Playback sounds terrible

I was recording music instrument auditions and the playback is just atrocious. I recorded the same way every time, some instruments sound average, some sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown (trombones), and overall, just a terrible quality. What am I doing wrong and more importantly, is there a way to edit the clips so they sound halfway decent? Am I missing important equipment?

We’ve no idea what equipment you are using.
Perhaps you could tell us what you are using, and post a short sample recording (just a few seconds in WAV format). See here for how to post audio samples:

I’m using my HP laptop with the mic that is built in. Thank you for looking at this, I’m definitely open to any suggestions!

Your built-in microphone is designed to transmit a human voice speaking words for the purpose of Skype, iChat or other communications or conferencing. It’s desperately trying to make a voice out of your music. It thinks any sustained musical note is “noise” and tries to get rid of it.

Some computers allow you to go into sound setup and change it so the system doesn’t try to “help you” so much. This is where I go make strong tea. I’m not a Windows person and have no idea where the settings are.


Do you have a recommendation of any equipment I can purchase that will eliminate this issue for next time?

If I start playing with the settings, do you think I’ll be able to go back in and fix the sound now or is that something that needs to be done pre-recording?

I’ll be able to go back in and fix the sound now

You can’t repair the Charlie Brown, talking into a wine glass sound you already made.

I said the microphone is designed for voice. That’s not technically true. The microphone is just a microphone but it’s plugged into computer processing that is designed for voice.

any equipment I can purchase

You would think I should be able to just whip out a recommendation, but it’s just not that easy. I think my first pass would be to see how good you can make your computer microphone. You can do that for free; it’s just your time and effort.

Then if that proves to not work very well, we can work up. I have recorded voice tracks and other work on the computer microphone, but I have a Mac. So that gives you the first idea of how slippery this is.


Did you try to go into your computer settings as in that posting? It’s something like right-click the speaker icon…etc etc. Your settings are different from mine.


I am able to access the settings, but I’m not entirely sure how to set it so it records the instrument correctly. Right now, this is what I have:

Under the General tab, the Controller Information says Realtek High Definition Audio. There are no other options.
Under the Levels tab, the microphone is currently set on 28 and the Microphone Boost is at +10.0dB.
Under the Enhancements tab, “Disable all sound effects” is unchecked.
Under the Advanced tab, my rate is 2 channel, 24 bit, 96000 Hz (Studio Quality) with the “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” and “Give exclusive mode applications priority” are checked.