Garbled track?

I recorded a night at a club using a Scarlett 2i2, 2 small shotgun mics and audacity on a 32 bit Windows 7 notebook. My first set was saved as an Audacity file, but when I try to listen it is garbled, you can recognize the song, but it has pops, runs too fast and sounds cut up. Other sets recorded and saved well. Saving a WAV file didn’t help.

My first attempt with this Scarlett 2i2 also produced this, but it recorded and played correctly when I used another USB port.

What causes this? I can’t afford for random tracks to be useless.


Unfortunately there is not a simple answer.
The short answer is that data is being dropped because something can’t keep up with the audio data rate. That “something” may be the USB connection, or there could be a bottleneck elsewhere in the system.

The most likely cause of this happening intermittently (and this is where the question becomes difficult to answer) is that another program or process is taking up too much of the system resources, thus getting in the way of streaming audio data from USB to hard disk.
See this topic:
Look particularly for programs that may be intermittently updating (such as Windows Update or anti-virus update) or other intermittent automatic usage (such as an e-mail program checking for mail or anti-virus scanning). When recording it is best to have as few other programs/processes running as possible.

Keeping the number of running programs down is simple enough.

Is this a common problem? Since I have heard this a couple of times in this system I am assuming it crops up occasionally.


Difficult to say. My main computer is quite old and not very high spec, but I primarily use Linux which tends to be a lot more efficient and less bloated than Windows.

My old (really old) computer is a 500 MHz Pentium running Windows XP SP3 and that also manages without skipping, but being such an old machine I’ve slimmed down the system (optimised) so there is very little running that is not essential and I apply updates manually at convenient times.

One of my best friends has a much more modern and powerful computer than any of my machines, but it is so bogged down with junk-ware that it crawls and would be totally hopeless for audio.