Distorted / Limiting Recording [SOLVED]

Hi, I have been using Audacity for a year or two on my old Win 7 laptop with no problems but I have just upgraded to a new laptop with Win 8.1 and I installed the latest version of Audacity. Now when I try to record anything the recording is un intelligible with extreme distortion and extreme limiting and also a v. slight bubbly effect. I have tried to turn off the special audio effects on my laptop but this makes no difference. I had tried to post on this before but it failed to appear, possibly because I tried to attach a short mp3 file so will try again without the mp3 and try to send it separately after.
Hope somwone can offer some thoughts on this.

You may not have looked in enough places Audacity Manual.

If that does not help please tell us exactly what you are trying to record with exactly what equipment (make and model numbers).

Attachments are limited to about 1 MB. Please see here for how to attach files: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1


Recording distortion usually comes from the “analog side”, or from overloading your analog-to-digital converter. The most common cause is plugging a line-level signal into a microphone input.

Windows has some optional digital “enhancements” that can alter the sound when you record, but Audacity only captures the digital data and sends it to your hard drive (until you optionally edit and process it later). Sometimes there are more “enhancements” for playback, sometimes supplied with your soundcard drivers & utilities.

“Bubbly” effects could be caused if you export to low quality (low-bitrate) MP3 or another highly-compressed format. If you export to WAV you should get almost exactly what Audacity captured (depending on the particular settings).

Hi Gale,
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply and to point me in the right direction to the relevant help area.
I am not too conversant with this technology so I will take a while to study the help files. In the mean time I will try to attach a small file of my recording effort.
I tried turning on and off the playback enhancements and reducing the recording volume. I am trying to record some radio 4 programs on my Win 8.1 lapyop after downloading latest, 2.6 audacity.
Thanks again for your kind help, I will report back if I find out the problem, (incidentally, I downloaded the latest audacity onto another older laptop running Win 7 and the recording was just as distorted on that one! I had an older version of audacity on a different Win 7 machine downloaded a year or so ago and that behaves perfectly!).
Kind regards,

The recording isn’t too loud, but apart from anything else, the frequencies above 8000 Hz are being lopped off to almost nothing instead of tailing off. It sounds like some unwanted effect or processing is going on. Audacity doesn’t do that when recording, so you will have to look at turning off all sound effects and enhancements.

Have you read Tutorial - Recording Computer Playback on Windows? You don’t say but are you recording with Stereo Mix or What U Hear of your built-in sound device, as chosen in Audacity’s Device Toolbar? You could try using Windows WASAPI recording instead as described in that Tutorial. What you don’t want to do is record computer playback using the internal microphone or a cable plugged into the microphone port of the laptop.

You can record computer playback using a cable but you need a stereo line-in separate from the microphone to do that, and most laptops do not have that.


Hi DVDdoug and Gale,
Thank you so much for your very helpful input and as a result of your advise I eventually found that if I changed the setting from MME to WASAP the problem was rectified.
Of course I have no idea what this actually did but now I can record any audio being played on my laptop! Fantastic - what a great forum this is!
Thanks again for taking the time to help.
John. :smiley: