Distorted Recording

The music I recorded sounded fine during the recording. But, when I played back the recording, the sound was distorted. It sounded sort of like it was being played in a barrel. Any idea what could be causing this?

I’m using Audacity 2.2.1 with Windows 7.

Yes. Recording into a wine glass?

Chances are terrific you’re using Windows automatic processing instead of sending your work straight through for recording.


Are you singing? Windows processing hates music.


I’ve tried following the link provided by Koz, but many of the settings suggested seem unavailable (at least I can’t find them) and ones I can find don’t help. Nothing I do gets rid of the “tunnel” or “barrel” sound upon playback of recorded music. The music sounds fine on the computer speakers while it is being recorded. But, it sounds like it is being played in a tunnel upon playback. Can Koz, or anyone, provide more specific ideas on what to try?

Can Koz, or anyone, provide more specific ideas on what to try?

It’s going to be “anyone.” I’m not good with dissecting the mysteries of Windows recording.

Nothing I do gets rid of the “tunnel” or “barrel” sound upon playback of recorded music

Chances are good the sound actually got recorded like that. It’s most unusual for the playback system to affect sound quality, although that’s happened, too.

I got a Win7 machine that would not pass sound quality testing no matter what I did. Turns out the Systems People forgot to turn off “Cathedral Effects” before they gave me the machine. Big difference.

Depending on where you plugged the headphones, you could be listening “upstream” from the sound processing—so it would appear clean.

You do have odd duck symptoms.

Where is the music coming from? We never established that.


Music is from one of the DirecTV music channels with a direct connection between the satellite receiver and the computer. The original sound is fine but the recorded version sounds like it’s being played in a tunnel. The link provided by Koz has a section entitled “Why do my recordings fade out or sound as if they were made in a tunnel?” But, I have been unable to accomplish the fixes described in this section.

I’m out.

You have a mystery problem on a Windows machine. One of the Windows elves may need to drop in.


Well, I’m embarrassed to say PROBLEM SOLVED. Turns out my LOGITECH camera/microphone was turned on. Logitech was picking up and recording the music from my speakers rather than the music being directly input to the computer from my satellite receiver. Once I corrected that, the recorded music sounded fine.

I had a similar problem - a distorted sound. I’m recording from vinyl records - using the headphone output from my amp and plugging that into the microphone jack of my computer. It was sounding kind of like it was in a barrel. It seemed similar to me to what recordings sound like when the source volume is cranked way up, you record it, and then you compensate by cranking the volume way down in playback.
Anyway, I went to “manage audio devices” in my Windows control panel and opened the microphone properties window. Under “enhancements” I clicked “disable all sound effects” and that took care of the problem.
By the way, my computer had set the microphone boost to +20.0 db by default - not sure why. I turned that off also.