Audio Storage in NoiseTools 1.8

The previous audio storage system

In previous versions of NoiseTools (1.6.4 and earlier) all audio data was stored in separate files within the shared audio folder. 

These recordings were stored as separate WAV files.

This has the advantage of being very fast and easy for NoiseTools to access whichever file is required. However, it uses a large amount of disk space and is very difficult to manage when backing up or moving databases.

2. The new audio system

NoiseTools can now store all audio data inside a single compressed file. This can save up to 40% of the storage space and makes it much simpler to manage files. However, this can make loading lots of audio data slower than it would otherwise be because it takes time to decompress the data. This is especially true with long pieces of audio or those recorded in studio quality.

The new system can also support storing audio uncompressed if maximum performance is required. However, this will, of course, use as much storage space as the old system.

Another key aspect of the new storage system is that each database will have its own audio storage file which can be linked together. This is what makes it so much easier to manage backups or moving databases. Previously you would have to move the database file and some, or all, of the audio files in the shared audio folder. Now you can simply move the database file and the associated combined audio file (.crnta).

3. Converting your audio data

This first time you start NoiseTools after upgrading to the latest version, you will see the welcome screen reminding you where your data is stored. This will also contain a note telling you to use the Storage Manager to convert your audio data.

You will also see an item in the common tasks list whenever you open a database that is still using the shared audio folder. You can click on this item to take you directly to the Storage Manager.

Below are instructions for converting your data to the new format:
1.    Open NoiseTools.
2.    Click on the Tools menu and choose Storage Manager.

You should make a note of the location of the shared audio folder for use later.

3.    Click the Convert button.
4.    A new window will appear allowing you to choose various settings.
a.    Linked to Database, is the recommended option.

This will keep your audio in a file with the same name and location as your current database. If you ever move or rename the database, the audio will be moved as well.

b.    Other Folder, allows you to choose a specific location for the audio file.
c.    Enable Compression, will compress the file to save space. This is recommended.
5.    Click OK to start the conversion.
6.    You should see a progress bar on screen.

It can take some time to copy and compress all of the relevant audio files.

7.    Once complete the progress bar will disappear.
8.    This database is now using the new system to store data. You should repeat the above process for any other databases you have.

4. Changing and moving audio files
Once you have converted to the new storage system it is much easier to move or change these files.

These instructions show how to change the audio storage location for the current database.

1.    Open NoiseTools.
2.    Click on the Tools menu and choose Storage Manager.
3.    Click the Change button.

If your audio file is currently stored alongside the database, you will get a warning about separating them. If you do want to continue, click OK, if not, see the instructions below for moving databases.

4.    Choose the new location and click save.
5.    The file will now be moved. This may take some time.

If your audio file is linked to a database, and you want to keep it together, you can use these instructions to move or rename it.

1.    Open NoiseTools.
2.    Click on the Tools menu and choose Databases.
3.    Select the database you want to move.
4.    Click the Move/Rename button.
5.    Choose the new location and click save.
6.    The database file and audio file will now be moved. This may take some time.

The databases screen shows all of your databases as well as where the audio is stored for each one. If the audio file is linked to the database, it can be moved from this screen as above. To convert any that are listed as Shared Folder or to move any separate audio files use the Storage Manager.

5. Clearing the shared audio folder

Once you have converted all of your databases to use the new audio storage system you may find there are some files left in the shared folder. This can happen if you have deleted a database as the audio files may not have been removed. It may also happen when measurements are deleted or if there was a problem while downloading from an instrument.

If you are satisfied that all of your databases have been converted correctly and the audio has been moved to the new storage files, you can simply delete all of the old files from this folder.


1.    Open File Explorer and navigate to the shared audio folder.

By default, this will be ‘C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Roaming\Cirrus Research\NoiseTools\Audio\’

If you have changed this location, you need to make a note of it during the conversion.

2.    Press Ctrl+A or click the Select all button in the top right.
3.    Press Shift+Delete or click the arrow below the Delete button and choose Permanently Delete.

If you choose to send these files to the recycle bin instead, remember to empty it as they could be using a lot of disk space.

4.    Click Yes on the confirmation dialogue box.

6. Notes

6.1    Compression

Audio data is stored using a form of Lossless Compression, similar to a zip file you might use to store documents. It does not use MP3 or other forms of Lossy Compression. This means all your data is preserved exactly as it was recorded.

6.2    Continuing to use the old system

You can continue to use the old audio storage system if you wish. However, you will not benefit from the new features such as compression and improved file management. It is recommended to convert your data as soon as is convenient.