Audacity aiff import problems

Audacity is an open source, cross-platform sound editing application. It is the sound editor I use for producing the PodLeaders and it@cork podcasts.

The process I use for producing the podcasts was:

  1. Record the interview using Skype and Wiretap Pro (with Wiretap Pro set to save as mp3)
  2. Import the mp3 file to Audacity and edit
  3. Export as mp3 and publish

After a recent conversation with Doug Kaye, I decided to try his Levelator application to get the levels on the recordings the same. This meant I had to change Wiretap Pro to output to aiff ( a lossless format) instead of mp3.

I did this and recorded a number of interviews successfully, saving the interviews as aiff. However, yesterday, when I went to edit the first of those interviews, I was disappointed that the Levelator couldn’t work with the files (gave an error and stopped trying to level them).

However, I was horrified when I tried importing the files into Audacity only to find that the imported files had massive echo problems, echo problems (!). No matter what I tried I couldn’t get rid of the echo and it made the audio useless.

Finally, I hit on a solution:

  1. Import the aiff files into iTunes
  2. Export from iTunes as mp3
  3. Import the mp3 file into Audacity – no echo (phew!)

I should have hit on this solution sooner but it had been a long day!

3 thoughts on “Audacity aiff import problems”

  1. Just a suggestion re the sound levels. I know but have not used audacity but I’m pretty sure you will find a normalise function that will set the average volume to a set level.

    If that doesn’t work then look for besweet which is an open source app for sound editing. Besweet allows you to normalise and convert to a multitude of formats.

    You can probably find a whole lot more info over at and their forums.

  2. I listened to the podcast with Doug Kaye and was planning on trying his levelator. I guess you’re saying it doesn’t work? I recall him saying it works with aiff and wav files. I assume you only tried it with aiff. I’m reluctant to try it out since I know the feeling you describe above when you think the recording of the great conversation you just had hasn’t turned out for some reason. I guess a test conversation would be the way to go here.

  3. Mark,

    to be honest – it didn’t work with the aiff files output by Wiretap Pro is as much as I can say. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it out if I were you. Make a copy of the file you are going to try it on first if you have any worries but it doesn’t modify the original file in any case, it creates a new modified file.

    The problem I had importing the file into Audacity was unrelated to my use of the Levelator.

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