Digital "analog" tape hiss?

Hi folks,

I’m having some issues with some sort of background static when I record. It’s almost like my old nemesis, analog tape hiss from the old Tascam! :smiling_imp:

I’m using Absynth and other Native Instruments gear as a stand alone virtual synths with an M-audio Axiom 61 hooked up via USB and the recordings are clear but there is about 24 -db of hiss and crackle I’m not sure what’s causing it. I have tried lowering the recording volume but that doesn’t seem to eliminate it.

And yes, I’ve got 1.3.9

M-Audio equipment uses ASIO sound drivers. Audacity doesn’t support ASIO. I assume you’re in Windows? See if the equipment has Windows drivers and use them.


Thanks. Yes, I have it set for MME or the HD Audio on my motherboard. With ASIO selected I get no sound at all.

I have noticed that the same thing happens if I accidentally record a song off Youtube, so it’s not just the M-audio equipment.

The PC case was been cleaned of dust last sunday. No loose connections.

What’s the chance that the noise is coming from the playback side? Take a noisy music file and play it on Something Else.


I know you’re waiting for someone to post that you should push the green button and all the problems will be over. I’m waiting for them, too.

You can use Audacity as a diagnostic tool. Launch it and click once inside the red record meters. After a split second, they will wake up and meter the incoming sound without you going into record. This is good when you’re troubleshooting for two hours and don’t want to capture a two-hour long music file.

You can also select Hardware or Software playthrough in Audacity Preferences and that will allow you to hear what you’re doing on the computer speakers or headphones.

<<<And yes, I’ve got 1.3.9>>>

Can you back up? 1.3.9 had some interesting problems. I use 1.3.7 for everything and I’m not the only editor to find they had to back up to an earlier version to get work done.


I’ve got the same sound on my laptop and the desktop and when I record with Audacity 1.2.4 or whatever the earlier version I have is. I can hear it even when Audacity is not on so I don’t think it’s Audacity but… what could it be? It’s right at -24 db on the Audacity level meter. Hmm nice I didn’t know you could watch the levels even w/o hitting record - thanks for that tip! :slight_smile:

<<<Hmm nice I didn’t know you could watch the levels even w/o hitting record - thanks for that tip!>>>

I do sound testing and I live in that mode.

I don’t think you have a lot of choices. You’ll have to split the system up. Plug your USB thing into something else or just unplug it altogether and see if you can get a cheap analog computer microphone to work plugged into the straight sound card.


I have the same scratchy sound whether the USB keyboard is plugged in or not. I only loose the sound when I unplug the mic from the sound card and Audacity has no input signal. When I play the track and record the next one the scratchy sound is amplified. I can even make a track entirely of static without even having a synth hooked up or doing anything but hitting the record button as long as there is a line running from the headphone jack to the sound card. Is there any other way to get sound into Audacity?

Does the sound card or the CPU itself actually make that much noise?

<<<Does the sound card or the CPU itself actually make that much noise?>>>

It can. They warn you when you’re installing a sound card to place it as far away from other electronics as possible – particularly the video card. The inside of a computer is very electrically noisy and a completely hostile place for a sound device.

On a Windows machine, it’s really easy to record multiple sources by accident. That gives you the famous,
“How come when I’m recording my turntable, it picks up my voice talking to the cat.”

That’s because you left your microphone open by accident and you’re recording both.

Windows Control Panel