Sudden audio distortion

Hi all,

I am using Audacity

I am an editing (an audio track for a podcast) of 3 different mp3 files aligned together, and Mixed Stereo Down to Mono.

The track is around 50 minutes long. I have been editing every slight imperfection, pause and stutter. Zero problems and perfect audio quality for 45 mins, but as I reached the end, suddenly, the audio sounded incredibly crackly and staticy. Not just the final 5 mins- now when I listen back at any point of the track the entire thing sounds corrupted. This seems to have happened completely out of nowhere and I would greatly appreciate any help.

So if this happened to me, I would immediately do a “File > Save Project > Save Project As” and save the entire project as a new, separate Project. Then I might see if rebooting corrected the problem. I would also update Audacity to 2.4.2.

You might consider “Lossless Project.” Those are a bit more robust and stable in times of great stress.


What’s the possibility you ran out of room? Audacity doesn’t edit MP3. It converts MP3 to uncompressed filetypes and then reconverts them to Audacity’s super high quality internal file type. So those tracks are a lot bigger than you think they are.

Further, each time you perform some types of edit, Audacity tries to save the whole show for use later as UNDO. You see where I’m going with this? Your show will be amazingly large inside the machine while you’re working on it. I think you just ran out of room, either hard drive or on-board memory.

How many other things do have have running? Do you have a Zoom session back there waiting for a call? Other applications?

You can also run into troubles by using MP3 files at all. They don’t have clean stop and start points. There are a lot of complaints on the forum about making MP3 edits line up. Maybe they don’t.

MP3 files have sound distortion and you can’t stop them. One MP3 can sound fine, but if you make an MP3 from an MP3, you might be able to hear compression distortion. By the third one, the distortion may kill the show.

Use WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit for production.