Splitting WAV Files Into Individual Tracks


Friend of the site, Mauro, has very generously sent me a whole bunch of shows. Its full of interesting and somewhat rare stuff by Simply Red, Neil Young, Lou Reed, etc., and he just sent me a whole bunch of cool Joni Mitchell shows. Trouble is each shows is but one long WAV file which is not split into tracks. I don’t have the slightest idea how to go about splitting them into individual tracks. Is there anyone out there who knows how to do this?

I know how to do it in iTunes by manipulating the start and stop time, but when I do that I either create a minuscule amount of overlap between tracks or I removed a tiny bit of the music. This is fine for me at home, but as I’m sharing this to the greater world I want it to be perfect. I tried to do it on Audacity but it is beyond my capabilities.

If someone wants to walk me through how to do it I’m all ears (bear in mind I own a Mac, not a Windows machine). Or if someone wants to do it themselves I am happy to send the WAV files to you.

59 thoughts on “Splitting WAV Files Into Individual Tracks

  1. I use a program called CD Wave…Roxio also has a wave file editor but I prefer CD wave. In addition, I operate on the PC platform.

    1. Oh man I loved CD Wave when I had a Windows machine. I’ve been seriously thinking about going back to Windows, but it would be such a pain trying to relearn how to use everything.

  2. I would LOVE to know how to split shows into tracks. Sad Eyed Lady on youtube has posted some great Dylan shows but I’d prefer them as individual tracks. I’m not tech smart. I’m still trying to figure out the difference between flac/rar/mp3. etc. If someone would enlighten me that would be great.

      1. I have tried to use Audacity. I am not technically minded and it is beyond me. I have to leave files in wav and burn to dvd. The trouble with that is the dvd will only play on my laptop and not my dvd or bluray player.

  3. It might be easier be easier to write .cue files. You wouldn’t have to split them, and the individual tracks would still be seek-able. The song names in the cue file show up and other header info can be tagged into the parent file. That way you can just convert the long (large) .wav file into .flac.

  4. Mat,  It is easy to do with Audacity, but I only have Windows.  The process is time consuming. I’ll try to give general instructions.  I was recording GD SBD shows using Audacity, then splitting out the tracks.  It has to be a labor of love (I found a better way to grab the SBD files directly as MP3, another story) I’ll have to assume that Auacity works the same on both MAC and Windows. 1.  Create a file folder using proper file naming convention, for each wave file (each full show)2.  Upper left, Audacity, click “File”, select “open” and navigate to the folder holding the show that you want to process,click the WAV file name name and then click “Open” lower right of page.  It may take severage minutes to import the wav file, with will be huge ( a 2 hour concert may be over 1 GB as a WAV file, but only 200-300 MB as MP3.3  Get a Set List for the show if possible.  Google setlist     don’t use the ‘s    or go to setlist.fm and search artist and show date https://www.setlist.fm/ 4  In Audacity you should see the wav form for the entire file.  You may notice the individual songs, looks like sausage links.  You will have to magnify the first part of the WAV file to isolate the first song.5 Audacity is usually in open with the “selection tool”  selected.  Check the upper center of the audacity screen, just to the right of the Record button (red button). I just realized how difficult describing the tool bar items you have to use.  Not hard to do, but not easy to describe in email. I have downloaded many files from you, so I owe you.  I want to help.  Email me back, and we can set a time we can talk over the phone.  I am Mountain Time Zone (Denver).  Only problemis my phone is TracFone, I pay by the minute, so we have to be prepared.  I would ask that you have a folder with a wav file show in it before we start.  I should be able to walk you thru this in 15-20 minutes, which I am happy to do. I live in Assisted Living (disabled, young elderly), so I have plenty of time on my hands. Thanks for all the downloads you have given us.  Email me if you would like my help splitting tracks. Keith email 

  5. A sample .cue file where the index times (INDEX 01) are configured for gapless playback. You could introduce gaps with another line of code, INDEX 00, above INDEX 1. Of course you wouldn’t want to with DSOTM, but still. Cue files are particularly useful for truly gapless playback on live concerts.

    REM GENRE Rock
    REM DATE 1973
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    TITLE “Dark Side Of The Moon”
    FILE “PinkFloyd_TheDarkSideOfTheMoon.flac” WAVE
    TITLE “Speak To Me”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 00:00:00
    TITLE “Breathe”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 1:30:00
    TITLE “On The Run”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 4:13:00
    TITLE “Time”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 7:43:00
    TITLE “The Great Gig In The Sky”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 14:36:00
    TITLE “Money”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 18:51:00
    TITLE “Us And Them”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 25:21:00
    TITLE “Any Colour You Like”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 33:12:00
    TITLE “Brain Damage”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 36:36:00
    TITLE “Eclipse”
    PERFORMER “Pink Floyd”
    INDEX 01 40:26:00

      1. Super easy to write. Use this one as a template and edit it. Try it on one. You’ll have to listen for time signatures but you’d be doing that anyway to split it.

  6. If you have an Older PC. using XP, I suggest ‘Cool Edit 2.1’

    I suggest to post them, in wav, as they are….I say go for it…

    You put a lot of goodies on here…you, purplehippes, & live petty have a huge amount of cool goodies, & Led Zep, look for Lost Led Zep…Your site ROCKS….!!!!… 🙂

  7. On a Mac, consider Fission made by Rogue Amoeba (US $29). Looking at my older version of the app…

    1. Open the audio file in Fission.
    2. Use the Tools menu to select Split Mode.
    3. Click in the displayed audio where you want a track separation. Repeat as necessary.
    4. Use the File menu to select Save Audio.

    You’ll get a folder with the individual tracks. That’s the rudimentary method but note the app has more advanced audio splitting options included.

  8. I have a Mac and use the (free) program Media Human Audio Converter. Very easy to use – just drag the wav and cue files there, choose flac as output.

  9. Wavepad, doesn’t have to be in real time if you know where the splits should be

    Paul ________________________________

  10. I know how you feel Mat. I have a hundred Genesis concerts downloaded from Youtube. Have tried a few apps to split them into tracks. Way beyond me. Just waiting for someone with the know-how to split and upload to the Tube again. I’m not lazy, really – just a bit thick.

  11. I use Soundforge to do this
    Open the wav file an old version of Soundforge
    separate the songs with markers (markers/markers to region/extract region)
    After extracting the files, if necessary :
    Possibility of fade out/in.
    Possibility to repair a deficient chanel.
    Ajust volume between chanels.
    Ajust volume of the song in case of low volume
    Then using DBpoweramp, convert to FLAC or MP3
    Like Kuzink says The process is time consuming

  12. Thanks for the help everybody. A couple of folks have offered to do it for me. I’m at the age where technology is starting to pass me by and I no longer care to spend the time to figure it out. So I’m gonna let those who offered give me a hand.

    Its a lot of shows, at least 100 and counting so eventually I’ll give some of your suggestions a shot and try to do a little work myself. I appreciate all the suggestions.

    1. ” I’m at the age where technology is starting to pass me by and I no longer care to spend the time to figure it out.”
      Ditto. I do know how to use a rotary dial telephone.

  13. not really that hard in Audacity. when you find the spot you want to separate track(s), mark that spot with “Add label at Selection” under the ‘Tracks’ header. (you can add track numbers and the names etc, in the box that will come up in that spot in Audacity below. so you just repeat this process until all the tracks from that originally large single file have been named and numbered.)

    The key when you are finished is to select “Export Multiple…” under the ‘File’ heading box so each now individually broken up file will export separately as a new file/track to your desktop/destination. hope that helps!!! 🙂

  14. At the bottom of the main Audacity screen there are a couple of numeric time boxes. The first box on the left is the starting position. There is a downward pointing arrow in the right side of the timing box. When you click the arrow a drop down box is displayed. At the bottom of the drop down box is a CDDA frames entry. You need to choose (left click) this entry. When you break apart a wave file into seperate tracks audacity will cut the tracks up at proper correct sector boundaries then. This can be confirmed using the freeware traders little helper program. In the snap to box choose the ‘nearest’ entry. Why not post wav files and let the downloader break the file into seperate tracks. It isn`t hard to do but time consuming.

  15. If you upload a couple of the raw Joni files to the usual destination on the amazon site and provide a link to them, I could download them, split them (on my pc), convert them to Flac, possibly apply titles and whatever, and upload the stuff to Filefactory where I happen to have an account, then send back the link for you to publish. Hey, could probably also upload an mp3 version or a m4a version for those who prefer lossy…..:-). Since I have plenty of bandwidth I would prefer such a solution to direct exchange.
    If that works, and time permits, we could do the same with some of the other stuff.

  16. Hi, I have done my best to read what other people have said. I actually make my own files very very regularly (either from lps or old concert cassettes that I used to get in trades). Unfortunately I have a lot on my plate, and would take ages if I was to take on doing some of these files for you. I will offer these observations. I learnt how to do this by myself. I am not technically minded:
    1. I don’t use any track splitting software. It has to be done manually by uploading the entire file as a wav, as mentioned,- I use Cool Edit; Adobe is a more modern version than this and works by the same principle. Yes you can do it with Audacity but it is harder to use, more annoying.
    2. As was said above, you need a tracklist, then you click through the file listening (from the wave on your screen) for where the track is ending. (When you get a bit better at this you can see it clearly, esp with live shows as the waves get more intense where people are clapping.) Then you zoom in, highlight the track from the beginning right up to the start of track 2, by placing the large cursor right at the beginning of this new track (ie track 2). (you basically just drag the mouse backwards from this point to get the right bit highlighted, accurately).
    3. you go to file- save selection as, and call it for instance, track one, or whatever you want, and make sure you still don’t disrupt the bit that is highlighted. In this process you also need to make sure you have it saved as the right file type; better to keep all as .wav until the end and then use other software to convert it then.
    4. once file is saved, delete the bit that was highlighted. Now your beginning will be right from where track 2 began. There is no way you can have any overlap/ bits missing if you do it by this process, as long as you don’t mess up your highlighted bits. Repeat the process then on, highlighting each track after zooming in to find the end of each track, deleting after saving each time.

    I hope this makes sense. After a while it comes as second nature (I learnt it in about 1998). If some bit doesn’t make sense, ask me to clarify, as once you have done one or two it is actually really easy and it would probably be an asset for you to know for the future, even if you get help with this lot.

  17. After thinking about what I just wrote, I actually think that if you are interested in learning with this, then begin with a studio recorded file of an album you know, just for test purposes (even if you have to record it yourself). This way it would be easier to see the ends of the tracks on the wav file as you practise your clicking, zooming, highlighting, and finally ‘save selection as’ functions. If you get your head around this, then you could try a live recording.

  18. i’ve done many over the years, usually use Soundforge. Quite therapeutic in it’s own way, manual de-clicking is similar. Kind of like laying bricks or something, you have to pay attention but it’s never too taxing, just a bit multi-phase and laborious that’s all. Why are they not split? Are they his own (or copies of someone else’s) raw tape transfers or such? I can only really be bothered if things are a proper unique master or good qual low gen transfer.
    If there’s anything worthy I’ll do a few in due course. Got lots of my own transfers I haven’t gotten around too yet, so maybe i should find the motivation for the more unique and intersting of those first!

  19. one tip i’ve found is to just use the editing software as a media player and just drop the track markers (regions in soundforge) in as you listen. Even if it’s not perfect or you miss a few it’s still a big improvement. You can always revisit and polish up later. Makes the whole thing a lot less of a drag, especially if you have a glass of wine or something at the same time. Works best with a late night listen thru the cans, sitting at or near the pc.

    I’ll certainly attend to some of the Joni if you drop me a list

  20. alt approach
    import wav file
    max window
    zoom out on the wav form (so you can see all or most of the time span)
    hover mouse on drag time line in likely spots
    jot down rough est time on piece of paper
    i.e. combination of low and high tech approach is best, dont zoom in too far initially, tou can’t see the wood for the trees. Just end up goin’backwards and forwards endlessly!
    you’ll see what i mean when you zoom out – all becomes a lot clearer

  21. You ‘spam’d’ again – very odd and definitely new development.
    Definitely some value in the Joni TV shows, the 72 shows, also the Richard Thompson, the Van/Chieftains (obviously!)
    If you get around to uppimg any of those in the raw so to speak and send me a few links, i’ll pull ’em down and see what can be done, I don’t really have the software (or expertise) to undertake any sophisticated remaster or anything, but a basic edit and master, stick ’em on the blog with an invitation to the usual net experts to pick ’em up and run with them

    1. He’s sending them to me via WeTransfer. I have no problem uploading them to my Amazon Drive and sharing them. As long as my download limit isn’t exceeded that is ;). If you want some Joni tracks I can send them your way.

  22. These are free programs which I use to convert and edit. However, it only edits mp3 files. To convert I use MediaMonkey. There is an upgradeable version, but I use the free one. It can convert between formats. After that, I use mp3DirectCut (also free) to edit a long file into separate tracks. You could then go back to MediaMonkey and convert the mp3 files into FLAC if you wish. It’s not fancy, but its for free and it works for me. Let me know!

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I want to keep everything lossless for now. As Dan suggests below its never a good idea to convert MP3 to FLAC as MP3s are lossy files and converting them to FLAC suggests that they are lossless which is highly frowned upon. But I appreciate your thoughts.

  23. Mat, I use a program called AVS Audio editor. AVS has a series of program that can convert files, record etc. It’s pretty user friendly.

  24. I use Sound Forge for track splitting and many other audio editing tasks. I’d be happy to help with project as time permits. 😉

  25. Mat,

    Thanks for all the great posts – always appreciated.

    Sounds like you have a crowd-sourced group of editors!; if you can distribute the files or make them available, then the tech-savvy supporters can edit themselves and return/upload them for you.

    I use WavePad which is great for MP3 but not so good for WAV, FLAC, etc.

  26. Always looking for Joni. If i can tidy ’em up and put ’em back for others to find, then all the better. Still a chronic shortage on the web in general. Basically anything you can manag, anytime you are ready, or send me the we transfer link if still live and he has no objections

  27. Mat, I use Roxio believe me it took me forever to learn how to do it. But by trial and error I finally figured it out. I’m interested in the Lou Reed shows you talked about. If you have Roxio I may be able to help you on a step by step basis. However if you want to send me some of the files I can do it. Now this is where my technical savy fails me I do not know how to send them back to you via e-mail

  28. I saw that others mentioned CD Wave. I am not terribly tech savvy, and it’s an incredibly easy (free) program. I have a version I downloaded about 10 years ago, and still works fine on my PC running Windows 10. I saw a download link at http://www.milosoftware.com/en/index.php?body=download.php; I can’t vouch for it but looks legit. (Also happy to mail the program, which is pretty small.) All you do is open it, drag the .wav file to the window, and insert splits where you want them. You then save each of the split sections as a separate file. You’ll need to rename these (i.e. the file “OnebiglongDeadWave.wav” will save as “OnebiglongDeadWave01.wav,” “OnebiglongDeadWave02.wave,” etc.). Trust me, incredibly simple even for old folks like me.

      1. Mat, WOW, you have received so many responces to this plea of track splitting, I suppose you’ve already got it done. But, just in case, i offer my assistance free. Email me at: TICDS@SBCGlobal.Net
        Or call: 530-243-1658

  29. I know what you are talking about and the solution. The reply from Keith is direct and accurate. I use Audacity on my mini-mac for exactly this purpose. If you can delegate some of the tasks to knowledgeable volunteers who are also beneficiaries of your efforts I believe the community gains.

  30. Hi – I would double check what you have — maybe there are “.cue” files already there but you didn’t realize they are useful !? Often single wav files are distributed with a cue file.
    The process is easy but as others have said, it can be very time consuming. I start getting
    hung up on the joins between live tracks, banter etc….. The cue file saves anybody a lot
    of time.

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