Music sounds like in a box

When I burned to cd from Audacity that I recorded from a record, the singer sounds like he’s/she is in a box and it seems that at times, the person is singing with themselves, like two people singing but it’s the same one. What can I do to improve my recording from a turntable and a record so that this doesn’t happen?

Please, I am not very smart with this stuff. I want to have all my husband’s records to cd for Christmas, it’s a surprise, he’s been so upset that he has all these records yet he can’t record them to cd.


We need to know: the computer you are using, the operating system (Windows 7? Windows Vista? XP? Mac OS X 10.5.8?) and the version of Audacity (click on Help > About Audacity [or Audacity > About Audacity on Mac]). Are you using a USB turntable, or connecting to a “standard” turntable? If the latter, how are you making the connection (direct from the turntable, from the “Record Out” of an amplifier, some other method)?

I’m guessing that you’re running a Windows system and are recording “system sound” or “what you hear” or some such [a Windows expert will chime in once we know for sure that you’re using Windows]. Do you hear the boxy effect while you are recording?

– Bill

Hi Bill,

I’m using windows vista laptop Acer travelmate.

Audacity version 1.2.6

I’m using USB turntable memorex

I’m not sure what else I can tell you.

Thank you for answering so quickly.

Hi Carol,
For Windows Vista you should be using Audacity 1.3.12 - this may not help with your immediate problem, but it will avoid a lot of other problems (Audacity 1.2.6 is very old, has problems on modern systems, and is no longer maintained).

Bill will probably also want to know how you have things connected up. What is plugged in where and with what sort of lead. If you’re not hot on technical jargon, don’t worry, just describe what things look like and we should be able to work out what you mean :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, Steve, I’m handing this off to you, now that we know it’s a Windows issue.

– Bill

Ok - In that case I would like to know how it’s all connected up :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you…

I Plug the USB thingy to my laptop USB slot, the memorex is plugged into the outlet as well as my computer. That’s it, that’s all… There are no other plug-in’s.

I downloaded the newer version and will try it tomorrow, I’m crossing my fingers. I truly appreciate all this help…


Nice and simple, what could possibly go wrong. Oh yes, that’s what we need to find out isn’t it.

How do you listen to sound playing on your computer - just through the built in speakers or do you have external speakers plugged in?
Do you have any headphones? (headphones will provide better quality sound than the built in speakers and possibly better than external computer speakers).

When you have Audacity 1.3.12 installed,
ensure the USB is all connected before you open Audacity
then open Audacity
then go to “Edit menu > Preferences > Devices” and ensure that the USB option is selected as the “Recording” device. The "Playback device should be set to match your computer sound card (if you don’t know which one to set, just say what options are available).
Click OK to get out of the Preferences screen
On the main Audacity window, go to the “Transport” menu and near the bottom of the menu select (enable) “Software Playthrough”.
Then make a short test recording.
Play it in Audacity as see what it sounds like.


this set of tutorials from the 1.3/2.0 manual will give you some good instructions on this process:,_LPs_or_minidiscs_to_CD

In particular this one:

And I don’t want to rain on your parade Carol, but unless your husband has only a small handful of LPs then your goal of doing the transcriptions by Christmas is a little “sporting”. I’ve been processing LPs for a while now - the most I do in a day is usually 2 - I could manage 4 but then I would be doing very ltlle else all day. It takes me c. 3 hours per LP :frowning:

You might be better off learning how to crack the process - and then give him how-to lessons for his pressie - then he can do all the work :slight_smile:


Which brings us 'round to the amount of effort versus downloading the music from iTunes and burning CDs from that. Or going out and buying the CDs. This is the desperation method when people find out how labor intensive this process is and how easily you can damage your songs in the effort to get rid of vinyl noise.

The process is self limiting. Your favorite vinyl records are the ones most likely to be damaged by either the constant playing, or your effort to get rid of the noise in software – or both.


but it can be a lot of fun doing it - getting out all those old records again - those scratches and crackles aren’t just “noise”, they’re memories.

And then we erase those memories with ClickRepair :wink:

It’s a labour of love, and a chance to listen to those LPs and decide if you really want them any more.

But Koz’s and WC’s points are valid. Even a “quick and dirty” job is going to take dubbing time plus 30 minutes per LP.

But we’re getting a little off topic.

@Carol: have you got it working yet?

– Bill

Okay, it is time consuming, and records… we have lots… but I only want a few to burn to cd before Christmas, so that’s okay … and forget about letting the husband loose on this procedure… he knows nothing about computers… lol…
I want to turn all my records to cd because I have them, to go out and buy cd’s, it would cost a fortune and anyhow, I can pick and choose the songs that we like off the record to burn.

Now, I tried fixing that problem with sounds like in a box, and I’ve tried just about everything and nothing works. I think it’s the record album that has the problem because all the others ( so far ) sounds fine. And I do listen with the playback and I do use earphones, it’s true the earphones makes things sound so much better.

So far I have Elvis collection, Roy’s collection, and American Grafiti as well as Buddy Holly and ooops, does that tell you how old we are… lol… I also have Dance to the music disco music… lol… I burned the Elvis, Roy and Buddy, now all I have to do is burn American Grafiti and Dance to the music. I want to try to finish Three albums of The Beach Boys too, hopefully I can, we’ll see…

All in all, I thank you guys so much, you’ve really helped me out. and Merry Christmas !!!

Carol, glad you’re up and running with this. American Graffitti, Buddy Holly - now you’re talkin’ … :slight_smile:

A thought for you: as well as burning the CDs you may want to consider keeping backups of the WAV files that you make - I retain 2 separate copies on 2 separate external USB disks. The Cds you make at home with a CD burner are different and less stabel than commercially pressed CDs. The homemade ones use a photochemical process (similar to a photograph) and can fade and decay over time, especially if left in bright sunlight. (Try a piece of masking tape over the surface of the disk and leave it on your window ledge for a couple of days - then peel it off.)

If you retain copies of the WAVs you can always burn a fresh CD if you ever need to.

And Merry Christmas to you too,

oh oh, Wave? I saved them as mp3. I’ve got then on my computer as Mp3 files, I hope that’s okay…

Anyhow, I had to redo all those records from the last two days. I ended up using the old version of Auacity because I noticed that the new version doesn’t let me record into Stereo just mono. I tried all different ways to get it to use Stereo but it wouldn’t let me. So instead of wasting time, I pulled out the three albums that I did in the last two days and redid them on the old version of Audacity.

I’m going to read how to, with the online manual, but if I remember correctly, I didn’t see anything to help me there. But will take a look at it again. The old version lets me use that realtek HD audio manager, so… i’m sure it will be fine.
After doing the American Grafiti again, I burned it (wasted one cd trying the first time) then I played it back on my entertainment system and it sounded great.

There was a few that I didn’t redo because of time, So I hope I remember which ones they are. The new version sounds are “Ssss” when they sing, it just drove me nuts. That’s why I ended up using the old version.

Thanks again


to make a “proper” CD you need to Export from Audacity 16-bit PCM stereo WAV - this is (part of) the Red Book standard for CDs. These WAV files then need to burned to a CD with CD burner software (which doesn’t actually place separate WAV files on the tracks, it creates a continuous music “stream” and a TOC, table of contents,. The TOC tells your CD player how to manage the music stream. This should give you CDs that are playable on any CD player or computer.

You can burn a CD with MP3s on it - but be warned many CD players cannot play such CDs. MP3 is a compression technology is really designed to fit a lot of music into a smaller filkespace for use in MP3 players and iPods etc. Some folk with the appropriate players will choose to burn MP3 CDs as that gives them roughly ten times as much playing time than the normal 74-80 minutes.

The downside of compression technologies like MP3 and Apple’s AAC is that in order to squeeze the data down to a smaller dataset some of the audio signal is discarded - i.e. it is lost forever - so if you try and make a WAV from the MP3 the WAV file will still contain the compression damage.

So for use on your computer for playing the music, then MP3 is fine (you can, of course, play the WAVs on your PC but you will end up with a rather large music library). But for archiving and backing up the output of your projects you need lossless WAV files (vinyl purists who are serious about digital archive will often work and back up at higher quality rates than the CD standard which most of us use). The ultimate backup is always the vinyl of course - but that assumes you will still have the necessary working technology in the future. I’m very careful with my WAV backups as I donated most of my vinyl collection to the local charity shop when we moved house a couple of years ago.

I’m surprised that you are getting better results with 1.2, this is puzzling. AFAIK All of the forum elves are now using 1.3.12 as their standard production version. I certainly am, and like you I am doing a lot of vinyl cnversion (my wife’s collection). The tools in 1.3, especially the labelling, are far superior in 1.3.


When it comes to wav and MP3 differences and backups and digital stuff, you’ve lost me…

I’ve got a lot to learn. Are you saying that if I save my files to WAV, that I can just burn this to a cd and it will play onto my system or car? Or… do I save to WAV then when I’m ready to burn to cd, I make some kind of change to which kind of file to change it to? I’m sorry, I’m just so lost. I thought we had to save to MP3 in order to save to cd disk’s.

I am burning to cd, not mp3 . And it burns around 74 -80 minutes. So… is that good? lol…

Labelling? I know I have a lot to learn with Audacity as yet. I’m just bind for time and need to get this out fast. Oh well… I’ll get into it more after the holidays for sure, it sounds so interesting.

Thank you

The format of an audio CD is similar to (but not quite the same) the format of WAV files.
Some CD burning software can automatically convert MP3 files or other audio file formats to the right format for a CD, but ALL CD burning software can use “WAV (Microsoft) signed 16 bit PCM” format (which is the default WAV format when you Export from Audacity 1.3.12).

“WAV (Microsoft) signed 16 bit PCM” is the best format to use when you are making audio CDs because it works with all CD burning software and it provides the best possible sound quality.

80 minutes is a bit too long for an audio CD. According to the “standard” specification, the maximum should be 72 minutes. I find that it is generally best to try and limit the length of the CD to a bit less than this as I find that when the CD gets to much over an hour in length the reliability for playing the CD decreases.

The major “bear trap” when making CDs is that computers can make two distinctly different types of CD. There are “audio CDs” and “data CDs”.
Programs such as Windows Media Player will make data CDs by default. Data CDs will play on computers and may play on some CD players, but generally they don’t play on normal CD players. Audio CDs can be played on computers and will also play on CD players.

To make an audio CD, you need to select the “audio CD” option in your CD burning software. If you do this, and then give it your WAV files, the CD burning software should do everything else automatically.

I do not recommend using Windows Media Player for burning Audio CDs - although it can be used, it is far too easy to end up with a disk that does not play in CD players. A good, free CD burning program (for all versions of Windows) is CDBurnerXP


Is it too late for me to transform the already saved MP3 files into wav files? Or do I have to re-record all and save them as Wav files? As long as I can use a burner and it would recognize to change to cd when burning, it’s a-okay with me. I’m glad your helping me out with this. Thank you. I will download that burnerxp thing as soon as I finish here. Thanks.

Have you any idea to why the newer version of Audacity does not want to record into Stereo? When ever I get set up for Stereo recording, there is no sound, I’ve tried several set ups and still can’t get it to save into stereo?


If you still have the Audacity Project you can re-export as WAV.
If not then it’s too late, but if the MP3s sound OK I’d suggest using them for the CD. It’s not the “optimal” way to do it, but most CD burning programs will accept MP3 files - just ensure that you set your CD burning software to make an audio CD.

“Edit menu > Preferences > Devices”
“Number of Channels” should be set to “2 (stereo)”.
I don’t see it on this page - could you remind me which version of Windows you are using.