ARGH! Audacity won't work anymore... after working very well

Hi all,

Have had 2.0.2 for several months. In conjunction with my turntable, it’s always worked well. Because the turntable isn’t USB, I’ve had to run a line out from the turntable’s speaker port into my laptop’s Line In port.

Everything is correctly set in Preferences; I’ve used this set-up to successfully record many things.

Until today.

Suddenly, when I )))TRY((( to record, I can hear that the needle of the turntable is correctly playing the record-- I “hear” it as the stylus touches the grooves… but all I get on Audacity is dead air. I see a bump when my turntable is activated, but whatever the stylus is receiving does not translate into the Line In port.

There seems to be two possible issues:

  1. the cord I have to connect the turntable to the computer may have stopped working (which is frustrating but fixable)…

  2. My Line In port may have died on me. The speaker port works fine. I tested it prior to writing this post.

I am running Windows XP Professional 2002, Service Pack 3.

Audacity is a troublesome program, at best, but I managed to tame it into submission for the past several months. I’m baffled as to why the sound isn’t getting from the turntable to the program.

Any insight is pure gold to me–thanks!

How are you hearing the needle touching the grooves? Are you listening to Audacity playthrough on your headphones?

Do you really have a Line-In on your Windows laptop? Most don’t. Most laptops have Headphone Out and Mic-In.
You’re missing the blue (usually) Stereo Line-In.

I would check the connections. Unplug and firmly plug everything back in again. If you lose the ground connection in a stereo show, the music may cancel out, but everything else seems to work OK. I did this once by mis-wiring a cartridge, but can do it with the cables, too.


Hi! Thanks so much for your quick answer!

What I’m hearing is the vibrations from the stylus as it goes through the record’s grooves… it’s a faint buzzy rendition, to be sure, but it can be heard with the naked ear as I play a record.

And, yes, you’re correct… it’s a mike in port.

I’ll fiddle with the cables and see if that helps. It’s odd that it should just cease to work, after months of working like a charm anytime I used the program!

Do you have something else to plug-in? Maybe a CD player, or the headphone-output from an iPod?

I can hear that the needle of the turntable is correctly playing the record-- I “hear” it as the stylus touches the grooves…

You don’t necessarily record what you hear, but you should be able to configure the Windows mixer so that you can hear (from your headphones/speakers) whatever is connected to your mic/line input without any recording software. With XP, double-clicking the speaker icon should bring-up the playback mixer. If you can’t get the sound out of your speakers, the sound probably isn’t getting in, and you probably can’t record it…

To see the recording mixer, after opening the mixer go to Options → Properties. If the “recording” button is greyed-out, click on Mixer Device and select a different device. Then, click RecordingOK, and you should see the recording mixer.

It’s somewhat unlikely, but it’s possible that you fried your laptop’s mic input by connecting a speaker-level signal (about 100 times higher-voltage than a typical microphone signal). It’s not really a good idea to connect a speaker output to a line-input either, but at low volumes/power levels you should be OK. A headphone output can be slightly higher than standard line-level, but usually it’s perfectly acceptable.

  1. the cord I have to connect the turntable to the computer may have stopped working (which is frustrating but fixable)…

It never hurts to have a few extra cables lying-around. :wink: If you live in the U.S., you can order good audio cables at very-low prices from They are cheap-enough that you can always buy extras.

Audacity is a troublesome program, at best,

No… Like any audio editor, it’s a somewhat complex program and your hardware & operating system have to be configured correctly, because it can only record what the operating system & drivers feed-in.

Thank you for your suggestion to try something different as a line-in source. I hooked up my iPod to the mike input cord, and, voila, the music played on the iPod came across loud and clear–and recorded perfectly–in Audacity.

Perhaps my stylus is the issue? It appears to be playing OK, but I just get a weak, ghostly and very hissy signal in Audacity… and it only records in one channel, despite claiming that it’s receiving stereo.

The cord works; Audacity still recognizes and records inputted sound… I’m thinking I may have just fouled up the stylus and need to buy a replacement. I’ll try that and see what happens…

Heh heh… wish there was a “Smiley” for “egg on my face…” I had the volume knob turned down on the phonograph. Thus, the headphone line didn’t have enough to send out to the laptop…

Oy vey!

We like folk who are brave enough to fess up publicly to their mistakes - for a start it may help some subsequent forum reader who does the same :sunglasses:

Glad you got it sorted.