Why won't Audacity work on my recording?

What are some reasons for the following? “Algorithm not effective on this audio. Nothing changed.” I have Audacity version 21.1.2 and OS 10.11.6.

Audacity version 21.1.2

Audacity doesn’t make that version. Is that a typo?

Where did the show come from? Describe the recording.


I was about to tell you that you were wrong, but after checking I see that the version is really 2.1.2. The recording is of a 25-minute poem that I copied from an old LP.

There are bogus versions of Audacity that use very minor tweeks to the version number. It’s a red flag when somebody arrives with what may not be “real” software.

a 25-minute poem that I copied from an old LP.

Ah. At first pass I assumed you were having trouble opening a document. So you recorded it in Audacity and now you want to create a sound file.

What kind of sound file would you like to make?

Most people want to make an MP3 file at this step in the process. Beyond that it might not be the best sound format for top quality, you have to install the Lame software to make a new MP3.


Let me know if I’m close.


Well, you may be missing the main point. I am using Audacity because the sound quality of my recording is not good, and I want to improve it. That’s why I’m trying to use Audacity, to IMPROVE the quality of my recording. So, if Audacity tells me, “Algorithm not effective on this audio. Nothing changed.” what’s the point of using it? In case that’s not clear, it seems to me that Audacity is telling me that it cannot do anything with this recording. Okay, I’m not criticizing Audacity for not being perfect, but there’s no reason for me to use something that is telling me that they can’t and won’t do anything for me.

you may be missing the main point.

We can only go with what you tell us aided with lists of common complaints.

the sound quality of my recording is not good, and I want to improve it.

Cool. We can do that. Can you describe what’s wrong with it? Audacity has a rainbow of different tools to change the sound in different ways. We have to start somewhere.

Before we start messing with it, I think I would save a protection copy of the work. File > Export: WAV (Microsoft). Save it on your desktop. Name it without using punctuation marks except - and _. If you want dates, use the ISO format. Today is 2016-08-11.

It’s easiest for you to cut a short sound sample and post it here so we can inspect it.

How to post an audio sample:


I really don’t understand your position. It sounds as if you’re saying “Don’t believe what Audacity tells you.” However, strange as your request sounds to me, here is the file.

Don’t believe…what?

Audacity instructions are designed for a broad audience and covering as much as possible. You can crank through it all and eventually get there, or just post a sound file and it’s better than even chance one of the forum elves can just tell you how to fix it.

As we go.


There are elves who do vinyl corrections a lot better than I do, so I’m going to step back.


Was that a 78 by chance? Did you do the transfer with the special, broader 78 stylus and did you do the transfer at actual 78 RPM? There are ways to play the record at 33 or 45 with the wrong stylus and try to “clean it up later.” Not a good idea in my opinion. For one thing, the wrong stylus drags on the bottom of the 78 groove picking up extra noise, hiss and distortion that should not be there.


I recognise that message from the “Click Removal” effect. http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/click_removal.html

This is one of the oldest effects in Audacity, and it’s in need of updating because, to be honest, it’s not very good. The way that it corrects clicks works well, but it’s not very good at the harder part of the job, which is in detecting clicks. The message “Algorithm not effective on this audio. Nothing changed.” means that the effect did not detect any clicks, so the audio was not changed by the effect.

For other (better) ways to deal with clicks, see here:

If that is the best version that you have, then I doubt that it is possible to make significant improvement because the “damage” (loss of sound quality) due to MP3 encoding is clearly evident, and that can’t be fixed.

So Audacity was telling the truth. Well, that is disappointing, but thanks for your efforts. I’ll be printing all of the instructions as soon as my printer lets me (It has the very annoying habit of telling me that the printer is offline or can’t be found when it has just printed something else). I can’t say that I’m not disappointed, but I’ll just have to try some of the options you’ve mentioned; however, I know that I would not be capable of using many of the techniques without a great deal of frustrating and irritating practice. Well, there is also the physical approach, which is a lot easier, and I have already ordered the supplies for cleaning and buffing the record. I’ve also ordered a new needle. With a new needle, a rehabilitated record,and–maybe–Audacity, I should be able to reduce those clicks and pops to a considerable degree. Incidentally, the record is a 33-1/3rd, not a 78. In those days, there were 45s, 78s, 33-1/3rd, and even 16-2/3rds for very long playing records.

16-2/3rds for very long playing records.

Generally spoken word performances from the library.

If your needle and type of record already match, you’re probably not going to get the dramatic bump in quality solving a cross would give you. Cleaning is good.

When you get a pass and it’s reasonable (good levels), Export as WAV (Microsoft) right away as a backup. That’s a perfect sound format (unlike MP3) and will not add any sound damage. It’s also the Audacity default. Then run corrections and export another WAV as a sound master.

Then, if you really need to, export an MP3 for your personal music player or other application. If you have to do any more production or corrections, do it to one of the WAV files, not the MP3, and do it to a copy.


“If that is the best version that you have, then I doubt that it is possible to make significant improvement because the “damage” (loss of sound quality) due to MP3 encoding is clearly evident, and that can’t be fixed.”
I just noticed this, and I find it to be surprising and disappointing, even shocking. The file I sent is by no means the best file in existence, but it’s not THAT bad. It’s not very good, I admit but that’s why I want to fix it. If you say that Audacity can’t fix it, that’s a sad commentary on the value of Audacity. Can’t fix THAT file? Then what can Audacity fix, clicks that only a dog can hear? In my opinion, if Audacity can’t fix THAT file, then it is worthless. However, since you are assigning part of the blame to MP3, what about this one? It’s the same poem but in uncompressed WAV format. Can Audacity do anything with this? If not, it’s time to get out of the business.

Well, I couldn’t send it. It’s an uncompressed WAV audio file, and it’s 23.1 MB. I guess that’s too big to send. I could send it from DropBox, but how could I direct it to this corner of Audacity?

I’m saying that the damage caused by the “lossy compression” of MP3 encoding is impossible to fix, not only for Audacity but for any program at any price. This is why we stress the importance of working with high quality formats such as WAV, and leave lossy compression 'till the end of the process (if needed at all). Converting from WAV to MP3 loses quality, and there is no way to get that lost quality back.

You could post a short extract in WAV format (see: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-post-an-audio-sample/29851/1)

“5) Attach the file that you have exported to your Forum post.
Below the message composing box is an option to “Upload attachment”. Files larger than 2 MB cannot be attached to posts. If your file is larger than 2 MB you can use a free file sharing service and post a link to the file. For example:

Sometimes there’s a POST button and sometimes not. I’m glad there was one this time. Anyway, I now remember that you can send something through DropBox by sending the LINK. Duh! Does the quoted portion above supersede the other portions where it is stated that only short clips, such as 12-seconds, are acceptable? More to the point, would it be acceptable to send the entire 25-minute poem if it were to be sent by a LINK to DropBox?

The main point is that you need to export your original audio that you are trying to repair as WAV. Then it will be the same quality as what you are trying to repair.

We can accept a link to a Dropbox file of 25 minutes, but the problem is that it will be 250 MB in size (if stereo) or 125 MB if mono. It will probably be sufficient to give us a much shorter file that is representative of a section that you want to repair.

We can always ask for the complete file later if necessary.



Well, my file is 23.1 MB, not 125MB or 250MB. but since you would obviously be happier if I didn’t send the entire recording, I won’t belabor the point. I’ll send a much shorter sample.

If it’s 25 minutes it isn’t uncompressed WAV then.