Audio quality differences

Hi all, I’m new to this kind of stuff. Been using Audacity for about 10 days now to record a podcast over Skype. Now there’s something I’ve noticed with my voice playback. It is a lot better sounding during a Skype chat than it is when just talking into the mic with Audacity the only program running.

What do you think this could be?

“Better sounding” is highly subjective. Can you provide a couple of short audio examples?
See here for how to post audio samples:

I suppose a good way to put it is that there’s more of a raw sound with a crackle and more clipping when I’m just recording myself which I fix with the amplify effect. When I’m recording my voice whilst using Skype it doesn’t usually need editing. I’m using Windows 7 x64, I presume the latest version of Audacity and the built in mic on a Sony Vaio (I’m at work & don’t know the model no. off the top of my head. Starts with VCP).

You probably need to lower the recording level.
See here:
A good recording level is about half the track height. You can use the Amplify effect after recording to bring the level up a bit.