Crunch noise when I transfer original recordings to Audacity

I record my original songs on an external digital recorder (Fostex VF80), then transfer these recordings onto my computer via Audacity. I’ve had good results for years with this method.

However, I recently got a new computer and a new Audacity version 2.0.5. When I now attempt a music transfer I get this crunching noise When the music is going at good volume it overpowers the crunch noise, but when the music has its quiet parts you can hear the noise. When I do all of this on my old computer the noise is not there.

When I transfer a CD from my Fostex recorder to my new computer with Audacity the noise is not there. And when I record directly into my new computer with a microphone, the noise is not there. It only seems to happen from my recordings of my own music. When I play back the recordings I get the cruch, crunch sound.

Any idea on how I can eliminate this noise? Thanks.

How are you doing that?

It looks like the Fostex doesn’t have a USB connector. So, it looks like the only way to get a digital transfer to the computer would be from the CD.

I’m not sure why you are getting less noise with a microphone, but there is always some noise (and distortion, etc.) with analog. With consumer soundcards the quality of the line-input is hit-and-miss. It’s generally considered “bad practice” to make a digital-to-analog-to-digital recording.

Simply with a 1/4" jack headphone output from the recorder to the 1/4" jack input on my computer. This simple method has worked perfectly for me for over 10 years now, and produces a good quality copy that I’m 100% satisfied with. But on my new computer I’m getting that crunching noise (but only with the transfer via audacity … and not when I record something with a mic straight into the computer via Audacity ). I don’t get this problem on my old computer.

My old computer has Windows XP. My new computer has Windows 7.


the 1/4" jack input on my computer.

1/4" jack or the 1/8" jack? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1/4" jack on a computer. What does that jack say or what is the icon?

Newer Windows laptops do not have a stereo Line-In connection, only a connection for a microphone or a headset.

Did I hit it? There’s not enough detail in your post to be sure.

Sorry, my mistake. it’s a 1/8" input. By “new” computer I mean a refurbished one. It’s an Optiplex 780 desktop.

When I run the cord from my recorder’s 1/8" output to my computer’s 1/8" input, and then press play on my recorder, I can hear the noise whether or not I’m recording it with Audacity (if I don’t press play on the recorder, I can’t hear the noise). However, if I plug headphones into the same 1/8" output on the recorder and then press play on the recorder, I hear zero noise through the headphones.

I’m thinking it may be a problem with the computer’s 1/8" input hole. I’m getting that crunching sound, plus some raised background noise as well … I never had this problem on my old computer, and I was using the exact same transferring technique with great results.

When I play music on my computer from other sources I have no problems at all.

In my previous post I said it might be the 1/8" jack connection in the computer that’s causing the noise. Not so sure though. I just plugged a microphone directly into that input and no noise at all, whether or not I recorded into Audacity.

So the crunching noise only happens when I plug my recorder into my computer and press play on the recorder. But when I do the same thing on my old computer I get no crunching noise.

You should probably take a powerful flashlight back there and tell us what connection you’re plugging into. Is it blue? Does it have names, letters or icons? We only know what you tell us and there are millions of different soundcards out there.

That’s a simple, older soundcard with the three major connections: Headphone or stereo Line-Out (green or black), Stereo Line-In (blue) and Mono Microphone-In (pink).

We installed one series of soundcards that didn’t follow the colors right and it drove Engineering and Maintenance crazy, so they do exist.

Microphone Connection (pink) and the Stereo Hi-Fi Connections (blue) are very, very different. You can’t sub one for the other and you do have to pay strict attention. The pink connection is to be used with a microphone such as this one.

The blue connection is appropriate for a stereo music player such as a portable CD player, dance music mixer or a cassette player.

If you plugged a microphone into that socket and it started working, then that’s the wrong socket for stereo music.


I’m plugging into the one “microphone” input at the front of the computer. This has worked perfectly for me for the past 10 years when transferring my original recordings from my Fostex recorder. Via Audacity, and this method, I get very nice sounding recordings of this music on my computer.

The trouble is, on my new computer “only” and using the same technique, I get this crunching noise + a bit of extra background noise. But not on my old computer.

I love recording on the Fostex, as it produces a great and accurate sound and is easy to use.

Your old computer may be more tolerant of different volume levels than the new one. What you have now is normal and a very common problem. There are instructional web sites that tell you to plug your stereo equipment into Mic-In. That doesn’t work in a majority of cases.

Use the old computer, go around to the rear of the new computer and look for a blue Stereo-Line-In connection, or buy a stereo USB sound adapter such as the Behringer UCA202.