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Unable to generate waveform

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I am in NVivo 11 for Mac, and I'm trying to import audio files, but am getting an "Unable to generate waveform" error (in two different error formats oddly). I have <20 .mp3 files that were all recorded on the same device. When it errors out, Nvivo Helper is open on my dock. My OSX version is El Capitan.


Here is what I have tried so far:


1) When I first tried to import into the "Interviews" folder in the Internal Sources folder, I successfully imported a few files and got errors on others. Some of these errors read "Unable to generate waveform", while others read Error: Cannot import - unable to generate waveform". I tried again, and a few of the errors cleared. I could not get them all.


2) I tried importing from both my Dropbox folder and from my local drive. Same thing.


3) I realized it might be the file size and decreased it by lowering the bitrate. To make things easier, I stupidly deleted the successfully imported files and re-imported all of them. Now none of them will import.


4) I used a solution from the forum and opened each file in Quicktime and exported it as audio only. This converted the file into an AAC (.m4a) file, but it increased the size. So I then compressed it by decreasing the bitrate and created more lightweight .m4a files. These still would not import.


5) I tried re-installing NVivo. I tried starting a completely new project. I tried messing with the security preferences. Still getting the error.


6) I gave up on importing the files and tried linking the files as external sources. This I did successfully, except NVivo does not recognize them as audio files, so I can't transcribe in NVivo.


Please tell me what to try next. I am out of ideas. Thank you!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello Tane,


I am experiencing the same issues with NVivo 10.2.2 for Mac.


First I tried to import m4a file but NVivo fails to recognise the file extension.


Then I converted the file in mp3 with iTunes but the error "Unable to generate waveform" appears.


I have also converted the file with different sample rate but it does not work as well.


Could you please let me know how to sort this out?


Thank you in advance for your kind help.


Best regards,





Can you please submit a webform from our website http://www.qsrinternational.com/support/contact-support and provide us with one of the audio files that is failing to import so that we can try and replicate, and hopefully resolve, the issue?




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Hi Alessandro,


Could you please try opening the m4a/MP3 files in QuickTime Player on your Mac and export them in the default format by following the steps below:


1. In QuickTime player, click on File -> Export -> Audio Only

2. In the window that opens, enter a name for the file, select a location and click Save


Import the audio file into NVivo for Mac from the location you have specified in step 2 above. Please ensure you select the audio file that you have exported from QuickTime.

Note, if the QuickTime export default of 720p definition does not work and the same error message appears when trying to import the file into NVivo, export and save as 480p and then import into NVivo.

If the issue persist, please submit a support request form at:







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