I'm not sure where to go with this.
The Dish Towel version has better tonal balance, but the towel reduces the overall volume and you don't have enough volume to begin with. This causes the track to violate the noise specification, which causes tonal distortions, which causes.... etc, etc, etc, etc.
This is what recording Audacity is supposed to look like for a normal voice track. Peaks—tips of the blue waves—should get high enough that the multi-colored Audacity volume meters start turning yellow.
Can you do anything to get the volume that high? Keep getting louder and louder and closer and closer until the recording meters come out about right.
Do you have any drivers or adjustments that you could have turned down by accident? From memory, Audacity doesn't have any adjustments for a USB microphone, but yours might.
I know this is going to sound a little wacky, but if people are writing big checks, it's good to know how to break
your equipment. Surprises are not welcome when you will never be able to record an important performance again, so it's good to know not only how your machines work well, but how they behave when they don't.
Can you make your microphone overload? What do you have to do to make the Audacity sound meter go all the way up and turn red? If you have to be an inch a way and screaming, then there's something wrong. That's not normal even with home style microphones with "gentle volume."