I was running an old version of Audacity (1.2.x or 1.3.x, can’t remember) on my desktop XP computer for years with no problems whatsoever. However the computer started to pack in and so I bought a new tower. The new one is a higher spec, but still runs XP, so it should run Audacity just as before, only better. Should.
I have encountered a very strange and infuriating problem when trying to record on the new computer: let’ say I generate a click track. When I PLAY the track back, it plays at the correct speed and pitch, no problem. However, when I try to OVERDUB, the click plays back slower and at a lower pitch while I am recording over it (rendering it totally useless). The thing that’s even weirder is that the second track I record will have recorded faster than how I played it.
Example: I create a click track at 130 bpm and record some D chord strumming over it. While I am recording the strumming, the click is playing at about 120 bpm. When I listen back to it, the ‘D’ chord comes out pitched at E and is faster than I played it.
I initially came across this with Audacity 2.0.5, and so tried 2.0.0 and 1.2.6 as well, and it happens on all of them. In general the playback is very distorted as well, but only in Audacity! When I play a song through Windows Media Player, it comes out fine both speed and quality wise! I’ve never come across anything like it - can anyone who is more tech savvy than me let me know if this sounds like the sound card or something? Is it a problem of compatibility of Audacity with my computer? Why is the sound messed up in Audacity but not in Media Player?!
Any help at all is appreciated, thanks.
I think it’s a driver or soundcard problem, but those are unusual symptoms.
If checking/updating your drivers doesn’t help, you may have to try a different soundcard/interface. I’d suggest getting a cheap USB soundcard to experiment with (not too cheap… maybe $10 or $20 USD). If that proves your soundcard/drivers are bad, you can get something better as a permanent solution if you want.
The click track is generated in software, so if it’s off it has to be a playback problem. (You are generating the click track with Audacity, right?)
Is the click track OK with Windows Media Player?
Do you still have the old computer? If you have another computer you can check the tempo of the click-track to confirm that it’s “digitally” OK.
120/130 is about the same ratio as 44.1kHz/48kHz, but it’s very unusual for the hardware & drivers to get the sample rate wrong.
However, when I try to OVERDUB, the click plays back slower and at a lower pitch while I am recording over it (rendering it totally useless). The thing that’s even weirder is that the second track I record will have recorded faster than how I played it.
Are you using a USB mic?
A USB mic has it’s own clock, and it’s not that unusual for there to be a mis-match between the mic’s clock and the soundcard’s clock (they are never exactly the same).
But your error/difference is worse than usual, and the other strange thing is that the “big” problem is usually soundcard, assuming you have a good quality “studio style” USB mic. Plus, if you are using a USB mic, the mic was apparenly working with your old comptuer. Yet, Media Player is working OK which means the soundcard is OK for (playback at least).
Thanks very much for your time and effort in response. I have tried the easier solution you suggested first which was to check the drivers. I installed the latest M-Audio Fast Track driver onto my new computer and although I didn’t have much time to really test it out, it seems to have fixed it, so hopefully that was it. If it hasn’t worked then I’ll look at the soundcard like you say.