Will lossless songs edited with Audacity lose quality while exported in lossless with Audacity?

Hello everyone,
I’m new to this forum, so excuse me if I am not posting on the correct section.

It’s been a while now that I am using Audacity as an editing tool to edit my songs because I find it pretty easy to use & very user friendly. I have a question though.

If I try to edit a lossless song through Audacity & after editing, I export it in lossless format like (WAV, FLAC Level 8, etc), will it lose any quality while being exported with Audacity? The reason why I am asking is because I’ve checked with SPEK the same song before editing it & after the export, and I’ve noticed that the exported song has a more “highlighted” background than the original file (maybe some noise was added?). I’m not sure and I would like to get a professional feedback if possible please :slight_smile:

Yes it should be lossless. and “bit perfect” (To be 100% sure turn OFF dither.)

Of course you have to keep the same sample rate and bit depth, and of course any editing or effects/processing means the audio data is changed. :wink: But if you do something like cut-out a section, the remaining audio doesn’t have to be touched.

Dither IS added noise but it’s VERY low level so you don’t usually hear it. I’m not sure if it shows-up in SPEK.

FLAC is lossless (as long as the sample rate or bit depth are not changed.) The “level” tells it how much processing it uses to compress the file. A higher number gives you more compression (bigger files) and compression takes longer.

I’m not an expert but I think some of the levels have been consolidated and there may be no difference between 5 and 8.

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Hey, first of all, thank you very much for your reply :slight_smile: Appreciated!

Yes, I set “Dither” to NONE and it made the difference on Spek, now the files look the same after the export (no noise added in the background). Anyway, I believe that the level of added noise was that low that the difference is neglectable.

When you state “you have to keep the same sample rate and bit depth”, what does it mean? I didn’t change it anywhere. Also, the reasons I use Audacity to edit songs are like: remove any glitch in the beginning or ending of song, or when I use Fade out as an effect to the end of the song when they end abruptly.

Regarding “Level”, I use Level 8 for FLAC which seems to be the best level (or at least highest number in Audacity).


The sample rate is the number of samples per second in kHz or Hz. i.e. CD audio is 44.1kHz (44,100 samples per second). If you only open one file, Audacity will keep the original sample rate (although you can change it as the “project rate”).

The bit depth is the number of bits in each sample such as 16 or 24 bits, etc. CDs are 16-bits.

When you open a file, Audacity converts everything to 32-bit floating point (which can be converted losslessly back to 16 or 24-bits.) It does NOT remember the original bit depth. When you export you have to choose the bit depth.

You can check the format with MediaInfoOnline or you can download MediaInfo and run it on your computer.

Note that lossy files such as MP3 don’t have a bit depth because they don’t store individual samples. The bitrate (kilobits per second) is related to the amount of compression and a higher bitrate means less compression (bigger files) and usually higher quality.

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Thank you once again about the details :slight_smile: Yes, I am aware of both “Samples” and “Bit depth”.
Indeed, each time I export audio in lossless FLAC Level 8 format with Audacity, it is automatically exported in 16 bit depth, although it shows the option to select also 24 bit depth, but I’ve never seen 32 bit depth. Anyway, I always kept the suggested (default) value and never changed it. I am running Audacity 3.1.3 version. Will it decrease anything in quality if you manually choose 24 bit depth or vice versa?


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