Subtract a Feature..or Two

We know from casual inspection of the chaos it causes that Audacity will sometimes open up and run under the wrong operating system. Yes, it does. Trust me on this. That should never, ever happen.

A cousin of that problem is Audacity should never, ever open a sound format it doesn’t completely understand. “How come my five minute sound file flies by in fifteen seconds and sounds like a scared chipmunk?”


I don’t understand what you mean.

Some formats do not contain enough information to tell Audacity exactly what they are, or may have an incorrect file extension. It can be very useful to be able to open these, whether or not Audacity can guess the format correctly. I had a 24 bit wav file recently that Audacity could not automatically identify, and was pleased to be able to use “Import > Raw Data” (with the appropriate settings) to access the file.

<<<“Import > Raw Data” >>>

That’s very different from…

Open > music.wmv

Sure, no problem!

<<<I don’t understand what you mean.>>>

There is an Intel version of Mac Audacity and there is a Motorola version. One of them will open and seem to run on the wrong computer creating all sorts of “magic” problems. The problem we see most is downloading and installing the correct lame and have it fail because the actual Audacity is wrong. A programmer wrote in and was stunned that Audacity could do that–for a while he flat didn’t believe me–so somebody had to go to great effort to produce that effect.

Stop it.


Don’t you get this:
But perhaps it would be better if the “Import” and “Open” dialogues defaulted to “All supported formats” rather than “All Files”.

OK, I see (not a Mac user).

The ability to open up questionable files has saved me a few times. Once, i had accidently deleted some files, and only portions of the audio were recoverable. I was able to rescue these files with Audacity, even though no other program would open them.

<<<Don’t you get this:>>>

Version creep? I haven’t been paying attention to which forum has all the problems, but it could be 1.2. I’ve never had this problem because I set the OS to show me filename extensions and I know which types are acceptable. But I can point to a number of people who got nasty surprises.


I have no objection to Importing oddball, strange and damaged filetypes. I agree completely that can be a very handy thing. However straight “Open” like my mom is likely to use should never open trash and give the impression that everything is OK. It’s frequently not OK and sometimes the damage doesn’t show up until hours of work later.