Distortion in the recording

On some recording sessions I get distortion or glitches (not sure what to really call it). I have a sample here:
There are actually two samples there, each about ten seconds long, to show two different levels of distortion. There’s a third, lower level, where there’s just the occasional click. I have no idea what causes it. It’ll be recording just fine and I’ll stop to correct an error and when I start up again, with no change in setup, it might continue just fine, or it might suddenly have distortion. I’ve only had this since I got the Windows 8 machine a few months ago. The previous machine (windows 7) had a different problem, where there’d be a surge (I’m guessing) and it would skip bits of the recording. That’s why I replaced it with this one, but this is just as annoying.

Any thoughts or ideas?

Windows 8
Audacity 2.0.3 (from .exe)

I can’t listen at the moment because I’m at work. The “click” could be “buffer overflow”, which could have a couple of possible causes.

If you are recording at “high resolution” (more than 48kHz/16-bit) try at 48kHz, and no more than 24-bits. This will reduce the amount of data your computer has to handle. (There are no 32-bit soundcards, so there’s no point in recording at 32-bits.) Don’t go too low… If you go lower than 44.1kHz/16-bit (CD quality) you might notice the quality loss.

A modern computer should be able to handle high resolution audio, but there are things that can muck it up, and lowering the data rate can sometimes be a quick fix, or might lead to a better diagnosis & fix.

It might also help if you tell us what hardware you have and how you are hooked-up, etc. i.e. Do you have a microphone plugged into the “mic” input, a USB microphone? …Do you have something plugged-into your soundcard’s line-input? …Are you using a built-in soundcard/soundchip, or do you have an external interface, etc.?

Thanks. I’m recording at 44.1 kHz/16-bit. I’m using an AT2020 plugged into a micport pro pre amp, which goes to a usb port.