I’m an old Audacity user, I use it a lot since 2009. There were many bugs, many freezes, but Audacity nowadays had been rock solid to me, and it had been very resourceful.
But the last version (3.0.0) removed one of the most useful options to save and archive finished projects: Save project as a compressed data. I’ve got exactly 377 podcast episodes saved into my HD, spending almost 68 Gb. If I save an episode using the .aup3 format, it would spend much more space - the last episode uses 1,2 Gb in aup3 format, and each episode spends only 185 Mb of disk space.
So, I’ll need to export all tracks in OGG (or FLAC) format, in order to be archived in a zip file. It’s a drawback. I hope the Audacity team reconsiders this decision in the future, and in the next release, maybe Audacity can save projects as compressed data again.
Ricardo - Linux user since 1998, Audacity user since 2009.
I read that line in the manual and I don’t understand why that’s in the manual because we’re talking apples and oranges. The Audacity devs are really, really smart so they must know better than to suggest that as a reasonable alternative.
Audacity puts its data in AU files (I’m presuming v3 still does). Those are lossless files.
The old “Export Compressed Copy” would convert the au files to lossy OGG files. Yes, a bit of quality was technically lost but it was imperceptible to my ears.
This down-converting to the lossy format would turn a 3GB file into a 300MB file.
Now you talk about using a ZIP utility…ZIP takes files and looks for repeated parts to shrink them. ZIP has different results based on file type. Take a nice TXT file–ZIPping it will make it maybe 5% of the original size. But ZIP doesn’t work worth a dang when dealing with multimedia file types. AU. MOV. WAV. JPG. Zipping these files gains only a few percent of disk space…and takes forever to do.
So – real-world time.
I have a 75 minute file. The AUP3 is 2.3GB.
Using Audacity 2.4.1 to export as a compressed file. It took about 10 minutes on my Surface Book 3. The output was 98.4MB. That is a 95.5% reduction in file size.
Taking the AUP3 file and ZIPping it also took about 10 minutes on my Surface Book 3. The output file was 2.15GB. That is an 8% file size reduction.
Yes, the ZIP is lossless…but it’s also impossibly huge to share.
See why the ZIP suggestion is useless and the “Save compressed copy” needs to be reinstated?
Not exactly. Audacity 3.x writes “blobs” into the database rather than “au” files into a folder.
Implementing the old style (OGG) compressed project is complicated for the new AUP3 format. For one thing, the maximum size of a blob is 1 GB (default, with an absolute limit of 2 GB). While that is plenty big enough for most projects, it shouldn’t blow up if someone is working with a huge project. Implementation must cover edge cases as well as common use.
I expect that it is possible to implement (lossy) compressed AUP3 projects, and to implement it better than the old format, but it not straightforward and will probably require a significant amount of developer time (plus testing and documentation). That’s basically why it hasn’t been implemented in 3.0.0.
Audacity 3.0.1 will be released soon, and because it is such a short release cycle there will be few if any new features in it (just fixes and enhancements based on user feedback from 3.0.0).
The single file format is much better suited to sharing and sending to others than the old “pile of files” format, so I’m hoping it won’t be too long before we get lossy compressed AUP3 projects, but don’t hold your breath - it will require a lot of work.