muddled/staticy recordings

I have a Gateway PC with Windows 8.1. I just did a clean reinstall of all software from a Win 8.0 base image, including upgrade to 8.1 and install all patches. (That took considerable time, but it had to be done to get a “fresh start.”) I also downloaded and installed the latest Audacity (2.0.6) and Lame. Prior to this software reload, I might have been running a version of Audacity prior to 2.0.6, but I really don’t know. I did not change any hardware.
RROBLEM: Prior to reloading all software, Audacity has always worked well for me, producing .mp3 files which sounded reasonably close to the original audio. Now, after reloading the software as previously described, the audacity recordings (music files from YouTube/Grooveshark/etc.) sound muddy and garbled. And, if you listen carefully, you can hear sounds similar to “white noise” (random static noises associated with vinyl records). The problem is NOT just with the exported .mp3 files: It also exists when playing back the recorded audio in the Audacity application itself. When I listen to older Audacity recordings made before the software reinstall, they sound OK. The sound source is set to Windows WASAPI, and other settings seem to be correct as I checked them while reading through other posts.
QUESTION: Is this a problem experienced only by me, or are other people experiencing it as well? I read through other posts of muddy and garbled recordings, but none of them seemed to parallel my particular scenario, so it seemed prudent throw this in the mix and see what happens. Thanks.


Different Audacity versions have no way of making the changes you describe. If you reinstalled Audacity without enabling “Reset Preferences”, the reinstallation would not change your Audacity settings.

When you reinstalled Windows did you reinstall the audio drivers for the sound device? Gateway should have the correct, latest audio drivers on their site which should be matched with your motherboard.

Have you turned off all effects and enhancements in Windows and you sound card control panel? See Effects can sometimes contribute crackle because they are doing live processing of the audio.

Does the web browser play sound OK or is that also noisy? Can you post an audio sample of the noise?

In any case there is no need to record YouTube or Grooveshark and risk recording losses. If you actually have copyright holders’ permission to record, download the video or audio instead. Search online for how to do that. In the case of downloaded video, install FFmpeg then you can drag the video into Audacity and it will extract the audio for you.


Monitor your show by right-clicking on the red recording meters > Start Monitoring. Is the sound bad there? That setting runs the whole recording channel beginning to end including the playback system. If there is going to be some sound damage, it should show up there without making a real recording.

From the description of the symptoms, it appears like you’re recording the soundcard loopback services and not WASAPI. Distorted, muffled and noisy.

If you reinstalled Audacity without enabling “Reset Preferences”, the reinstallation would not change your Audacity settings.

The computer has been built from scorched-earth conditions, so effectively, there is no old install.


I’m not 100% clear about that. If Windows was restored from a system image, the old Audacity settings would probably still exist. Drivers would not necessarily need re-installing but you know how brittle drivers can be.


I stand corrected.