

Thanks very much for the link, but I cannot reproduce a problem with that project either, even if I unmute all the tracks then export to MP3 or AIFF (with dither on or off).

Note that muted tracks are rendered, but unselected tracks are not.

If the problem recurs, please let us know. If it does, you could try resetting Audacity preferences .


Since export essentially does the same as Mix and Render, I don’t see a very obvious reason for that. The render may help the project to play without stutters, but shouldn’t make the exported file any different.

Does the information above about dither help to explain anything? Do you have Dither “on” in Quality Preferences (under High-Quality Conversion)?

Is the source audio a recording from Soundflower, or from somewhere else?