It can happen to the best of us, we have an audio file and it refuses to open, this can often be due to corrupted file information in the header. So when I recently found myself with a WAV file on my Mac that would not open I decided to try a few things, this is how I got the WAV file to open and back into Pro Tools.
First I used the open source software VLC, which for some reason seems to be able to open anything. Instantly I could hear the audio and playing back without any issue. However I was not home and dry as the export options in VLC fox me and I wasn’t really in the frame of mind to try and figure it out. So I decided to take an extreme option.
There are a couple of applications for Mac that allow you to record the system audio in real-time, one is Audio Hijack Pro and the other Audio Record Pro. PC users have sometimes not had much luck capturing system audio but according to the Audacity WIKI they say that version 2.04 will capture audio on on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
So I simply set up Audio Record Pro to grab my system audio and pressed play, then I went and made a bacon sandwich… always a good way to use up real time audio processing and not wasting it looking at the screen and shouting ‘hurry you b*satard!’ Then after consuming aforementioned sandwich I simply returned to my studio, saved the audio as a new WAV and imported into Pro Tools, at the same time getting ketchup on my keyboard.
Now it might not be the same audio as I would have had pre screw up, but when the alternative is a lost audio file, scrapped project, blown job and hacked off client, I know which I would go for.
There are several other options out there. Pro Tools veteran and all-around guru Rail Jon Rogut has this software for Windows users called WAV Saver.
I hope my retelling of this nearly screwed Pro Tools session and how I saved it will help some others. If you have any experience of rescuing bad audio then let us know in the comments.
Mike here. There are 3 suggestions I would add to this list.
- Switch This is a freeware convertor application, that have installed on all my client’s machines. There are occasions when a wav file won’t open in Pro Tools and I have found that using Switch to convert it from a wav to a wav fixes it and Pro Tools will recognise it.
- Pro Tools veteran and all-around guru Rail Jon Rogut has also produced WavFixer for Mac which can fix damaged headers, see this thread on the DUC.
- SoundHack This a very old freeware application (original release October 26, 1991) that has header fixing options as well as sample rate fixes, and much more, it will even open a wav file that doesn’t have any headers. Although SoundHack is very old the team at SoundHack say…
We have tested under Mountain Lion. All seems to work well as long as you work with or disable the security settings. Control-click the installers to open.
I hope these help….