Talk:Splitting recordings into separate tracks
Update Plan - Peter 3Apr12
- Remove section on "Gapless Burning" as relevant material has recently been transferred to Manual>Burning ... CDs
- Remove section on "Extra notes about burning to CDs" as relevant material has recently been transferred to Manual>Burning ... CDs
- Actually I would recommend stripping out this tutorial altogether and leaving a landing point to encourage use of 2.x/current version and redirection to the parallel Manual tutorial. And probably a link to the SF legacy FAQ for 1.2 diehard?
- we really should be encouraging users to migrate to v2.x for this task where it is much easier
- handling labels in 1.2 is tortuous compared to 2.x
- Bill put a lot of thought into the original upgraded 1.3/2.x tutorial and it was refined by the editors - and IMO is a better, easier, read than this one
- this wiki tutorial adds nothing that the 2.x manual tutorial doesn't have, apart from 1.2 command structure and images
- the SF legacy tutorial would need updating as it includes a link back to this tutorial for "further details"
- Bill03Apr12: +1 for removing this from the wiki for all the reasons Peter lists
- Gale04Apr12: +1 for landing page linking to old FAQ/ current manual as elsewhere, But check with Steve if the info on cdrkit for Linux is wanted.
- Peter 4Apr12: When I deprecate this page, IFF Steve wants the Linux info. retained for the manual tutorial then I will temporarily also retain the Linux section in this Wiki tutorial until the release of 2.0.1
- Peter 4Apr12: Steve has added relevant information to the Manual's tutorial - and confirmed that the Linux setion here can be deprecated.
I have tried to follow the tutorial, and I've been patient, but using this app for "Splitting recordings into separate tracks" is truely painful. This is probably the fourth time in the past year or so Ive attempted to use Audacity for this and failed. It's just way too cumbersome and time consuming and unnecessarily complicated.
Here is a user story for you, do with it what you will.
User has created a digital file from an analog (say Vinly LP from one of those $99 turntable/digitizers) User wants to get individual songs from this recording into iTunes; User wants to be able to split up the one track into individual tracks quickly and easily because User is not a sound technician (or may be is a sound technician but doesn't want to spend all day doing this);
- As a user I want to be able to select a section of the recording to identify a sample "interval" between songs;
- As a user I want Audacity to use the 'interval sample' to position a temporary mark where it thinks each track should start;
- As a user I want to be able to inspect the position of each mark by quickly zooming-in close;
- As a user I want to be able to zoom-out quickly to see the position of all the other marks;
- As a user I want an easy way to listen to the area around the mark of each song to make sure i haven't cut off the start or end;
- As a user I want to be able to easily and quickly adjust the marks;
- As a user I want to be able to easily and quickly finalize song splits from the marks;
- As a user I dont want to be confused as to whether I've saved correctly,
- I just want to click 'save', browse to a directory, name a new folder and OK.
Best Wishes, Jacqui
- Gale 02 May 09: Don't know what Audacity (Beta) does not do out of that, except do it in one button press.
- If you are using Analyze > Silence Finder you don't need a "sample interval", just run it and it will place labels at the detected silences.
- "Quick zoom-in-and-back-out-to-where-you-were" is a problem with a lot of editors, but if you click and drag a selection in the track either side of your label you can press Space to play it, and CTRL + E to zoom so the selection fits the screen horizontally. Use SHIFT + left/right arrow to expand the selection, CTRL + SHIFT + left/right arrow to contract it. You can also press F4 to select Zoom Tool, then click repeatedly in the track to zoom in and right-click repeatedly to zoom out.
- You can drag labels along in Audacity Beta
- File > Export Multiple saves the multiple audio files at one go
- Don't know what "easily and quickly finalize" means, but if you used keyboard shortcuts you would probably get on much easier
easy means of splitting long concert recordings into separate tracks and burning a CD
I have an Alesis Masterlink ML 9600. I use this to record choirs and orchestras with long programs including 8-30 separate songs. There is a button "new track" that I can push at the end of one song to begin a net track for the next song. I can do this "on the fly" without pausing or stopping the recording. I cannot stop the recording, go through a multiple step process to get a new track without the possibility of missing the beginning of the next song. I can do all of the editing (levels, EQ, limiting, compression, fade in and outs, and gaps on one track, and paste them to all of the other tracks with a push of a button.) After the editing is done, I push a button "Create CD" and all of the tracks are burned to a master CD. No transfer of individual files to some other location, then go through a multistep process to burn a CD without knowing what the final result sounds like before the burning. I have been searching for an audio recording software that would approximate these functions that is not so complex and multisteppped. I have tried MOTU DP, Apple Express 8 and am overwhelmed with complexity, a 1050 page manual for Express 8 that does not have clear answers for my needs. I do not want to create single songs with multiple takes and multiple mics with dozens of plug ins. I thought Audacity would be closer, and simpler for my needs, but am finding I have many of the same user needs and preferences as the author of the first comment above. Perhaps computer based recording software and editing for my kind of purpose is a dream. If anyone has some positive recommendations, please let me know. email@example.com
- Gale: I think what you are looking for rather falls between two stools - you can get simple software that makes sure the recording does not clip, will split it to a new track if you press a button at the correct time between tracks, and may or may not burn a CD directly .... but they almost certainly won't do effects beyond maybe simple fades. I actually think it's pretty easy to use Audacity to split a recording to separate tracks - just get used to the idea of recording on one track and using labels to do the split after you finish recording. Do you really want to stand over the recorder and press new track every few minutes? Audacity cannot burn to CD yet admittedly, but this is thought to be a low priority for us given the work involved, when so many other applications can do it.
Archive of old page content - just in case we need it
|If you have a vinyl or cassette recording with separate tracks on it, you most likely want to export those tracks as separate audio files for your computer's music library, or so you can burn them to separate tracks on an audio CD. This is easily accomplished in Audacity, using labels and the export multiple function.
Using labels to split your recording into multiple tracks requires you to record all your tracks into one audio track on the Audacity screen. To achieve this when you are recording, click Audacity's blue Pause button (not the yellow Stop button) whenever you want to turn over the record or tape, then click Pause again to restart the recording in the same track. Use "Stop" only when you have completely finished recording into that audio track.
The labelling feature described below should not be used if you already have more than one audio track in the Audacity screen (for example, one audio track for each side of an LP). If you have recorded your LP or cassette tracks into more than one Audacity track, you can join them into one track thus:
- Select the second track by clicking in its Track Control Panel (where the mute/solo buttons are).
- Choose from the menu.
- Place the cursor in the white space after the end of the audio in the first track.
- Choose from the menu.
- Close the second track by clicking the top left of its Track Control Panel.
Simply repeat the process for any additional tracks you have open.
If you are using version 2.x of Audacity, instead of step 3, click anywhere in the first track then press END on your keyboard, then steps 4 and 5.
Labels not only mark a split point, but also allow you to name the individual snippets so they correspond to each LP or cassette track. These names can be used as file names when you finally export the files. The labels appear in a new Label Track underneath the audio track as you can see in the example below. This happened to be a mono recording but the labels are exactly the same if you have a stereo recording.
To add labels to mark the split points between the LP or cassette tracks, follow the five steps below:
- click in the recorded audio track at the start of each LP or cassette track, starting at the point where the first track starts.
- click CTRL + B. If the Label Track ("Song1...Song2...Song3" in the above screenshot) is not visible after adding the label, increase the height of the Audacity window, or drag the bottom of the audio track upwards. ( in Audacity 2.x) or the shortcut
- optionally, start typing the name of the song immediately after Export Multiple command. (notice that what you are typing should now appear in the label to the right of the flag, in the Label Track). You can skip typing in the labels if you prefer, and instead choose a numeric sequence when you come to the
- if you wanted to lengthen the gap between this track and the previous one, you could do it now: click in the audio track in the current gap, then CTRL + L). Note however that noise between tracks can be used as a noise profile for removing noise from the recording. and choose the length of silence to insert. You could also silence a noisy gap by selecting the area of the gap and then (or use the shortcut
- click at the start of the second track (this confirms any typing you made in the label), again, type the second label and so on.
- If you cannot type in the label at any stage, click in it to give it focus, then type.
- If you need to play the track to decide where to place the split points, you can use "Add Label at Playback Position" instead (directly underneath "Add Label at Selection", or use shortcut CTRL + M).
If you make a typing error, press Backspace. If you get the label in the wrong place and want to delete it, click on it and press Backspace until you have deleted all of the characters in the label, then press Enter. In Audacity 2.x, pressing Backspace after the last character is deleted automatically deletes the label. To delete multiple labels, select an area in the Label Track containing all the label flags you wish to delete, and choose Silence or Delete from the Edit Menu. If you want to remove the Label Track and start over again, click the far left of the Label Track to close it.
Note that if you cut or delete a section of the recording after you have placed labels, this will leave the labels in the wrong place. To solve this, select the area to cut or delete in both the audio track and the Label Track.
Label Name limitations
Each name you type in the label must be different.
Avoid using system-prohibited characters in the labels. In Audacity 1.2 these will cause a "cannot export audio to..." or "unable to open target file for writing" error, or in the case of colon ":" will cause the exported file to be invalid. In the 2.x version of Audacity, an error dialogue lets you choose a valid character instead. Here are examples of common system-prohibited characters:
|\ / : * ? " < > ||
All the above characters will fail on Windows - if you want to use quotations in your labels, use two ' characters together.
"/" and ":" will fail on Macs. "/" will fail on Linux. These are mostly operating system limitations.
In Audacity 1.2, you cannot type a lower case "z" in the label due to a bug. You can type an upper case "Z". This is fixed in the 2.x development version of Audacity, but in 1.2.x, go to theof and change the shortcut for "Find Zero Crossings" from Z to CTRL + Z, or to some other combination that includes a modifier such as CTRL or ALT. Alternatively, simply copy the letter `z` from here and paste it into the label name.
You can read more about Label Tracks here.
Automatic labelling based on silences
If you have well defined silences preceding the starts of each track, go to the. Silence Finder will attempt to automatically label the track split points based on the silences between the tracks.
If Silence Finder is not in Audacity you can obtain it as a Nyquist plug-in here. If the plug-in appears in the browser window instead of downloading, you can right-click over the link > Save Target As or Save Link As. Alternatively, select and copy the full text in the browser window, paste it into a new empty text file in Notepad or similar text editor, ensure wordwrap is off then save it as silencemarker.ny. When you have the file correctly saved, move it into the Plug-ins folder inside your Audacity installation folder and restart Audacity. On Windows machines, Audacity's installation folder by default is at:
C:\Program_Files\Audacity or C:\Program_Files (x86)\Audacity on a 64-bit computer.
On Mac OS X, it is usually under Applications.
If there is a long silence after the end of the last track, Silence Finder may well add a superfluous label here. To delete this label and the silence, select the area of audio you want to cut and drag the selection down into the Label Track, thenor .
Thecommand will export all your audio files at one go (one per LP track, each with its own filename), based on your chosen split points. When you click , a dialogue box pops up where you choose your Export Format, the Export Location, and how to name your files.
Above you can see the default settings of the dialogue once you have chosen the Export Format and Export Location.
Choose WAV or AIFF if you are going to burn an audio CD. Choose MP3 if you want a smaller file for storage on your computer or on a portable player like an iPod. Note MP3s have slight quality loss compared to WAV or AIFF which have perfect quality. If you want to export to MP3, you need to add the LAME MP3 encoder to your computer and tell Audacity where it is - see Lame Installation for help on this. Note that whenever you're exporting as MP3, its Title ID3 tag will be automatically determined by the exported filename, and the Track Number ID3 tag will be automatically determined by the order of the tracks on screen.
In 1.2.x versions of Audacity you need to choose a directory that already exists - you cannot create a directory by typing its name in the Export Location box. Audacity 2.x does allow you to create a new directory in this way, or to make a new folder in the dialogue that pops up when when you click "Choose".
Split files based on...
When you are splitting a long single track up by using Labels as in this tutorial, the Labels button is automatically selected and cannot be deselected. As an option, you can check the box "include audio before first label". This will enable you to place your first label at the start of the second song instead of at the start of the first song, which is one less label to place. Type the name you want for this first file name in the "First file name" box.
If you've typed the exact name you want for each track in the label, you'll want to leave the "Name Files using Label/Track Name" button selected, then each exported audio file will have exactly the name that you typed.
If you did not type in the labels, and you leave the "Name Files using Label/Track Name" button selected, your exported files will be named in the form ".wav", "-2.wav" and so on. If you want to give your files a more elegant name, select the "numbering consecutively" button instead, and type a name in the "File name Prefix" box underneath the button. This word or phrase will then be the prefix for a numerical sequence. For example, if you type in the box "Serenade", the exported files will be in the form "Serenade-1.wav", Serenade-2.wav" and so on.
Overwrite existing files
Generally, leave this box checked. If checked, Audacity will simply overwrite any existing files with the same name without asking. This is useful if for example you don't like the files you exported, or got the labels in the wrong place, and want to export multiple again. If you uncheck this box, Audacity will process the multiple export, but if it encounters previously exported files with the same, it will create new files with "-2" or similar appended to the filename.
Extra notes about burning to CDs
Before you Export Multiple for real there are three things you must do:
1) Most users want to burn an "audio CD" that will play on standalone CD players (not just in their computer). To do this you must configure Audacity to export 44 100 Hz, 16 bit stereo WAV or AIFF files, so that the files are compatible for burning as an audio CD. To do this:
- At the bottom of the Audacity window set the Project Rate to 44 100 Hz.
- On the File Formats tab of Preferences, in the "Uncompressed Export Format" dropdown, choose WAV (16-bit...) or AIFF (16-bit...).
- If your Project does not already contain a stereo track, click (or in Audacity 1.3.3 or later). It does not matter that this track is empty, its purpose is just to make Audacity export your recording as a stereo file.
Make sure you specifically tell your burning software to burn an "audio" or "music" CD, not a "data CD". For more help on different types of CD and what software to use, see How to burn CDs.
2) Make sure your Project Rate (Hz), as shown in the Project Rate button bottom left of the Audacity screen, matches the rate showing in the Track Control Panel (where the mute/solo buttons are). If you don't do this, and you're exporting WAV or AIFF files, silences may be added at the end of tracks and the labels may not export in the correct position. This is due to a bug when resampling is done between the Project and Track Rate upon export. If necessary you can select your track by clicking in the Track Control Panel then, which will resample the track to the Project Rate. Then simply delete the excess silence generated at the end of the track and the export will have no added silence. This bug is fixed in current 2.x releases.
3) Set Audacity to make your track splits at the 1/75th second frames that CDs use. This should ensure that you will not get clicks between tracks on account of the burning process, and that CD burning programs should be able to burn without pauses if you don't want to add gaps between the tracks in the burning software. To enable splits at CD frames in Audacity 1.2.6:
- Click , and select "CDDA min:secs:frames 75 fps"
- Then click and choose "On".
In 1.3.x instead of step 1) above, you click on one of the downward pointing arrows in any of the three fields in the Selection Bar (see http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/features-1.3-d.php) in order to choose the selection format.
By default, many CD burning programs will add a 2 second gap between CD tracks, so be aware of this when placing your labels, and consider deleting excess silences between tracks. While most programs will optionally let you burn the CD with no gaps between the tracks, some have no such option. Windows Media Player 12 now supports a gapless burning option, while Windows Media Player 9 can burn gaplessly if you have Nero burning software and download the Nero WMP9 plug-in.
Unfortunately, the "no gap" option in some burning software still leaves a momentary but perceptible gap between tracks, which is an irritation if your audio track is a continuous piece of music. While you can solve this problem by exporting your track as a single audio file, so you only have one CD track, you then have no means of navigating around the CD. There are two solutions. The first is to use CD burning software and a burner that supports "disc at once" (DAO), in which the tracks are burned without turning off the laser. Sometimes, "no gap" is equivalent to "DAO", but sometimes it isn't. So check the manual for your burner and software - the vital thing is that the laser runs across the tracks without interruption.
Additionally, make sure you don't export MP3 files for burning to your gapless CD, even if you're burning a "data CD", because MP3s have inherent silence padding due to a restriction of the MP3 format.
An alternative and recommended solution is to not split the track up at all in Audacity. Instead, export it as one long file, and burn that file with DAO and a "cue sheet" that marks the starting times of each CD track. Cue sheets can be created as simple plain text files. Audacity currently has no direct means of creating a cue sheet from the track labels, however if you use Audacity'scommand, you can export track starting times and label name data as a text file. This file could then be edited to make a cue sheet.
Each track in a Cue Sheet is of this format:
- TRACK (number) AUDIO
- TITLE "(name)"
- PERFORMER "(name)"
- INDEX 01 (start time) in the format minutes:seconds:frames with the first track always being 00:00:00
Audacity cannot currently export Cue Sheets but it is possible to use the command to export a text file representing the label positions, then on Windows and Linux use label2cue to convert the minutes and seconds data in the text file to minutes, seconds and frames data laid out in cue sheet format.
You can read more about cue sheets on Wikipedia here.
Note you may still hear the most momentary gaps between tracks even on DAO burned CDs, unless the CD player supports true gapless playback. Many CD players do not support gapless playback properly because the hardware simply doesn't buffer the audio data properly. However quite a few computer-based media players can use DSP effects when playing back audio to give proper gapless playback, even of CDs not burned with DAO. An example of such a player is Apple's iTunes.
Details for Linux
- Export both a labels file and a wav file (16 bit stereo @ 44100 Hz) from Audacity. For the purpose of this description, assume the audio file is called REC.wav.
- If your locale uses anything but a decimal point (e.g. a comma), also edit the labels file to ensure all numbers use a decimal point.
- Convert the labels to a cue sheet using label2cue as described above. NB! When the tool prompts for an audio file, you can enter any file name; the file does not need to exist at this point. The name you enter will be used as a template for the name of the cue file, i.e. if you specify the audio file as REC.wav, the cue file will be called REC.cue.
- To burn the CD, the audio data must need be a multiple of 2352 bytes. shntool can do this. Use shntool pad REC.wav to pad it. The output would in this example be written to REC-padded.wav.
- Now edit the cue sheet. The first line is FILE "REC.wav" BINARY. Change it to FILE "REC-padded.wav" WAVE.
- You are now ready to burn. Currently, the tool wodim (part of cdrkit) represents the state-of-art. Burn with the command wodim -dao cuefile=REC.cue. NB! Apart from the -dao switch, wodim gets all settings from the cue file. If wodim doesn't find your burner, you might need to specify the -dev=b,t,l switch. To find the values of b, t and l, use the wodim --scanbus command.