burned CD from Audacity is loaded with noise

I started using Audacity last summer to take mp3 live conference recordings, divide them into tracks and edit out long silences, and burn onto CDs for use in our house. All worked fine. WIth this year’s conferences, I can take the mp3 and copy it onto a CD which plays both in the computer and on CD players. However, after I have worked hard to get it divided into tracks, and burn the CD (same set of new CDs), the speaker is barely audible and mostly there is an “underwater bubbling” sound when played on a CD player. I have tried about 8 times. Most of the CDs I’ve burned will play in at least one computer, without the extra noise, but NONE is playable on a CD player (which is what I really need…).

I have gone “back to the drawing board” at least three times, starting with the original recording and “re-editing” and saving into a new Audacity file. No difference. I was able to edit the recording (in Audacity) from a conference given in a different room, but with the same MyCorder (mp3) device, and it worked fine getting it onto a CD. It played in both CD players and computer.

Any thoughts how I can correct this problem before I go through my entire new CD supply?

I can take the mp3 and copy it onto a CD which plays both in the computer and on CD players.

There are 2 kinds of CDs:

An audio CD doesn’t contain “computer files” and if you want to copy the files to your computer you have to use a “CD ripper” application. You can play an audio CD in a CD player or on a computer.

A data CD contains computer files, such as MP3 files, WAV files or Excel files, etc. Most CD players can’t play MP3 or WAV files. (Many DVD/BluRay players will play MP3s or WAVs or other audio/video formats, but it’s not “required”.)

Open the CD with Windows Explorer and if you see MP3s, that’s your problem.

What software did you use for burning the CDs? Most burning applications can will decompress MP3s IF you configure the application to make an audio CD. But if you have an uncompressed original, it’s better to avoid the unnecessary lossy compression.

It’s also possible that you have some bad blank discs or some other burning problem. A use a program called Nero DiscSpeed to check my burned discs. It shows a graph of read-speed. With a good disc you’ll get a smooth-looking graph. With bad discs you’ll see “glitches” where it tries to re-read the data. (You try a known-good disc first so you know what you’re looking for.) I don’t think you can get it from Nero anymore, but it is available on the Net if you search for it. ImgBurn has a similar feature (and it can read/test the disc after burning) but you need a 3rd-party program to see the graph.

And don’t use MP3 anywhere in the process. MP3 creates compression distortion and you can’t stop it. Audio CDs use high quality WAV 44100, 16-bit uncompressed sound. If your conference was recorded that way, then stay there and don’t make a lower-quality MP3 in the middle.


There is an odd trick to this. A real Audio CD program will offer to let you set the spacing between songs. If you get no offer, then you’re using the wrong CD type.

This is a terrible example, but see where it would have let me set the Gap Between Songs. Audio CDs do that (the computer I’m typing on doesn’t have a CD burner).

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OK, I am going to try to respond to what I understood from various people. I am admittedly NOT a “techi” person so I didn’t even understand everything that was offered to me.

Firstly, I used “Audio CD” as the choice for burning my CDs. I used Windows Media Player and also tried CD Burner XP. The MP3 recording that I was able to divide into tracks using Audacity, and burn onto a CD that works both in the computer and on the CD player was done with Windows Media Player. In previous years I used Windows Media Player with no problem.

Someone suggested I try to open the CD in Windows Explorer. I am so un-techi that I don’t know how to do this. When I pop the CD into the computer, it opens automatically and I just click the arrow for “play”.

Someone suggested I check to see if I could put time between tracks. Yes, that was an option. But since the conference doesn’t pause, I didn’t want to create pauses.

Someone else suggested I not use MP3 anywhere in the process. I have no choice. My recording device is an MP3, and it worked fine in the past, and even worked for the last conference THIS year.

I looked for the NERO and did find it. I am using a computer that I don’t have authority to download new programs. I will consider trying to obtain that possibility.

The conference that went well from MP3 through Audacity editing and onto a CD that plays both on computer and on CD player was the very last conference of the 8 days. It was recorded in the chapel and not in the conference room. It never made a difference before. Even though it was the LAST conference, I edited it FIRST and it worked. One variable (besides the different recording site) that is different perhaps is that for the first time ever for me, I learned to use the “envelope” tool to increase the volume on some of the recording that was not done at a microphone. Should that make any difference on a NEW Audacity project (I don’t think so)?

It seems to me that I must have inadvertently hit something on the Audacity program that made a change where I didn’t want a change, and that is causing the underwater sound??? Any additional thoughts

You may have a batch of bad blank CDs or there may be a problem with your burner.

You can find Nero DiscSpeed [u]here[/u]. Agian, try a couple of known good discs first so you know what to expect from a good one.*

I have no choice. My recording device is an MP3,

Audacity decompresses the MP3 when you open it (so you’re not actually working with MP3).

You can export to a new MP3 file or as a WAV file. which I recommend. Check the Project Rate in the lower-left of the Audacity window, and if it’s not 44,100 Hz, change it to 44,100. Then export to WAV at 16-bit PCM. That’s the same underlying format as audio CDs, except the data on an audio CD is not in a WAV file “container”.

After you’ve exported to WAV (or to a new MP3) play the file(s) in Windows Media Player (or the player software of your choice) to make sure they are good.


  • P.S.
    DiscSpeed is a physical test. It tells you if you have a readable disc. It won’t tell you if the burned data/files are good. You could have “bad” MP3s or “bad audio” or Excel or Word files and as long as the disc is readable without errors it will “pass” DiscSpeed. It’s just part of the troubleshooting process.

I read through that several times and it seems you have either contradictory symptoms or incorrect assumptions. It also occurs to me as I write this you could have two or more problems. Nobody wrote this error has to be one thing.

Post two sound clips.

— One, the seemingly clear MP3 sample from the MP3 recorder.

— Play a damaged CD into a good-as-possible speaker system and record the damage on the live performance MP3 recorder. Post the recording. A lot of our shot-gunning derives from not experiencing the damage first hand. We’re all guessing based on past experience and failures.

You can only post about 2MB to the forum. That works out to about 10 seconds of high quality stereo WAV or 20 seconds of mono. MP3 will go longer for the same filesize.

By the way I’m firmly in the camp of going to the store and buying at least one fresh blank CD made by somebody else. You can have “tired blanks.” CD-R dye layers are similar to color photographs. Kodak has a phrase: “Dyes used in color photographs are fugitive and will in time fade.”

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By the way, you are using CD-R blanks, right?


Once you get your blanks made by somebody else, burn a test using a burner not yours.


Thank you for the new information.

I will answer the questions now and then try to find time later in the day to attempt to post the two items requested. I agree, hearing the problem first hand is sure to help. Or at least let you know what you are dealing with.

I AM using CD-R type of CDs. And they are never used, but not recently purchased. I have been in this house since Nov 2016, and they were here before me. That said, I used the same batch for the ONE CD that burned correctly as I did for all those that sound underwater. In addition, I used the same batch to successfully burn all eight conferences WITHOUT putting them through Audacity to create tracks. So I really don’t think it’s a problem with the CDs. But I will also see about purchasing new blanks.

To clarify: I did export files after making sure I was at 44,100 hz and 16-bit PCM. Not initially, but after reading troubleshooting items on line, I did it.
Unless someone else changed it after I used this computer last year to make the conference CDs for 2018 (HIGHLY UNLIKELY), last year I was 33,000 hz (or something like that). It made no difference when I went to 44,100 hz.

Thanks, and watch for a post (hopefully) in about six hours.

To clarify: I did export files after making sure I was at 44,100 hz and 16-bit PCM. Not initially, but after reading troubleshooting items on line, I did it.

Did you play those files with Windows Media Player to make sure they sound OK? Its possible to mess-up the sound with Audacity… Audacity is a tool, and just like with a hammer it’s easier to break stuff than to build stuff!

Unless someone else changed it after I used this computer last year to make the conference CDs for 2018 (HIGHLY UNLIKELY), last year I was 33,000 hz (or something like that). It made no difference when I went to 44,100 hz.

I believe that… Audio CDs are ALWAYS 44.1kHz. Your burning software will usually make the conversion, or if you feed it a format it can’t convert it will usually fail with a warning message. It shouldn’t make an invalid audio CD as long as you tell it to make an audio CD. (Of course, you CAN make a “data CD” with a 33kHz WAV or MP3 file but it won’t play on an audio CD player.)

But I will also see about purchasing new blanks.

Since you have a “magic” problem, it would be good to separate as much as possible the steps in the process and see what happens. If you burn new foreign blanks using a foreign burner and the problem instantly vanishes, then we have a pathway to solve the problem.

If that combination produces a bad disk, then we will have split the problem in half and given a new direction.

And please don’t make the process fuzzy by splitting the split. You should be able to tell us who made the fresh foreign disks and which foreign burner you used.


OK, I have the two sound recordings to send, but every time I try to drag and drop them (one at a time, or both together), they seem to come, then one opens up and starts to play, and when I “x” it out it has not loaded.

Now I re-read the directions! and it worked!

Sound 1 - I used the computer to move the original recording from the MyCorder (MP3) to the IPOD we use in the dining room. I then played the recording in the dining room, and used the MyCorder to record (without any connections - just free) a piece of the functional recording. It is not outstanding, but it is decently clear. IN real life it is clearer.

Sound 2 is the same MyCorder recording the “bad” CD that plays in the computer where the disc was burned, and plays on the CD player/stereo system in the dining room, but does NOT play properly in a “regular” CD player, nor in my PERSONAL computer. This demonstrates the “underwater” effect that I am talking about, and I think the little recording demonstrates it satisfactorily.

Thanks for whatever help you can give.

Thank you for the work to get those clips.

[Stunned Silence]

I’ve never heard anything like that before.

I know it’s a terrible idea to ignore clues no matter if they appear important or not. Please note the blue waves are damaged and it has nothing to do with the sound quality. See the bottom wave doesn’t center itself up and down around zero like the top wave does. That error is called DC Offset and it almost always happens before the sound gets digitized—like in the recorder. That error appears in both of your test clips. You may need to boost the volume to see it. Cut off that tick at the end and Effect > Amplify > OK.

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You can get rid of that in Audacity, but it’s a little involved.

Drop-down Menus on the left > Split Stereo Track.

Select the bottom track > Effect > Normalize > [X] Remove DC only > OK. See the track jumps up?

Top track left menu > Make Stereo Track. That will put them back together without the damage.

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You should correct a performance like that and see if it makes any difference after the burn. I’m guessing no.

When the fresh new disks come in, where are you going to borrow a different burner? It used to be every computer had one, but they’re getting scarce.


Oh, also, both of your clips appear to be at 32000 sample rate instead of 44100 (audio CD quality). Does the recorder slip down to lower rate by itself as a default?


Once again, I’ll answer the questions as best I can and then do my “homework” when I can carve out time.

When I made the sound clips, I just picked up one of the CDs in the “dead” pile in my office. It must have been one of the earlier ones to still be at the lower hz. But when I went to the 44,100 it didn’t make any difference. When I do the “homework” I’ll make sure it’s at 44, 100 hz.

Where am I going to borrow a CD burner? Probably next door. I will ask if they have one. But the question is, doesn’t their computer also have to have Audacity downloaded on it? I tried to copy one of the projects onto a flash drive and take it to my personal computer to burn the CD there. That burner I was able to use to burn “unedited, undivided into tracks” conference tapes that work in a CD player. Just not as convenient to not have tracks. If you are using a CD player and “miss” something the speaker says due to being distracted, etc., you can’t “rewind” like you did on a casette player to listen to that little bit again…if you have it divided into five minute tracks, at least you can just go to the start of the track…

Am I wrong about not being able to save a project on a flash drive? If not, then I really have to go to the other computer, download Audacity, edit my original recording, and burn the CD, all next door.

Thanks for all your help. And I’m glad you were able to hear the underwater sound. Is there a better way to describe it?

doesn’t their computer also have to have Audacity downloaded on it?

Export your work as either WAV or MP3 and take that over. If it’s Windows, Windows Media should be able to handle it and for Mac, iTunes.

Please note the goal is not to burn stuff across the street forever. This is a diagnostic measure. If that burn works, we get to work backwards and see if we can figure out which part of the process is causing problems.

For one example, if that burn works, burn the same show on your existing burner with the new CDs.

Work out from there. This is classic troubleshooting technique. Divide the system in half and see what happens. Take the half that stays broken and split that in half. Repeat as needed.

The nightmare scenario is when both halves stay broken. There’s techniques for that, too, but they border on Science Fiction.


In the case of a Mac, you create an iTunes Playlist and pile in all your songs or segments in the order you want them to play. A Playlist will allow you to use any order, it doesn’t have to be alphabetic.

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Then burn.

I moved from the Land of Windows before Windows Media came out. So I have no idea how they do it.


If you are using a CD player and “miss” something the speaker says due to being distracted, etc., you can’t “rewind” like you did on a casette player to listen to that little bit again

Yeah you can. Press and hold the forward or backward buttons and they should scan forward or backward. Tap them and they go to the next chapter.

Some players have separate scan and skip buttons.

This is the world’s worst stand-alone recording. This is a commercial CD in a tiny Sony CD player.


Software players have a progress bar and you can grab the bar and push backwards if you miss something. DVD players work that way, too.