Exporting track distortion issue

Hello, so I’m using a windows 11 pro version: 22H2. I have an issue where whenever I export my finished musical track, I click on the exported file and find that it has completely ruined and distorted my piece. However inside of the Audacity software, it sounds original, good basically how I’ve produced it to be. I know that this is a technical issue from the team’s side, and I hope you can fix this bug as soon as possible.
Best wishes, Tala.

What are you doing? Are you mixing two or more tracks together? What format are you exporting to?

It’s built under 5 tracks, and I’m exporting it as an MP3 format. Does it have to deal with the type of player I’m listening to upon having it exported?

You are probably clipping. Mixing is done by summation so unless you reduce the track volumes proportionally before mixing, you’ll go over 0db and clip.

…Analog mixers are built-around summing amplifiers but they have level controls for each input plus a master control so it’s more of a weighted average. DAW applications also have a master level control, but Audacity does not.

Audacity uses floating-point internally so you won’t clip until you export and you won’t hear clipping unless you play at “full digital volume” and then you’ll clip the digital-to-analog converter.

Regular (integer) WAV files are hard-limited to 0dB. MP3 can go over 0dB but I’m not sure what the limit is, and it’s “bad practice” to go over 0dB. (1)

The simplest solution is to export-as WAV and “32-bit float”. The re-open the floating-point WAV and run the Amplify or Normalize effect" to bring the levels down.

Also, MP3 is lossy compression. The sound quality depends on the bit rate/quality setting.

(1) One of the side-effects of the lossy compression is that the wave shape changes making some peaks higher and some lower. You can end-up with an MP3 that goes-over 0dB even though the uncompressed original didn’t. You probably won’t hear the slight (potential) clipping caused by that and personally I don’t worry about it. But some people normalize to -1dB or so before making the MP3. Again, the MP3 itself isn’t clipped but you can clip your DAC if it’s played at full volume.

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I followed just as you said with exporting it as WAV and then the 32-bit float, then normalizing it and it worked. Thank you for your help.

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