Can anyone help a newbie please?

Hello everyone,

I have a problem concerning the barking of dogs and in searching for help in resolving it I’ve found my way to Audacity through Internet searches. It’s a wonderful programme and I’m amazed that something so complex and detailed can be Freeware, I shall be making a donation in support.

The problem. My neighbour’s dog barks all the time when he leaves his home and it’s becoming very stressful, I’m well on in years and it’s affecting my quality of life seriously. Only the thickness of a brick separates his living room from mine and when the dog barks it sounds as if it’s actually sat beside me, truly it is as bad as that. I want to record this barking so that I can show him, or anyone else who can help me, just how bad the problem is. The trouble I’m facing is it hardly registers at all on the Audacity screen when recording or on play back.

My setup

Audacity version 2.0.1

Operating System. Windows XP Build 2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.12054-1619: Service Pack 3

PC. Compaq Presario (R) 4CPU 3/06GHz. 3.07GHz. 1.00GB Ram 32 bit.

Sound card. Using the built in one

Microphone. Freestanding inexpensive USB one bought from China through the Internet.

Although the microphone didn’t cost much it does appear to be remarkably sensitive picking up clearly the slightest sound from many metres away.

My questions please.

Are there any settings within Audacity that would help in recording the dog barking?

I can’t pretend to understand what Hz means, its presently set on 44100 and changing it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Would a particular setting on the Amplitude scale help?

Is recording in Mono best or Stereo?

I guess a flat surfaced usb microphone that I could fasten to the dividing wall would be better than the freestanding one that I have as that picks up every single background noise, does anyone have any idea where I might find one?

Any help at all would be most appreciated.

Kind regards,


My neighbour’s dog barks all the time when he leaves his home

He’s doing security duty. They do that. Unless they’re trained not to, they will do whatever they think is needed to protect the home from intruders. Most people have no idea the dog is doing that and it’s an interesting surprise when they find out.


What’s the dog’s name? If you only know them as “that stupid dog,” then this is pretty much useless. The only two times I was ever able to get the owners to hush their dogs were Harley across the street who sat in the open window and screamed all the time the owners weren’t at home, and Boca and Flint who outweigh me and liked to protect the property at full volume whether or not the owners were home. I got to know the owners and the dogs, “the kids” and obliquely suggested that it would be good if Boca didn’t make a lot of noise before 7am and Harley would be just as happy at a window pointed away from the street.

The alternative to that is “That Damn Dog” across the other street which we got to discuss with the police at 3:30 am. That was a lot less pleasant.

Anyway, if you get any recording at all, you might be able to bring it up with the Amplify tool.

Get a recording, Effect > Amplify and set the bottom number to -1 > OK.

If there’s anything there, that should bring it up to where it’s useable. Yes, this is going to bring up all the noises and odd events in your room, too. That’s how microphones work. They don’t have brains that can tune things out. Most people are shocked how noisy their house is the first time they try to make a recording.


Is that a laptop or a desktop computer? If a laptop you might actually be recording its built-in microphone and not the USB mic.

What do you have as the recording device in Audacity?


Good point. Yes, I think the Presario is a laptop.

Only the thickness of a brick separates his living room from mine and when the dog barks it sounds as if it’s actually sat beside me

I had a Compaq Presario that was a desk top (long ago) but the Monitor had a built in Mic. so it could also be a monitor mic. as far a getting a flat mic to hang on the wall, you get them from Radio shack, best buy or comp USA. They are not very expensive and just ask the clerk for help, You will need to know if you wqnt a USB or an RCA type plug. Marty

Thank you to all who replied to this, much appreciated.

Best wishes,