Harmonic distortion during playback

Hi , I’m having trouble with recording using Audacity 2.1.2 I’m currently using windows 10 pro OS x64 bit . My set up is as follows Integrated amp, Technics 1200 turntable.
RCA (Phono) lead from the line out on the amp connected to MIC input on PC. I’m not experiencing any sound problems through playback on my HI- FI & have purchased
new leads to be as sure as i can the problem is not with that part of my set up. Like wise the sound from my PC speakers is also fine it’s just the resulting playback from
the Audacity recording. I have submitted a small section of a recording to highlight the problem in the hope it can shed some light on the situation.
I’d be very grateful for any help & will answer any further questions users may have as best i can , thanks in advance.

A “Line” level signal is about 1000 x bigger than a microphone signal. The Mic input in the PC is being massively overloaded.
You need to use a sound card that has stereo line level inputs. One of the cheapest options that we’ve had good success with on this forum is the Behringer UCA-202 (about $30). Even with a Line level input, you still need to take care to not overdrive the input. Does your turntable have an output level control? If not, then you will probably need a slightly less cheap option - a USB sound card with line level stereo inputs and an input level (gain) control. ART amongst others make such devices.

Thanks for the reply, in answer to your question the turntable (Technics 1200 does not have an output control . This is where i’m confused because I’ve used the MIC input method for the past six months or more with great results reducing the recording level appropriately (0.05) appx . This problem only came to light recently when i purchased a new PC with Windows 10 os installed. Obviously i’m having problems using the method i’ve described but i’m curious as to why it won’t work for me now. I knew there was a problem straight away when i clicked to monitor the recording, the level indicator registers -30db with fluctuating activity even without the stylus making contact with the vinyl . Just to be clear on the back of the amp i’m using tape out to MIC in . I still consider myself a novice using Audacity but the cheapest option for me right now would be to return to my older machine where the results are very good. That said i have taken on board your advice & very much appreciate your help Steve .Renn

New PC, different sound card.
“Some” laptops have an input that may be used as either a mono mic input or as a stereo line input. In these cases, using it as a mic input generally sounds atrocious (LOTS of hiss). My laptop fall into this category. Using it as a stereo line input is not as bad, though I generally use a UCA 202 for line level input because it is much better.

Have you checked in the Windows Sound Control Panel in the Recording settings to see if there is a setting for “Boost” (may be called “+30 db boost” or something similar). If there is, then turn that off and try it again - you might be lucky.

(I’d still recommend saving up for a better sound card. the ones in laptops are generally the cheapest that they can get away with in order to keep the costs down :wink:)

Thanks Steve , i checked the sound control panel & reduced the levels on the slider to zero db this made a difference but still not an acceptable one. Incidentally i forgot to mention i’m using a desktop PC . Tomorrow i’m going to again check the sound drivers are correct & will post any results good or bad, time constraints i’m afraid. Appreciate the help & advice once again . Renn

Most desktop machines have separate Mic input and line input. often they are colour coded like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_card#Color_codes

The distortion you have now is normal. If you carefully inspect the music, you may find that it’s mono or “left” instead of stereo. That’s normal, too. Your older machine happened to have a sloppy soundcard which would deal with that. Your newer soundcard probably does a much better job with an actual microphone, but that kind of shoots your music transfer in the head.

I’d use the older system.

This is normal. This is a UCA-202 stereo to USB adapter for computers that don’t have a stereo connection.

They work pretty well. I have two.



:smiley: Unfortunately i been unable to reply until now,i did return to the old machine for a short while but this was avoiding the issue and i couldn’t let it rest like that.So i took the advice & purchased the UCA202 USB device connected that to my stereo mixer and using the Analog line level audio input (light blue) instead of the (mic ) (pink) was able to record again . I now have even better control of the signal going into my P C
the resulting recordings are excellent . Really must thank you both once again kozikowski & Steve. Renn :smiley: