Audio Is Distorted After Exported

I have version 2.1.1 and I can’t remember how I installed it.

Main issue: My audio from Audacity sounds severely distorted and quiet when I post it on YouTube or other places. The only time it sounds correct is when played on YouTube through headphones. Here is a link to the video; the audio before 0:10 was not recorded through Audacity, and that audio sounds fine:


I have used Audacity many times with several different microphones, and I was always able to export the audio as a WAV file, send it via iCloud to my iPad or iPhone, and put it into iMovie. Then I would save the iMovie video and upload it to YouTube, and the quality of the sound never changed throughout the process.

Now, however, I recorded some music yesterday and transferred it to iMovie in the same way, and when I saved the video the audio was severely distorted and quiet. It sounded fine on Audacity and while editing the video, but once I saved the video it was terrible. I figured it was an iMovie problem, so instead I used Windows Movie Maker on my computer to combine the video and audio. Again, it sounded completely fine. Then I uploaded the video to YouTube, and now people are saying that they cannot hear it. I discovered that the sound is normal when played through headphones, but it is severely distorted when playing through the speaker. I also tried to upload a piece of the video to Instagram, and it was distorted there as well in both headphones and speaker.

The reason I believe this is a problem with Audacity and not YouTube or the video editing programs is that there is a small section at the beginning of the video that has audio from my phone, not Audacity, and that section sounds normal.

The only thing I did differently this time is that I used phantom power with my microphone, and there were some new cables involved. I don’t see how that could affect it, though, because the audio is completely fine when played on Audacity.

I think that firmly establishes that the problem is not with Audacity.

The overall volume level of your video is a little low compared to most YouTube videos, though worth noting that a lot of YouTube videos are far too loud and distort badly. You could safely increase the level of the mix by 6 dB.

I’ve not listened to the entire video, but the parts that I’ve listened to do are not “severely distorted”.

Does your microphone require phantom power? If not, turn it off.
That is not relevant to this problem though - the only thing “wrong” with the audio is that it is “a bit” (but not excessively) quiet. To fix that, after you have mixed down the recording to a single track, normalize to -1 dB and then export (as WAV). Currently your peak level is about -8.5 dB.

I can’t explain all of the problems, but a microphone system change can do magic things by accident.

Zoom repeatedly until you can see the individual up and down motion of the stereo blue waves. (Control-Scroll??)

On a normal sound segment, I expect most of the up and down blue waves to be going the same direction. I expect yours to be opposite.
Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 5.51.47 PM.png
Describe your whole microphone system. Connecting a higher quality XLR microphone to a computer system wrong can do this.


I think Koz has identified the problem : apart from the first ~10 seconds, the two channels are in anti-phase, (maybe you inverted one of them to create a wide stereo-effect).
That will sound OK on stereo headphones, but on devices with mono playback the anti-phase channels will cancel each other out , (destructive-interference), and all you will hear are compression-artifacts, which are a “severely distorted” version …

(maybe you inverted one of them to create a wide stereo-effect).


and there were some new cables involved


Doctors have what they call a “doorknob moment.” That’s when the patient has just passed a thorough examination and seems to be in perfect health, but on his way out—with his hand on the doorknob—turns and says: “I throw up blood every night before I go to bed. That’s not important, is it?”

Describe in detail everything in your microphone system. Model numbers.


:blush: I’m embarrassed that I missed that :blush:
In my defence, it was late at night M’Lord :wink:

The other points that I made still stand - there is no “severe distortion”, and the overall peak level is a little low, but yes, the major problem is that (apart from the first 10 seconds) the left and right channels are almost completely out of phase (upside down) from each other.

If you have a soundcard featuring a Mic-In and it has both battery and sound connections “hot” (increasingly common), then this adapter cable will give you out-of-phase, or badly phased stereo show with very nearly any XLR microphone.
Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.38.14 AM.png
Hosa XLR Female to Right-angle 1/8" TRS Cable - 15’

Not recommended.

We’ve experienced condenser microphones that claim to be able to work on the soundcard 5 volts and anything else up to the conventional 48 volts. The microphone that appeared here also featured incomprehensible instructions.


I zoomed in, and you’re right, the waves were opposite. Is there a way I can fix this?

I use a Neewer NW-800 microphone and I don’t know what brand the phantom power and cables are. The microphone connects to the phantom power XLR to XLR, and the phantom power connects to my computer XLR to 3.5mm. Before, I just had a cable that connected my microphone directly to my computer XLR to 3.5mm, and I never had a problem.

I do have a Neewer E-10 soundcard, but I haven’t ever used it. Would this help avoid this problem?

If you delete one of the two antiphase tracks, (either one as they are identical), that will solve the cancellation problem …
Demo of ''Split Stereo to mono'' (then delete one track).gif
The sound will then be mono, rather than wide-stereo.

Antiphase tracks are only a problem for anyone listening in mono, (e.g. via a some mobile phones), who won’t be able to hear anything except faint digital noises.

As above, you can get back to a natural-sounding track by converting to two-track mono and just flush one of the two tracks. Mono (one blue wave) is generally recommended for single voice applications anyway, unless you have a client that requires something else. If you do, converting back to two correct blue waves isn’t all that hard.

I need to go look up your equipment. So one of your options is that cable I posted, right?
Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 5.02.39 PM.png
As we go.


Right. When I used that cable alone with no phantom power (it just went straight from my microphone to my computer), I didn’t have any problems. It was when I used phantom power that I had the issue; like I said, I had an XLR to XLR cable from my microphone to the phantom power, and the cable you pictured from the phantom power to my computer.

Neewer E-10 soundcard

No. Won’t help.

The short answer is stick with what was working before.

The microphones in this series all work by a delicate juggling act between Pro and Home recording. Change any one thing, as you found, and some part of the system may stop working, sometimes weirdly at the worst possible time.

From the instructions, the worst thing that happens with a simple cable connection to the computer might be slightly low volume. If your performances have been OK, keep doing them that way.

If you upgrade the computer, it’s entirely possible something may go wrong again.

I have used a Behringer UM2 soundcard.

It will supply full 48 volt phantom power to the microphone and provides a USB connection to the computer. It has a separate headphone connection so you can listen to yourself without echoes. It will need a cable like this.

So that’s one way out of this using a more conventional soundcard. I would still stick with what works.


Okay, I’ll go back to what I was doing before, and I’ll keep the Behringer soundcard in mind. Thank you for your help!

Thanks for your help! I was able to fix it this way.