Multi track recordings garbled on playback

Brand new to this. I’m using a basic Windows 7 Dell laptop with the stock microphone. I’m just trying to record some simple a cappella tracks with 2.0.0. The more tracks I record, the more garbled the output becomes. Each individual track plays perfectly when I turn off the rest, but when more than 1 or 2 are playing sumultaneously, it starts getting garbled. I exported to WAV and the final export sounded just as bad. I use my headphones for everything, but everything’s still garbled when playing back through the speakers.

Can anyone tell me why the individual tracks play just fine, but are garbled when played together? Is it a problem with my laptop soundcard? Or some effect I need to turn off? Or something else? Thanks in advance!


Do the green sound meters hit the right-hand side of their range while you’re playing? Audacity will obediently add up the volume of all your tracks on playback whether or not you’re overloading your sound system.

Try selecting all your tracks and Effect > Amplify > -6dB. Did all the distortion go away? Do it again. Pay attention to those green bouncing light meters. They should never to all the way to the right.

You can make those meters much larger by grabbing the right-hand edge and pulling to the right. The other tools will get out of the way when you do that.


Thanks! That appears to be the problem.