Distortion when recording

Hi all,

Yesterday I installed the lastest version of Audacity. This tools seems very hot and nice, but I seem to have a problem with recording.

I connected a external music-source (Digirecorder) with a stereo RCA output to a mini stereo jack cable.
The stereo jack is plugged in directly in my notebook (microphone line)

I start playing the part I want to record with Audacity. The only thing I altered in the software is the “Recording Volume Slider: Sets the recording volume”
The signal was too high so I altered it to 66%
All the rest i kept by defaull after installation.

Recording looks good…but listening to the recorded part is not good at all. I hear the sample just like it is played under water and not clear sound at all.
Any ideas what I did wrong or what to do to get the sound just like it’s played when I use my receiver as an output channel to listen to the same part?

Must I install a plugin with a Windows 10 notebook from early 2016? Is this a win10 issue or a parameter that isn’t set right in the software?

Thanks a lot!

Please see the pink panel at the top of the page and give us the three actual numbers of your Audacity version.

You are probably suffering from Why do my recordings fade out or sound as if they were made in a tunnel?. Even if you turn those enhancements off, recording from a high level output into a computer mic port will not give you good quality. Consider buying a USB Interface with a proper stereo line in.


Hi Gale,

Thanks for your answer already. I will look at home for the correct version of Audacity.

Isn’t there a solution instead of using the microphone-line input to use a HDMI-cable. My receiver does have a HDMI output which i can connect to my notebook instead of the RCA to mini-jack…


You can tell us if you need to ask for more help. The main reason we ask is because not all sites offer the latest Audacity version. SourceForge is an example of such a site.

It should work if you can see an HDMI recording device in Windows Sound and you are only transferring audio. It would be preferable because it is a digital connection.

If the HDMI cable contains video as well as audio, your mileage may vary. Audacity can’t automatically split audio from combined video and audio signals.

Some computer mic ports are “compatible” ports which recognise strong stereo signals and adjust. They may not sound too bad if you disable the mic enhancements in Windows, but you will probably lose some fidelity compared to a dedicated line level analogue input.


I connected a external music-source (Digirecorder)…

Does your digital recorder have a USB port? If so, you can transfer the file(s) digitally instead of making a digital-to-analog-to-digital recording. You’ll get a perfect digital transfer and it will be faster. (Check your owner’s manual for how to do that… If you’re lucky the digital recorder will show up as an external disc drive and you can simply drag/copy the files to your hard drive, but it might require a special driver or some special transfer-software.)

Isn’t there a solution instead of using the microphone-line input to use a HDMI-cable.

The HDMI port on your computer is most-likely an output-only.

…with a stereo RCA output to a mini stereo jack cable.
The stereo jack is plugged in directly in my notebook (microphone line)

In addition to having a level mismatch by running a line-output into a microphone input, your mic input is probably mono. :frowning:

Yes, so to clarify you would have to be able to see an HDMI device on the “Recording” tab of Windows Sound. Some computers do have HDMI inputs.


The audacity I use is 2.1.0

Should it be better to use 2.1.2 (latest version)? Or does the latest version have no chances concerning my problem?
Could you tell me where to look so that I can see that HDMI can be used as Input. I have 2 notebooks, maybe one of them could be used as a HDMI input

Win → configuration panel → sound? and then? Or hardware properties?


It is always good to have the latest Audacity version from http://www.audacityteam.org/download/windows but the problem is inappropriate hardware, not Audacity.

I said, in my last post. Right-click over the speaker icon by the system clock, then choose “Recording Devices” then you are in the “Recording” tab of Windows Sound. Or, just look in your computer manuals to see what they say about HDMI.

While you are in that “Recording” tab, right-click over the microphone you were connecting to, choose Properties, then go through looking for enhancements or effects you can turn off to prevent the “tunnel effect” when you’re recording using the mic input.


“Had” would be more exact. I only know of the DELL/Alienware M17 and M18 and those are history. A short search found some posts on a second one, but nobody seems to know what brand. And it still won’t work for audio recording as it turns these laptops into a simple screen with speakers. No recording.

It’s a license thing. Output isn’t “heavily” licensed, but input is, because of fears of a digital copy hole.

Apparently this hardware http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI%20distribution%20amp_splitter%202%20port.html gives you a way to pull an optical audio signal out of the HDMI source. You could then record that audio signal if you had a digital sound card with S/PDIF input.


Yes, Gale, but that’s an external box. Not really what you were telling the OP…

That Octava box is an output switch, not input. There are HDMI inputs that convert to USB or TB, fi. from Black Magic and Aja, but these aren’t built-in either.

FWIW, I used to know someone whose sound card had HDMI input and Audacity could record from it if it was an audio-only signal. I don’t know the computer model.

I am trying to make suggestions to the user. You can use that box to record HDMI input if you also have a digital sound card with optical input, because one of the Audacity developers has used a similar solution.

Unless the user wants to be stuck with a suboptimal solution recording into the mic input, and unless the converter has a USB output, then they will need to spend money.