Newbie problem: Micky Mouse speed playback of file


I’m using Audacity 2.0.5 on a Windows 8.1 desktop PC and use input through the Logitech webcam I use for Skype.

The purpose I use this for is language learning, and Audacity is an excellent help in this. I from time to time download from the internet lists of correct pronunciations of words in a language. If they are from separate speakers, I edit them, using amplify and normalise functions, then trim out the time space between.

The problem is that the playback is at too-fast, Micky Mouse-sound speed.

I have used Audacity before on an XP machine and didn’t encounter this problem, which seems to occur on saving, because the speed-up isn’t apparent, when I do a preview before accepting a change of a particular word (in amplification or normalisation to trim the red bars).

I’ve tried the playback speed button without success.

I would welcome any suggestions on what I am doing wrong, and also whether it’s possible to correct the already saved file.

Thank you!

lists of correct pronunciations of words in a language.

More properly “clips” rather than lists. That’s from history when people used to save portions of sound by clipping the tape they were recorded on.

You stumped the band there. Normally a speed change is the result of a recording where the computer could not keep up with the incoming data from a live recording, but that error appears on the timeline.

What are you saving the work as? MP3? Does it still do it if you save something short as WAV?

Start with a fresh, newly started Audacity and Generate > Tone: 440Hz 0.8 level.

Play that do you can know what it sounds like (It’s the oboe “A” in the orchestra). Export that using your normal processes. Does that sound funny?


normalisation to trim the red bars

The red bars are places where the recording has overloaded and very likely created distortion or other sound damage.

Applying Normalize (or Amplify) makes the distortion slightly quieter so it no longer triggers the red bars. The distortion is still there.

If you got the red bars by applying filters or effects in Audacity, then yes, that’s a valid thing to do. Audacity has internal provision to avoid damage and distortion when you do that.


Thank you Kozikowski, I tried the tone and got it into a file that I opened. I don’t know if it was an oboe A but it sounded okay. Thanks, Koz, I’ll remember that.

Re the initial saving. As soon as I had my list of words recorded I saved the file as an .aup project file. Then I resaved it and did adjustments such as amplification and cutting out silences on that. I had problems with both files, and with an MP3 export file.

Since posting, I have tried again with the original .aup file and this time was able to slow it down to an intelligible but not greatly accurate level. It’s not nearly as clear as I achieved without slowing the Audacity material on my old XP machine, but it’s okay, and this opens another avenue to me in language study - slowing down spoken whole sentences while I learn them word by word, then speed them up gradually.

At the moment I go to sites where I can get a foreign word pronounced by a native speaker, and record that (typically word by word, one a a time) through my speakers and then through the microphone in my web cam. I wonder whether there is some way I can take it straight into the machine and the program, and if so, whether the quality would be better. The original sound is quite variable, particularly in volume.

The one good thing about problems for language learning is that if you have to redo the work, it helps cement the new words into your memory.

Thank you for your quick response, Koz. Such help is what makes Open Source programs enjoyable.


So you are saying that the audio in these files remains the correct length, but sounds speeded up?

This seems to indicate a broken sound device. What output device are you choosing in Audacity Device Toolbar ?

Did you buy this Windows 8.1 computer with 8.1 on it, or have you installed 8.1 over a previous version of Windows?

Yes, record from Stereo Mix if your sound device supports it, or Windows WASAPI loopback (provided by Audacity). See: Audacity Manual .