Intermittent weak sound(s) from right speaker; A noobs story

Audacity 3.33

About a year ago, I started recording my albums to Audacity (which I’ve been using off and on for about 10 years Thank you!). This is my 1st go at really utilizing Audacity recording capabilities. I’m copying each album as it was pressed, and will also use Audacity to play them… so no MP3’s or FLAC exports here.

My intention is to record everything, then go about removing any pops/static, and try to make the recordings as close to day 1 as possible. Last month, I bought a new copy of The Beatles - Rubber Soul. I listen to each album as it’s being recorded, so I can note where there are pops/static areas. Even with a brand new album (esp these days) there ARE pops and clicks. The album sounded very good, no clipping… just a couple of pops at the very beginning, so I immediately went to my Audacity recording to see how it sounded.

At the 22 second of Drive My Car, where the piano comes in … there was barely ANY piano (right speaker). Then, at the 1:08 mark, during the 1st break… the right speaker barely had any of the guitar notes. Each break in the song had the same lack of audio on the right speaker. Note that during the recording, the meter level on both channels appear to be exactly the same. I got the album back out and played it again. Sounded great coming out of the receiver.

I made another recording of Drive My Car, and had the same thing throughout the same breaks. I started getting a little concerned this might not be the only album, so I went back to my previously recorded albums and grabbed James Gang, the song Walk Away. The same thing happened with the 1st guitar solo break. The album is fine, but the recording wasn’t.

I uninstalled Audacity, used CC Cleaner to delete any leftover files and clean the registry… and downloaded version 3.13. I reinstalled Audacity into a new folder on my 2nd hard drive. The same thing happened when I recorded songs. Thinking this could be a Windows issue as well, I wiped and reinstalled Windows 10. I installed Audacity (3.33) and tried it again… same thing. I have never made any adjustments to Audacity (except volume) as it’s always been plug and play.

I grabbed a spare laptop with Linux Mint, updated the OS… came back to this site, and downloaded Linux version 3.33. Took me a few hours to get Linux Mint to recognize the USB port as the microphone… but as soon as I got that squared away, made my recording. Everything sounded great! I copied the Linux version over to my HTPC and it plays fine. So, I’m thinking it’s Windows Audacity, or the USB ports (which have the standard MS drivers), but the ports work fine with thumb drives and whatnot. Understand, I am not dogging Audacity… it’s a great program. I have barely touched the surface for what Audacity can do… I’m just a schmuck trying to get good copies of his music together. Any thoughts, ideas or things you want me to try… FIRE AWAY!

I’m a mid-level budget guy, with the following gear:
Receiver - Pioneer VSX-104 Elite.
Phono - Fluance RT85 w-Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge.
Preamp - Parasound ZPhono USB.
HTPC: Windows 10 Pro - Version 22H2; Build 190454.3155
Intel(R) Core™ i5-4690K CPU @ 3.50GHz 3.50 GHz
RAM - 16.0 GB

My preamp RCA connection goes directly to my receiver. The USB goes directly to my HTPC.

The Beatles hard-panned recordings are making it conspicuous that you’re only recording the left-channel.

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You can try unplugging the left & right RCA connections one at a time to make sure stereo is working properly. and that you’re getting a signal from both channels.

Also, a couple of the early stereo Beatles albums have the instruments on one side and vocals on the other side. If you happen to have one of those it can be handy as a “stereo test album”.

The other thing that often causes “strange problems” is Windows “enhancements”.

Not a good plan…

It’s best to make a WAV or FLAC (1) file immediately after recording as a “back-up” (and possibly make a back-up of that on another drive, etc.).

The Audacity project format only works within Audacity, and it’s more complex and less robust than standard audio files. The “new” Audacity AUP3 format only works on NTFS drives.

WAV & FLAC files are also smaller than Audacity project files.

Most of my “audio work” is simple (similar to what you’re doing) so I rarely save an Audacity project. I make a WAV file which I can re-open for editing, and when I’m done I usually make an MP3.

Although Audacity can play files (so you can edit them) it isn’t a media/audio player. Audio player software (Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc.) can find & sort files based on metadata (album, artist, genre, year) so you can play an album, or a song, or play a selection or playlist randomly, etc.

Audacity doesn’t automatically display the metadata when you play the file and it doesn’t support embedded album artwork at all.

WAV and FLAC are both lossless.
“CD quality” files (16-bit, 44.1kHz, stereo) are better than human hearing (in scientific, level-matched blind listening tests) so that’s good enough for just about anything (and way-way better than analog vinyl) but if your hardware supports higher resolution the only downside is bigger files.

Metadata is not well standardized for WAV files. Almost all compressed formats are better for metadata… And FLAC (lossless compression) is almost half the size of a WAV file.

MP3 is lossy compression (data is thrown-away to make a smaller file) but it’s “smart” and it tries to throw-away information you can’t hear. At high quality (high-bitrate) settings it can often sound identical to the uncompressed original (in blind listening tests). And, again, it’s better than analog vinyl.

A lot of people keep a FLAC archive and make MP3s for “everyday” or “portable” use. (I have about 18,000 MP3s on an iPod Classic that’s connected to my car stereo.)

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The main reason I decided to stick with Audacity, is it’s the closest to the original recording. I suffered hearing loss at work (right ear only), for which I use a hearing aid. The hearing aid makes music more tinny sounding… and analog music is as close to what I want to hear. MP3’s are higher pitched and unnatural sounding. Even CD’s are higher and odd sounding at times. I consider myself lucky to have these options. Thanks for the suggestions!


Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. My apologies to Audacity (insert standard pun here).

The recording option in Windows was set at 1 channel. When I looked at the Audacity settings and channels… they looked to be fine. Well done Trebor… Thank YOU and the Audacity team! :+1: :+1:

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