Audacity sound problem and Windows 8

Is anybody else having problems with Audacity 2.03 or Windows sound recorder when using Windows 8. When I listen to audio coming from sources like BBC Radio iPlayer or Youtube directly the quality of the audio is mostly fine. The same is true of music files I have transferred from my old machine running Vista and listening to them on the Windows 8 machine. Windows 8 on this machine, HP Pavilion, is set up for English and French keyboard.

However if I use Audacity or Windows 8 sound recorder to record audio being played on the computer on playback there is a strange distortion. Not so noticeable on speech but music sounds like it is coming from under water. I have tried changing recording levels and sample rates but with no good result. The same thing happens to known good recordings loaded into Audacity as a file and again on playback distortion. There is no question of acoustic feedback as there is no mic on the Windows 8 machine and the distortion occurs when the speakers are on or off during the recording. So any thoughts anyone?..JR

Try turning off Windows Sound “Enhancements” and playback sound effects in your sound device: .


Windows out of the box is intended to be a communications device, not general purpose computer. Enhanced Services is designed to suppress background noises during Skype or other conferencing. Any sustained musical note is seen as “air conditioning noise” and suppressed.


Ok after much fiddling can now load files of music and edit and resave them with no obvious distortion. However distortion very obvious when playing back after recording streaming audio. Not too much of a problem except where you cannot download files as in BBC iPlayer radio. I notice that when recording streaming audio the slider at the top right hand side of the Audacity control panel with the loudspeaker symbol controls recording level which strikes me as being odd. The other slider with the microphone symbol does nothing but then I don’t have a mic connected to this machine…JR

Perhaps you are recording too loud or have not turned all effects and enhancements off.

Perhaps you are recording from the wrong input. You should be choosing stereo mix or what u hear. See Audacity Manual .

When recording computer playback, both the Audacity output (loudspeaker) slider and input (microphone) slider should affect the recording level, because both affect the level of what you are recording.

Perhaps your sound device does not have the correct drivers: Missing features - Audacity Support .


Thanks but found nothing in Windows called effects and enhancements. Checked Audacity no effect turned on. Using stereo mix nothing else enabled. On Audacity the speaker slider controls the recording level but the mic slider has no effect in any position. Of course there is no mic connected to this machine…JR

“Mic Slider” is a stand-in for Recording Level wherever the sound comes from. Everybody knows what a microphone is, but what’s the international symbol for a recording?

Actually, I think there is one. It’s that fan with the arrow pointing in.

Anyway, did you build your computer? I got to use a Windows computer after the Systems Department people got done messing with it. They left the Music Hall effects running in the playback service – and didn’t tell me. It did take me a while to sort it. “No dear, it’s just live car park music. It’s not supposed to sound like third row back at Radio City.”

Win8 is advanced enough that we’re not aware of all the oddities yet. Each version Microsoft oozes in some changes that make life interesting. Traditionally, Stereo-Mix ran playback and recording at the same time and smashed them together. The playback and record services were all working and both sets of volume controls worked – leading to complaints about speaker volume.

Maybe they fixed that in Win8.

I know this doesn’t help, but Self Recording is not a guaranteed service. Some computers don’t support it at all without money-based software or additional hardware.

It’s an HP machine, but did we ever establish who made the soundcard? Self-Recording is a dance between the sound card, drivers, and the operating system. They all have to be there willingly.

music sounds like it is coming from under water.

That is so “Quack’s Like A Duck.” That’s precisely what conferencing Echo Cancellation (Windows Enhanced Services) sounds like. It’s scary that in Win8, Microsoft may have made it so you can’t turn that off.


I think you agree this is not an Audacity problem if Windows Sound Recorder has the same problem.

Windows 8 is almost no different to Windows 7 as regards audio behaviour.

As Koz says, the Audacity input slider should affect whatever input you choose in Audacity. If the input slider does not affect stereo mix then your sound device is partially broken.

That’s why I suggested checking on the drivers of your sound device. See . If you need help with that, please give the make and model number of the computer. Is it a Dell or Lenovo you bought complete, or did you build it yourself?

Note that if you have “Beats Audio” you won’t be able to solve the problem because that motherboard sound device is complete crap. In that case, get a USB sound card and ask the computer manufacturer to pay for it.


As an experiment I have downloaded a trial copy of Wondershare streaming audio recorder. This does not produce the distortion that I am hearing with Windows recorder or Audacity. So I can download music with Wondershare and then transfer the file and edit with Audacity but it is strange that Wondershare works ok in Windows 8 and Audacity and Windows own recorder has this problem and yes this machine does have Beats Audio…JR

Hopefully your experience of that software is better than two of the reviews on CNet:

Installed some shopping spyware, corrupted Chrome, installed some music toolbar, hi-jacked homepage and search engines, installed software that could not be disabled. Forced to use Windows Restore to reload system to remove evil virus

… Like DSunhammer said, I’m glad they didn’t get my bank account. The software totally takes over your system and OS. I was able to reject all crapware offers during the install process but still it has a brain of its own. It becomes your default software to open video and audio files. Changing it on the windows preferences only affects that session until the next Windows reboot. Takes longer than itunes or WMP to load so it would definitely NOT be my preferred player.
It affects your audio drivers, volume, delays audio and more while open.

I recommend everyone who has a machine that has “Beats Audio” and the machine is still under warranty to press the computer manufacturer to supply a USB sound card at their expense. That is the best way to give them the message to sort out this problem.

Apparently not everyone gets malware (immediately) as a result of using Wondershare, but we will not recommend it on the Forum.

Exactly what device or option do you choose to record streaming audio in Wondershare? My guess it is using Windows WASAPI loopback recording and so bypassing “Beats Audio”. If so, this feature is available in the new 2.0.4 release: Audacity ® | Download for Windows .

To use this feature, please read this Tutorial in the Manual Audacity Manual .