Playback Problems After Silencing Audio

I am using Audacity 2.3.1 on a brand new Windows 10 computer; I recently switched from an 8-year-old Windows 7 PC and whatever version of Audacity I downloaded 8 years ago. Does anyone else have playback issues after using “Silence Audio”? I edit spoken word audio (specifically sermons for the church website), so I use “Silence Audio” to take out loud breaths and other distractions. When I back up to replay from before the section I edited, it will play ok until it gets through the section where I’ve silenced, and then it will often not play the first part of the next word. This is very distracting because I don’t know for sure if I’ve deleted something I shouldn’t (even though the waveform is there) or what’s going on. This can happen even if there is more quiet space between where I did the “silencing” and where the next word starts. I’ve found it will play ok if I get the cursor close enough to the word. It doesn’t do it every time, but it does it more often than not. It also happens even if I have saved the project, exited Audacity, and then reopen the project later.

I don’t know if it’s a Windows 10 problem, a problem with this version of Audacity, or something going on with the sound card in this new laptop. I’ve not had time to experiment to try to better isolate the problem. This is my first Audacity project on the new computer and I’m not quite finished yet, so I am just hoping the file will play ok when I export it to mp3. I hope there is a solution; this is making an already tedious process a lot harder and even more time-consuming.

That sounds like Windows, or the sound card drivers, are applying some sort of automatic gain control.
Check the settings in the Windows Sounds control panel, and if your sound card has its own control panel, check there too. Any effects or “enhancements” that you find, turn them off.

This FAQ may be of some help, (though Microsoft updates have been busy recently making it harder to control the audio system): FAQ:Recording - Troubleshooting - Audacity Manual

I’ve got Realtek HD Audio Manager which is also what I had on the old Windows 7 computer. I’m using the same enhancements that I used on the old one. This new computer also has another thing built in called DTS Studio Sound, but I tried toggling it on and off the other day and that didn’t help. The sound from the speakers is horrible on this new laptop, so I need to use the enhancements to make them tolerable. I had to use an external Bluetooth speaker for editing the sermon, but I’ve ordered new laptop clip-on speakers which work through USB. I noticed that sometimes when I replay the project file using the built-in speakers it does better as far as the drop-outs are concerned, but not always.

I did finally finish this project and noticed the problem a little bit when playing the mp3 file, but if I went back a little farther and played a longer section of audio the mp3 file would play ok. Maybe it’s just something with this computer. It’s good in every other way, but it doesn’t seem to be designed for audio. My old laptop was the same brand, Toshiba, and it had “premium audio” with wonderful sound, so I’m very disappointed with the audio in this new one. It can’t be RAM or processor speed, because this is a brand new business-class computer with lots of power in those areas.

Same make, but the drivers for Windows 10 will be completely different. Microsoft made substantial changes to the sound system between Windows 7 and 10, and Windows 7 sound card drivers are not compatible with Windows 10.

“Business class” computers are not designed for listening to, or recording music, and generally have and on-board sound card that costs in the region of $1, which not surprisingly, is pretty rubbish. To get high quality sound in and out requires adding a 3rd party sound card. The built-in speakers in my laptop are dreadful too, but the headphone output isn’t too bad.

When recording / editing, I’ll often use some fairly decent headphones (not very expensive, but not rubbish, and very comfortable). When I need to use speakers, I have a Behringer UCA-202 (about $30) connected to an external amplifier and good (expensive) speakers.

It’s not possible to do any serious editing with crappy speakers + “enhancements”, because it gives a completely false impression of what the result will sound like when played on anything else.

Unfortunately, I will void my warranty if I have any hardware changes made right now. So I will have to wait a year before I can consider adding a new sound card. It seems the drop-outs are fewer on the built-in speakers than they are on the little Bluetooth one, but the built-in ones aren’t loud enough for me to hear the background noises. The USB ones are supposed to arrive tomorrow; maybe they will be better.

But I’ve also noticed that the breaths aren’t as audible as they were when I edited sermons on the old computer. I’ve saved a partially edited project as a wave file which I’m planning to transfer back to the old computer and see what happens when I open it back up in the old Audacity. I’ve been taking out what I can see but not hear because I don’t know if it’s the sound card or the new program. It would be great if it turns out they aren’t as audible on the other computer, either; then I wouldn’t have to stop and start nearly as much. (Maybe “Compressor” is not enhancing them as much in the new version??? Even though I used the same settings?? I guess I will find out when I get time to experiment again. :slight_smile: ) Plus I will also find out more when I get the sermon I finished editing last night onto a web page; I can play it on my iPad and phone. I got behind the week I was transferring files to the new computer, so I may go ahead and finish this sermon file before I update the website.

The Behringer UCA-202 that I use is a USB device. It just plugs into a USB port, and then you can plug “line level” devices (such as an audio amp, mixing desk, powered speakers…) into it. It has just one pair of stereo inputs, one pair of stereo outputs, and a headphone socket (mine is very old and doesn’t have the headphone socket).

My inexpensive clip-on USB speakers arrived today and I got them working after installing a driver for USB Audio. Realtek isn’t showing them in the Audio Manager, but they are working as USB Audio. They aren’t as good as my old laptop, but they are a big improvement over the built-in speakers. I’ve been using them while doing a little more of the sermon file tonight and they are working much better. I haven’t had the dropouts tonight! Yay!!

These are now my default audio, so I guess I’ll learn to live with that. I’ll also have to get used to not closing my laptop up every night, because I can’t close it with the speakers clipped to the top. Even little changes take some getting used to, especially after eight years on the same computer! But they are not in the way and I can still pick up the laptop and move it to another place on the table - or even carry it to another room if I want. Meanwhile, I can disconnect the cheap Bluetooth speaker and let it go back to automatically pairing with my mini iPad instead of the laptop.