Automatically Split Audio into Songs with Audacity

My grandpa had me record Christmas music from channel 924, “Continuous Holiday Classics.” I had to create both a DVD and a music CD. For the DVD, Windows DVD Maker automatically creates chapters. For the music CD, we’ll need something a little more specialized. Audacity is a free, open source audio editor. I was able to get the task done fairly quickly and easily. Here were my Google searches to do the research (don’t worry, I’ll compile my results below…)

  • Extract audio from video
  • CD quality
  • Audacity
  • Automatically split tape audio into songs
  • Audacity split tape audio into songs
  • Audacity add label (note: press Ctrl+M or go to Project -> Add Label)

The first job of getting the audio extracted from the recorded video was pretty easy with the help of “audioextractor”. The one I used was “AoA Audio Extractor,” which– amazingly enough in this commercial  world– completely free. I had to select my “Audio Bitrate.” I don’t think this has any effect with WAV output– my choice because it doesn’t lossily compress the audio– but 128 kbps is generally good enough. For AAC, 128 kbps is pretty much CD quality. For MP3, use 160 kpbs for CD-quality sound. AoA worked like a charm.

Next, I had to download Audacity and split the audio into songs. I thought I’d need a separate utility to do this, but it turns out that Audacity has the capability built-in. And it works really well, too. It’s not perfect, so you have to do a few modifications yourself on parts of the audio that might not perfectly fit the model. Generally, though, the automatic mode saved a ton of time.
More info on the Audacity Wiki

One tricky thing: be careful of running the Silence Finder multiple times, because with slightly different settings it will create multiple splits in virtually the same place, but you won’t be able to tell because you can’t see them unless you’re zoomed in far enough. Best to run it once, and undo it if the results are not quite right yet. Also, note that a higher dB is not a higher tolerance, but actually a lower one. Setting the dB setting lower will create more splits, as louder audio is considered “silent.” Obviously, the setting here will depend on the background noise of your audio, and possibly the nature of the track switchovers.

Hope this helps! Feel free to leave a comment below.

2 Responses to “Automatically Split Audio into Songs with Audacity”

  1. Yam Erez says:

    I’m going to try it using Silence Finder. I sure wish Audacity didn’t have to be “babysat” so much.

  2. Rajesh Koul says:

    Dear Sir,
    I came across your website. I want to get your help on Audacity software. I have a file which is a single recorded file of 25 songs. I want to split it into multiple tracks automatically. I know that splitting manually is a bit cumberson job but there may be an option of splitting file into multiple tracks automatically. Can you please help. It also happens that when the file has been recorded the audacity’s option of split or “Silence Finder” does not work most of the time.

    WIth Best Regards
    Rajesh Koul

Leave a Reply