Entire quality of recording changed - help troubleshooting

I am a total newbie to Audacity, and haven’t used any recording programs/equipment in a decade, so I apologize in advance for my ignorance.

Was asked to record two samples. I’m using a cheap tabletop mic, but first one turned out great. Disconnected the mic to do (very basic!) editing, then went back for sample 2.

Something is wrong. Levels are really low no matter how much I project. Room ambiance is much louder. Recording sounds like an echo-y mess.

I know it’s hard to troubleshoot when someone is totally in the dark, but is there a basic setting I could have messed up? A connection I need to check/figure out? I have no idea. If anyone has any ideas of where to start to fix this, I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Take 2 may be via the computer’s built-in mic,
(whereas Take 1 was via the external mic).

Yes, that was it. Thank you so much, Trevor!

I think you can adjust input settings
Open Audacity and navigate to the Edit menu
From there, select Preferences and click on the Devices tab. Check if the correct micro is selected as the recording device. You may need to experiment with different options until you find the correct one

Thank you!

Now Audacity won’t recognize either mic though. Any ideas on that?

It needs to be recognised in Windows First.
Check you windows sound control panel that mics are working.
Then select it in Audacity input Device

Thank you!! I appreciate the help!

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