adjusting sound settings

I’ll do my best to articulate my problem, but probably won’t do very well. I recorded several chapters for an audio book, but had to go back a month later and re-record one one them. I noticed at that point that the sound from my Blue Snowball Ice mic (same one I used before) was different. It wasn’t as clear (wish I could be more technical and descriptive in the difference in sound). The only thing I could think of is the settings got messed up somehow. I uninstalled and reinstalled Audacity but the same sound quality remains. It’s a brand new mic, so I’m assuming it’s not that. Anyone have any tips on how to match up the settings to the wav files I exported before?

Make sure [u]Windows “Enhancements”"[/u] are disabled. Sometimes Windows tries to use automatic volume control and/or noise reduction, etc. and that might be good for Zoom calls but it can mess-up high-quality recording.

And make sure you’ve directly-selected the USB device as your recording device. You shouldn’t be using “Stereo Mix” or 'loopback" from your soundcard, etc.

Otherwise, Audacity just “captures” the digital audio stream that it gets from Windows.

The Snowball has a couple of settings. It should normally be set for cardioid (directional) but it’s also important to be consistent. It also has a -10dB pad for loud sounds and you don’t want that for regular voice recording.

…If you move things physically or change to a different room/location it can be hard to get the exact-same acoustic environment.

If you’re using the [u]Recommended Audiobook Mastering Process[/u] chapter-by-chapter or section-by-section that will match the volumes but it won’t match the sound “quality” or “character”.