Track Sample Format Changes Upon Save

When I open a .mogg file, the sample format for each track is 16-bit PCM. When I save the project for the first time as an Audacity file, the sample format for each track stays at 16 bit-PCM. But when I close the project and reopen it, the sample format for each track reads 32-bit float. Is the program converting these 16-bit audio files to 32-bit upon saving? Is this some sort of an error?

Audacity does everything internally at 32-floating. It converts twice, once in and once again out. Some of the filters, effects and tools will destroy the show if we didn’t do that. Audacity is not a WAV editor.

OK I think I understand, but why, then, would it indicate that the individual tracks are 16-bit “files” to begin with? What is 16-bit about them? Sorry but I still don’t understand why this information changes upon saving and reopening a project.

The sample format indicated on the Track Control Panel is not the actual sample format of the file. It indicates the resolution at which Audacity imports the file into a project.

OGG can only be represented by Audacity as 16-bit when imported. Once imported as lossless PCM audio (similar to WAV), the resolution can be expanded to 32-bit float. This happens temporarily whenever audio is processed (to maintain quality), and explicitly if you save the project and then re-open it with “Default Sample Format” in the Quality Preferences set to 32-bit float.


Did you notice there is no “Clip INFO” tool? Every time we request one, we’re told that the information is irrelevant because none of that data is ever carried forward into the final show.

I’m trying to remember the sequence. The show opens up in the higher of two resolutions; the Project or the clip. So if you open a 16 bit clip in a 32 project, the panel will say 32. If you open a 16 show in a 16 project, the panel will say 16, but really be in 32.

I could have that backwards.


Told by whom? Who is “we”?

At the moment there are these choices in Feature Requests:

  • File information within file open dialogue: (2 votes)
  • Status Bar: Original file data: (13 votes) Track Panel information gives current resolution/sample rate but the data for the original files in the project is wanted too: sample rate, sample format, bit rate, file format, VBR/CBR and so on
    –>“Official answer”: Easy for a single track referring to a single file, not so easy for multiple files and tracks that don’t relate to files e.g. recordings. It would seem this would need to be a dropdown?

How does your clipinfo tool work? Is it different to those ideas?

I see these in Pending Feature Requests. Some of them look like Koz (or already are):

Media INFO I imported a clip into Audacity. What was it? What was the format? Filesize? Where is File > Media INFO? (plus 1 vote)

Media Inspector:I so want to say: “Launch File > Media Inspector and Audacity will tell you the file type and other info of your clip.” - see this forum thread: >
Koz adds: Audacity is way too cavalier with music file characteristics. You can’t easily tell when it’s messing with a file at either end of an edit – in or out – and it’s a better than even chance that the music in the middle is wacky as well. It has apparently contradictory information windows and I just thought it would be a nice change – a shock probably – if Audacity stopped the shenanigans for a minute and told it like it was.
Steve: I think it would be useful to have a tool integrated in Audacity for analysing file types, but is that what you are suggesting Koz? In your example, you start with “-- Clip#1 --” so I assume that you mean the format of audio that has already been imported, in which case I’m unsure why the user would need that information as the information that is relevant to the Project is already displayed.
Bruno: I must agree with Steve… After importing a file to audacity, unless it’s a WAV, it no longer links to the original file and the original format is “gone”. I think that info would be of some interest in the import window only.

Note that having this information in file open/import windows doesn’t help when using File > Recent Files to import the file, or dragging it in.

So tell me where you want the media information displayed and I can remove a few more lines from Pending Feature Requests…


As no-one commented further I deleted those Pending Feature Requests and added two votes in Feature Requests for a new menu item “File > Media File Information: Separate window that displays full audio characteristics of any file that has been imported into the project”. I added one vote for “File information within file open dialogue”.