How to fix when the recorded sound is garbled?

Occasionally I run into a problem where the recorded sound is garbled. It sounds similar to sound that is run through a Leslie amp, but not in a good way. And the kicker is that it is unpredictable, happening sometimes and sometimes not, even though I’m doing the same thing every time. Has anyone run into this, and if so, have any idea what to do about it?

I’m using Windows 11 and the latest release of Audacity.

This can happen if you are recording from a different microphone than you are speaking into. This happens much more often than you would think.

Do the scratch test with your fingernail. You should be able to see the scratching clearly in the waveform.

I’m doing the same thing every time.

What’s the thing? What are you recording?

Depending on what you’re recording and what else you have running on your machine, you can be forced to use Skype, Zoom, or Meetings sound processing. They take priority on a machine and Audacity gets its sound from the machine.


Oh, and to bring this around, you can’t fix that in post production.

Are you monitoring the interface, microphone, or computer with headphones during the performance? If you are, does the distortion happen in the headphones during the recording?

If you’re not using headphones, you should start. That narrows down problems quickly.