Distortion pops up after recording awhile

I’m recording from vinyl and I’ll record for a bit and all of a sudden I’ve got a muffled mess of distortion like the stylus just picked up a cotton ball! I’ve eliminated the debris factor and have actually gone back and recorded the same track and it comes out fine. I can dump the file and restart and I’ll often be successful; but I don’t know why it worked this time and not 3 minutes ago.
Pretty frustrating…anybody got an idea?

My guess - you’re using a USB turntable. Check out the forum, you’re not alone, loads of USB turntables have this problem. If this is correct, try using a different USB port, try using a powered hub, try taking it back to the shop for replacement, try using the analogue output instead of the USB.

And of all of them, stop using USB is the only one with the 100% success rate.

Are we still using the small furry animals at midnight?

We have created an Unstable Condition, somehow, and everybody’s situation is different except for one thing. A condition is created which prevents transferring music. This is the Agatha Christie thing. No matter how many diversions there are in the story, at the end, Roger Akroid is still dead. Something will happen to prevent music from marching between your vinyl and your bitstream.

Since there are three parties involved, it’s statistically impossible to assign blame, so it will just keep doing this until somebody blows the whistle. I wonder what ION has to say about this? Dare I ask what the Audacity programmers have to say?


Of the fixes apart from not using USB, changing the USB cable normally has the best chance of success, along with ensuring the cartridge is properly connected. If you are using a USB turntable as we guess, take a look at:

Jack, we don’t know what operating system you are on, or what version of Audacity (1.3.x, 1.2.x) - this or (more likely) your computer specifications might be relevant, so posting to the relevant Stable or Unstable forum might have been better . This forum is more for system- or hardware-independent things (like say, microphone positions for recording vocals).

Wearing my “Audacity” hat, generally there is little evidence that people getting the common USB turntable problem of noise build-up after a while do any better if they simply change to another piece of recording software. Nor there is any determinable difference between Audacity versions as regards USB turntable recording. Some people on Macs have found 1.3 for better than 1.2 for recording USB turntables, but that statement could be extended to cover Audacity generally.


Thanks for the info. I’m using Mac OSX and Audacity 1.2.
OH yeah, correct on the turntable; Ion.


That covers a lot of ground. Tiger? Panther?


I don’t think that’s quite correct. If I dug hard enough, I think I can find several people in a position to use a different but less talented software package and they claimed many of not all the problems went away. At least one went back and forth more than once and Audacity went into the dirt every time.

So lets do the exercise. How would I program Audacity to cause this failure at will? What one thing could I do that would cover most (not necessarily all) of the symptoms? I’m going with error correction. Audacity is extraordinarily sensitive to bit rate errors. One thing in common with all the “solutions” posted is that they change–if slightly–the connection quality. Change the cable, reseat the cable, reverse the cable, add a hub, take a hub out. Change the Audacity version. Change it back. Increase the humidity. Plug the computer into the wall. Unplug it.

They all have one thing in common. They change the quality of the connection slightly, and none of them work for everyone or permanently. But they have all worked once. So we are not curing the problem, we are masking it.

The other troubleshooting technique is to break it. Take a properly operating ION turntable and make it fail. I bet it’s not all that hard, and I don’t mean take a hammer to it. I mean apply some of the standard solutions (change the cable, put in a hub) and I bet it fails.

Any other ideas?