Poor Audio being recorded

Hi there, when i record audio it doesnt come out as well as it sounds direct of the website, BBC for instance, using latest version of audicity, using the stereo input and not the the internal Microphones, though i have tried both, using HP laptop wth windows 8.1, i havent changed any of the defualt settings, believe it is set on CD quailty, the input slider doesnt seem to do much, the input level is always very low, nothing in windows i can find to turn up, the only way i can get it louder is to turn the volume right up, then it distors and sounds hollow…think if i could get te input level up higher it might be ok…has Dolby system on here,but cant see anything to turn up that isnt already up…any offers please, any older recording that were done on previous laptop play ok on this one, so seems mre to do with initial recording…from Fred in Essex UK.

First make sure you have copyright holders’ permission to record - you probably don’t if it’s the BBC.
You can however download from BBC iPlayer and keep the show for 30 days.

You can download videos from some popular sites like YouTube using a browser extension - use your favourite search engine to find out how. If you add FFmpeg to your computer ( http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/faq_installation_and_plug_ins.html#ffdown ) you can drag the downloaded video into Audacity and it will extract the audio for you. You lose no quality this way - the audio is as good or bad as it is in the video.

If you record live you should use either stereo mix or Windows WASAPI loopback - see http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_recording_computer_playback_on_windows.html.


The BBC has been very grateful in recent years for amateur recordists (audio and video) who “saved” shows that the BBC in their infinite wisdom thought fit to trash in the bin of “re-usable tape” !!!
:smiley: :nerd:


But then do the BBC in accepting the amateur recordists’ submissions assume or reassume copyright?


IANAL but my understanding is that they retain the copyright whatever.

BTW the other folk who are often grateful for amateur good quality recordings off the BBC (and certain internet webcast stations) are the original artists as Aunty Beeb never deems fit to supply the performing artist with a good copy of their live work - which is a real shame as the Beeb recording engineers are so darn good.

And mostly the Beeb archives such recordings and they never see the light of day again, which is often a real shame … :frowning:


P.S. Anyone out there got any “archive recordings” of the late Alexis Korner’s radio shows on the BBC R2? I can arrange some swapsies :wink:

Hi All, no its not that, the music comes into the laptop ok, and sounds perfects, its just when i record the incoming sound with Audicty and play it back it sounds pretty poor, its better using the internal Microphones on the laptop that using the Stereo input, which i assume is what you should use…i use windows 8.1 from Fred.

Hi Gale i tried stereo mix, the recorded auadio sounds quiet hollow and distorted, if i use Windows WASAPI loopback it will record the audio but not play it back, the best reproduction i can get is with the laptops internal microphones…shouldnt be right…i was just recording incoming sound via the bbc iplayer…as it came in…i dont think you need copyright permission if it is just for personal use i might be wrong…Fred.

I think we might be straying from the point here, ok forget the BBC, if i record anything even music files on my laptop or anything that doesnt have copyright the sound still comes out the same, good on Mics and poor on stereo mix setting…Fred.

Have you turned off Transport > Software Playthrough?

If so, post an example of what it sounds like. See How to post an audio sample.

At its simplest, you can change host back to MME when you want to play what you recorded.

As I said, you can download the shows and keep them for 30 days.


Perhaps you don’t have the correct drivers for your sound device. See Updating Sound Device Drivers - Audacity Wiki.


Hi Gale well i have never changed the drivers, the laptop is as it was and is about a year old…i will try to send an audio clip…Fred

Hi Gale i am going to try to send 2 small files, the first is as it should sound, and the second is a recently recoded one which to me sounds poor…they are Mp3 But the sound ok i know what you mean about wave files…but hese mp3 should be ok…Fred.

And how long was it on the shelf before you bought it? Even if it came with manufacturer’s drivers matched to your motherboard, those drivers could be out-of-date.

If you have any kind of audio problems best practice is always to check on the computer manufacturer’s or motherboard manufacturer’s web site to make sure you have the latest audio driver for your specific computer. And sometimes even if you already have the correct driver, reinstalling that driver can correct problems.


Correct - you should attach WAV for diagnostic purposes.

According to Plot Spectrum, the Skues file has a sharp cutoff of volume above 10000 Hz which is way below the cutoff that a 128 kbps-encoded MP3 would impose. Audacity does not make that cutoff, so perhaps that is what you need to address. If it sounds OK before you record it, see if there are recording “enhancements” for stereo mix that you need to turn off: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/faq_recording_troubleshooting.html#enhancements.

Make sure in Audacity’s Device Toolbar that you really are choosing stereo mix. Again if your drivers are broken, selecting stereo mix may not mean that you will actually record stereo mix.


Well it could be a problem with Windows 8.1, maybe the drivers don’t suit Audacity, its prob a fault of windows not the editor…it worked ok with the last laptop i used…guess thats prob as good as its going to get, i would have thought when Windows does its normal updates it might have taken care of that if it thought it needed to…from Fred

Clearly the recording is being filtered to block the high frequencies, but Audacity does not have that ability. As I said, it could be an unwanted sound effect or enhancement. Did you check?

If Windows WASAPI (loopback) recording does not have that problem, use that to record then switch to MME host to play. Or download the material instead.

All Windows Update or Device Manager update are likely to find (at best) is the latest drivers for your hardware that are in the Windows WHQL database. WHQL drivers are often a little bit older than the drivers available on your computer manufacturer’s web site, and may have less functionality.

Almost always, the best solution is to go to your computer manufacturer’s web site to check. Install or reinstall the latest audio drivers for your computer model for your version of Windows.


Thanks Gale will do that…Fred.

I was getting an intermittent hollow, almost underwater, effect on the playback of everything I recorded, but resolved the problem by

  1. Setting the Audio Host to: Windows WASAPI

  2. Setting the recording device to: Speakers/Headphone

  3. Setting the playback device to: Speakers/headphone