Waveform missing

I am running OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite. I updated Audacity to from version 2.0.6 to 2.1.0 but found that when opening a music file with the new version, the waveform is missing - a progress bar indicates opening of the file but the waveform window remains grey. I rolled back to Audacity 2.0.6 and now it’s working fine again. Does anyone has an idea why I cannot see the waveform with Audacity 2.1.0 ?

Do you have a Retina Mac, by chance?

Is it an M4A/MP4 or other Apple format? If so, it’s a bug in 2.1.0 but you can add FFmpeg to your computer to work around it. See Audacity 2.1.0: FFmpeg required for MP4/M4A/MOV/ALAC import.


Hi cyrano, hi gale,
no, this is not a Mac with retina display, cyrano (actually, the machine dates from early 2008). I guess it’s like Gale wrote - a bug in the new version. So I’ll continue to use 2.0.6 and wait for the update fixes to 2.1.0. Thank you for your feedback, guys! I appreciate your great work - keep it up!
Best wishes!

One more for Gale:
Gale, to answer your question: yes, I wanted to convert m4a to mp3. I am not all too familiar with ffmpeg and the last time I used it I found it cumbersome and it gave me a headache…I’ll wait for the fix.

It’s not like using ffmpegX if that is what you are thinking of? If you download and run the FFmpeg installer and restart Audacity then 2.1.0 should be able to import M4A again.

You can also convert M4A to MP3 in iTunes: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_exporting_to_itunes.html#conversion.

We already fixed the problem anyway, so the fix will be in 2.1.1 when released.


This is definitely a problem in 2.1.0 as it is also happening to me. Importing a .m4a file in 2.0.6 causes the progress bar to show up (and pre-fill early) but the waveform does show up, whereas in 2.1.0, after the progress window is done, the Audacity display window just sits there blank, as if nothing happened, and no waveform appears.

This doesn’t happen with mp3s, those still work fine in 2.1.0.

Yes, as Gale Andrews wrote in this post https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/waveform-missing/38490/3 it is a known issue.
The issue and a workaround is noted in this sticky topic: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/audacity-2-1-0-ffmpeg-required-for-mp4-m4a-mov-alac-import/38209/1

What about the progress bar that fills early for large m4a files? That bug has still been around since (perhaps earlier than) 2.0.6…

Example: Export the audio track of the following to a single .m4a file:


It’ll be about 100 MB. Try importing it, either using 2.0.6 or 2.1.0. The progress bar during import fills to the brim after one second, yet the import continues for another minute (on my dual core Mac). This issue does not exist for smaller .m4a files.

Thanks, yes that problem is logged here: http://bugzilla.audacityteam.org/show_bug.cgi?id=919.

If you are a developer please feel free to submit a patch.


Hi all,
thank you all for your helpful input! I appreciate your concern and advise and the great work you’re doing!
Best wishes