Trouble importing audio from server

I have a classroom of 20 PC’s with audacity loaded on each machine. Some of the computers can download MP3 and WAV files while others cannot. The computer seems to identify the file, goes through its conversion process but shows the import as a flat line with no sound. Any thoughts about why some computers cannot import files?

Thank you

Are you trying to import the files from a remote server?

Yes. The files the kids store on a remote server. The odd thing is that 2 computers that are sitting next to each and imaged the same way, one will import the files and work in audacity and the other will not.

Audacity is not “network comfortable” and doesn’t understand transmission delays and collision detection. Any way you can transfer the work to each local machine and open it from there?


Go to: “Edit menu > Preferences > Import/Export” and check that the first option, “make a copy of uncompressed audio files before editing (safer)”, is selected, and in
“Edit > Preferences > Warnings”, un-tick the final option “importing uncompressed audio files”.

With those setting, Audacity “should” be able to import files from the network, but as koz suggested, it is much safer to copy the file to the local machine first and then import it into Audacity from there.

Identical hardware? Or different Ethernet or Wifi chipsets?

Also, it would be a big help if you could tell us the precise Windows version. And maybe the server’s OS version too?

I don’t think that the networking hardware is likely to be an important issue here, though I note your point that the PCs may not actually be “identical”, and it is generally useful that people state the operating system version and the exact Audacity version that is being used (which is why we request this information in the pink box at the top of the forum page).

I suspect that the most probable scenario is that the problem is due to “on demand” loading of WAV files, though there are many things that can go wrong. In short, Audacity is not designed to work over a network.

I agree, Steve, that there are other things to look at.

But I’ve been using “audio over ethernet” for many years and I’ve seen such oddities in building systems. For instance, for Ethernet AVB, only a small handful of ethernet chips are aware of the QOS settings needed. And even if you’re just transferring files over smb or nfs, chipsets do differ. So, especially since Audacity doesn’t handle those network cases graciously, it’s interesting to know if it’s the same hardware because OS is imaged, so we can exclude software problems IF the hardware is different.

If not, I’ll shut up, of course. :laughing:

If an uncompressed file is “OD loaded” over a congested network (typical of school / college environments), then there WILL be problems, regardless of the hardware being used. The solution is simple: copy the files to the local computer (it does not matter how long that takes provided that the files are transferred without corruption) and use the copied files on the local hard drive. We don’t need to burden pmiz with checking chipsets or network protocols, and I doubt that it would be of any practical benefit for pmiz to do so.

My expectation is that if pmiz follows the recommendations that I made here, the problem will disappear (which I expect is pmiz’s primary concern).

What’s “OD loaded”?

I tried Googling, but it insists it has to do with guns…

“On Demand” loading.
It’s the “faster” option when importing uncompressed files (

Audacity already copies MP3 files in, so there is no Audacity setting that will help if MP3 files also don’t import on some machines.

QoS settings (which determine which packets are prioritised) may be of some relevance here, and can usually be prioritised by application in server OS’es, as well as (obviously) by IP address. pmiz would have to discuss that with the school/college IT Manager.



Thank you for all your advice. I found the simplest solution is to identify the computers that will import files and let the kids sign on to those machines. Although Audacity might not be network friendly, it does work on the network.

Thanks again for all of your help.