Playback sounds muffled but exported audio sounds fine


When I try to record audio or upload audio into Audacity (v2.3.2), the playback sounds grainy and muffled. However, when I export the audio, it sounds completely normal. I am using a Blue Yeti Microphone and I compared the exported audio with a normal audio file using Voice Recorder and they both sounded perfect. I am not sure if this is a simple mistake with settings, or if I am just doing something wrong in general. If needed, I can try to get an audio recording of the playback, although it is difficult due to it not exporting with the same issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

playback sounds grainy and muffled

When listening on what?

normal audio file using Voice Recorder and they both sounded perfect.

When listening on what?

I can try to get an audio recording of the playback

Don’t try to help it. Listen and make sure it sounds bad, drag-select a 10 second chunk of it and Export > Selected. WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. Scroll down from a forum text window > Attachment > Add Files.


I’m listening on Beats headphones connected to my Windows computer. I meant that, when recording/uploading a file into Audacity and playing the audio on the program, it sounds very muffled and noticeably different to when I actually export the file. The exported audio sounds very clear and as it should sound when comparing to other voice recording programs. The distortion is present when I upload files or record directly into Audacity. I managed to get an audio recording of the sound, and it is not edited or different in any way to how it sounds on Audacity

noticeably different to when I actually export the file.

And play it on what? Are you using the Beats headphones for all the monitoring? We can’t see what you’re doing, so you have to step through everything so we can follow you. What other audio programs?

Is this a laptop or desktop computer?

The WAV sound test is perfect. Clear, good volume and no distortion or phase errors. It very nearly passes Audiobook technical standards.

If you import that file in Audacity, it sounds grainy and muffled?

What do you have set as your Audacity playback device?

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I am using a Windows laptop. I am using the Beats headphones for all the monitoring. I am not changing the mode that I am listening to anything. The audio in the .wav file is how it exports. The other audio file is how it sounds in Audacity, not exported, just on playback. There is a clear difference in sound quality, as I have been saying. The audio output is set to the Beats headphones that I am using. I can, however, try to play it on different headphones or just externally. Otherwise, I am not sure why it sounds significantly grainier and poorer in quality.

I’ll listen again when I get back to the shop.

What app are you using that sounds OK?

What does that little playback window in Audacity say? Win7 had a Snipping Tool that would let you draw a circle around a part of the screen and make a jpg picture. Post it: Scroll down in a forum text window to where it says Attachments > Add Files.


Check that the project-rate of Audacity, (bottom left corner), is 44100Hz when you record.
(your poor audio looks like 8000Hz sample-rate).

One very clear difference between the two clips is fidelity or frequency response. The WAV, clean clip has sound tones out to 13,000 Hz. FM radio goes out to 15,000 Hz, so that one is not in the best shape, but it’s sounds OK.

Not so the other one. That one stops dead at 4,000 Hz. That’s the fidelity of the black telephone on the table in the hallway. Something is set wrong or broken.

Are the Beats headphones wireless? That means the sound goes through transmission losses (and Promotion and Publicity) and I’m not sure that’s the best way to do sound analysis.