Poor Sound from Computer Speakers

Hi, playback is always terrible in my built-in Computer speakers. I’m getting quite a bit of distortion/overload
type of sound in playback. When I playback on studio monitors, boombox, or headphones the sound is fine. With
computer speakers, it’s the opposite. My input levels are at or below -6. When listening to audio posted on the net the computer speakers work fine. Does anyone know what’s causing this problem?
I’m having this problem with Win and Mac. The problem is much much more severe on the PC. It’s so bad that I don’t
record on the PC anymore for now. I burned a cd with the audio and took it to a friend. It played terribly on his external computer speakers.
XP or Mac G5 PPC/10.5, Audacity 2.0.5, Digitech GNX4(Audio Interface), MOTU 2408 Mk II
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

When you record in Audacity, the red sound meters should not go much over -6 and the blue waves should hover around 50%.


Is that more or less what your screen looks like during a recording?


How are you recording computer playback? What options do you choose in Device Toolbar ?

Computer speakers will have little bass and will distort much more readily. If you want to tweak the sound for listening only on computer speakers you may have to make a separate export at a low volume and with extra bass.

What is your project rate bottom left of Audacity? Is it 44100 Hz?


Thanks for the interest and assistance. The meter is generally well below -6 and the sound waves
are well under 50%.
For the PC, the toolbar is set at MME, SoundMax Digital Audio(Dell Optiplex 170l), either Digitech GNX4 or
MOTU 2408 mkII, Stereo Input(2 Channel).
For the Mac, the toolbar is set at Core Audio, Built-in Audio, Digitech Mac USB(Digitech GNX4), Stereo Input(2 Channel).
I record with analog cassette and send a 2trk mix to the GNX4 to the computer. I’ve reduced the complexity
of my recording for now. I’m recording only a combo tone of piano/string and lead vocals. My keyboard is a
Triton proX which by default has a lot of bass out the box. I cut the bass internally which helps. Once the
2trks were recorded in Audacity I added reverb, normalization, compression etc.
With this project there is less overload in the speakers, but it’s still there. I’d like to get rid of it completely. This
issue doesn’t happen when I listen to audio on the Web whether it be a video or an audio only file. Which makes
conclude that it’s not the speakers. Something in the chain is off. Again when I playback in my studio monitors,
headphones, or boombox the sound is clear. Thanks.

You could download the web audio as a file to your computer (search Google or Bing for how to do that) and look at it in Analyze > Plot Spectrum… .

Compare that with the plot from one of your recordings that distort in the computer speakers.

You can attach a screen shot of both plots if you like. Please see here for how to attach files: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1 .

You can’t expect much from computer speakers unless they are external and you paid decent money for them. What is the make and model number of the speakers?