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Home Studio Q&A:
'Why Is My Audacity Program
Crashing When I Record?'
 
By Dan Lenard
Voice Actor & Home Studio Master
Dear Home Studio Master,
 
I've been recording with Audacity and am utterly frustrated with a frequently occurring problem.
 
It usually happens after I've been recording for more than an hour or so, but if I record a short phrase, cut it and paste into the main track, the program freezes for a few seconds. The little 'thinking' wheel starts spinning and then the whole program crashes and I have to reload it. Aaaargh!!

Audacity definitely has to be constantly saved, saved, saved as you're working with it. When things like the above happen, you can lose a LOT of work and I know ,,, I learned the hard way!
WHY THE CRASH?
 
Hi,
 
Crashing on long recordings is not an exclusive Audacity problem.
 
Truth is, unless you've got a ton of RAM in your computer, you really shouldn't record beyond half an hour on anything - especially if you are recording at a high sampling rate (48kHz ,92kHz).
 
You should be recording at 44.1kHz. at 16 or 24 bit.
 
Lose ya? In other words, the higher the sampling rate, or the more information your computer records per wave cycle (the higher the sample rate, the higher the quality - sort of), the more space that information takes up on your hard drive ... and more importantly, your Random Access Memory (RAM).
 
BEST PRACTICE

Simply put, it's best to stop recording after half an hour or so.
 
Mark the file Part 1, Part 2 etc. Smaller files will allow your RAM to store it in one piece.
 
Otherwise, start storing your recording somewhere else, which takes up resources that your computer needs to do other things.
 
When you have a conflict of too much information and not enough resources to handle it, on a Mac, you get "The Spinning Beach Ball of Death."
 
PS: What kind of Mac do you have, and how much RAM do you have in it? If its less than 2 Gigabytes, that's your problem right there.
 
ABOUT DAN ...
 
Dan Lenard is a veteran radio personality, educator and voice talent - accredited by Society of Accredited Voice Over Artists (SaVoa), and serves on the SaVoa Advisory Board. As the Home Studio Master, he is a sought-after consultant - often solving problems by phone and email correspondence, and teaching in VoiceOverXtra webinars.
 
 
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