Distorted audio even when recording on local machine?

I was doing a recording with another person using a site called Zencastr. It records two separate tracks from each user’s local machine. While having our conversation on Zoom, because Zencastr doesn’t do video, I could hear distortion, but I thought that wouldn’t be an issue because Zencastr was making a local recording from the other person’s computer.

But the final track is just as distorted as what I could hear on zoom. Here’s a sample of how it sounds in a lot of places:


Is this salvageable with Audacity 2.4.2? If so, any tips and resources I could take a look to? I don’t even know what the name for this kind of problem is.
I’m somewhat familiar noise reduction, but only when I can sample a piece of noise which doesn’t overlap with any other sound.

On the side, even if I were able to get another re-recording, I’m confused as to what the issue could have been, given what I have is a local recording from their computer. Any ideas on that? I’ve not had this issue before.

I think you’re stuck. There are portions of the recording with no voice.

There may be ways to record high quality local voices on the same machine that’s managing Zoom (or Skype), but I haven’t found it.

All the times I’ve had to do this, the voices were recorded on separate machines.

I’m on a new computer, so I’m missing some of my sound examples. !@#$%

There’s a shorter version of this around…somewhere.


Denise and I are four time zones apart. We’re both broadcast professionals, so we’re both wearing headphones. I recorded my voice through a sound mixer and her voice in the same mixer connected to the Skype computer speaker feed. The mixer sound is recorded on a separate computer. It could have been any sound recorder.

The music was because I was trying to see how much of this I could get in one pass, like a live radio show. That needs a lot of work, but music was just another connection to the sound mixer.

You are listening to all the hoops Zoom has to jump through to get bi-directional voices to work without feedback and (too many) dropouts. It is possible that Zencaster is set up wrong. It’s also possible it’s struggling with a bad internet connection. I know people that are able to get Audacity to record the local microphone before Zoom gets to it, but that’s a juggling act and it doesn’t always work.

This was a video show? Do you have a good video editor?

As a backup next time, set your smartphones for a voice recording and just lay them on the table next to each person. Make sure the microphone is up. Most times that means the phone is face-down. That’s how I shot this in a noisy restaurant.

That was either Apple Voice Memo or Music Memo, I forget which. Note this only works if everybody is wearing headphones or earphones.

Screen Shot 2020-07-10 at 6.47.44 PM.jpg
You are experiencing a Movie/Television oddity. Nobody pays any attention to the sound until it stops working. Without the sound, you can all go home.


Here’s another one. These people’s voices tend to survive a lot better than the people that insist on announcing into the room cold—in the general direction of the computer.