Posted this in the Encoder community as well, but since this involves both applications, I am posting here as well.
I have a podcast file (.WAV) file that is about 1.5 GB in size. I uploaded to a background in AE with 1 wavelength animation and my project has been encoding for 15 hours right now with 57 hours to go. Can someone please help me explain what exactly I am doing wrong? Worked like a charm with standard .mp4 files.
I've chatted with support, cleared cache, reinstalled the program and still the same issue persists. I even went and literally upgraded my ENTIRE system to a 2080ti, 10th gen i7, new motherboard and 64GB of DDR4 RAM.
I think you are saying that you created a new AE comp that is probably standard HD (1920 X 1080), added a solid with one effect like Audio Waveform and one WAV audio file to the timeline and the render times are not making any sense. I don't know what a "wavelength animation" is but I assume that you are using Audio Waveform or Audio Spectrum.
What format is the WAV file? If it is 48 Khz, 16-Bit PCM then the file matches the minimum audio standard for video production. If it is something else then that could be the cause of the problem. There are a lot of different formats for WAV files. The audio file could also be corrupted. The first thing I would probably do would be to open the WAV file in Audition and render another copy using the 48Khz preset.
If I needed to produce long-form videos with nothing but some kind of Audio Visualizer using the basic Audio Spectrum or Audio waveform effects I would not even consider After Effects as the right production tool. I would go to a site like https://musicvid.org and generate the file there. It will render in much less time and there are dozens of options and most of them look a lot better than what you can get with AE's built-in tools by just using one effect.
As Rick said already it's impossible to make mujch sense of your post since you haven't provided exact info on the source files. 1.5 GB is huge for an audio file, so my assumption would be that you are experiencing nmassive overhaed by using AE in the most unsuitable way - letting it convert/ resample a high-quality audio file to the lower quality output specs. Pre-processing the audion in Audition and matching the sample rate, bit depth etc. alone may improve things massively, as another factor in the equation no doubt is that by forcing AE to decode your source audio you are also creating massive cache files and the slowdown from disk I/O alon will contribute to the render times.