Distortion/interference on Audacity recordings

Current operating system: Windows 7 Ultimate
Current Audacity version: 2.0.6

I had been using an earlier version of Audacity regularly and successfully on a previous computer for several years. Then I bought a new computer. I believe my son-in-law (who was my personal “Help Desk”) installed the same operating system on the new computer as was on the old one. He then installed Audacity 2.0.6, a later version than I had on the previous computer. Since then, all I can do with Audacity is manipulate files originally recorded with other software. Files now recorded directly to Audacity, regardless of source, include so much interference/distortion as to render them useless. This applies to recordings from audio sources within the computer itself, e.g. Sirius XM, or other live-streaming sources, as well as to external audio sources, e.g. a turntable, audio cassette deck, PVR, VCR, etc. So far as I know, the only new variables are the new computer and the newer version of Audacity.

Is there an obvious solution, or are there any obvious issues I should be checking, that is, anything other than just downloading and trying other versions of Audacity? If that is the only obvious thing to try, which available version of Audacity would be the one to try, just the latest one?

Any help/suggestions at all will be gratefully received.

I bought a new computer.

Describe the computer. Deskside? I’m betting a laptop.

Newer laptop computers are missing the high-level stereo connection older machines have. This causes problems for cassette machines and stand-alone analog devices.

This is a soundcard typical of older computers.

The blue socket is Stereo Line-In.

Newer laptops only have connections for analog headsets.

And don’t have the blue socket any more.

Am I close? We’ll get to internal recording in a bit.


I believe Windows-7 comes with a built-in sound-recording program,
see … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Recorder_(Windows)
If you try recording with that you can determine if the problem is specific to Audacity.

Self-recording got harder and harder as the Windows version progressed, so if you’re used the old way, you won’t recognize the new one.

If the missing blue connector is the problem, we have found a convenient work-around in the Behringer UCA-202 or one in that family. the UFO-202 has a built-in RIAA phono preamp for connection to an older analog turntable, and it’s switchable.


Thanks for the replies,

I have a desktop, not a laptop. I am using the blue line in plug.

If it were hardware or a matter of having the plugs in the right place would it distort internal audio recordings too? (recording from a streaming feed)



How are you recording the streaming audio - stereo mix?

Can you post a sample of the distortion/interference as a WAV file? Please see here for how to attach files: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1