Poor sound on export

I use Audacity in a crude way for voice, not music. So when I say the sound is bad, it’s really bad.

I created a short narration I planned to include in a Movie Maker video. It sounds good to me in Audacity but when I export it to either WAV or MP3 there are almost unintelligible parts.

I was using an older version and when I had this problem I downloaded and installed the latest version 2.2.2

I use Windows 10 and played back on RealPlayer. I’m attaching the mp3 version but they sound about the same

You may have stumped the band. You have very severe low pitch rumble in there similar to earthquake sounds.

Nobody’s concerned with the overload and clipping right? That part is normal and expected.

It doesn’t match anything I’ve heard before. That could be wind noise. I’ve heard outdoor productions do that. You were indoors, right, and it sounds OK in Audacity?


We can wait for other forum elves to check in. The active forum spans nine time zones and I’m the last one.


Yes, it was made indoors at my desktop computer

Ensure that the gain slider is at zero (centered) before you export https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/audio_tracks.html#gain

The gain slider was at 0 when I did the export

This may be the first recording I’ve done it Audacity. I usually use it to edit sound files from other sources.

I find if I play it in Firefox it sounds much better.

The audio is badly distorted because it’s too loud.

Is the sample that you processed a raw, totally unmodified recording (no effects applied, just recorded then exported without doing anything else)?

What microphone are you using and how is it connected to your computer?

No, after recording it I increased the volume (amplified) it. One of my uses for Audacity is to amplify voice. I find the volume of most YouTube videos is too low, requiring me to turn up the volume on my computer then forget I’ve done it and it blows me out when going back to normal sounds.

And update:
I have now played it in Firefox and VLC and it’s adequate in both. It seems to be something about Realplayer. It will never be good quality because in order to increase the volume I turned off clipping.

I use this USB microphone

The audio is badly distorted because it’s too loud.

And right there we part company. There is severe rumble distortion in parts of the performance that don’t hit 100%.

We need to pay attention to how you’re listening. My sound system is full range and will hit earthquake sounds with no trouble. This sound clip has enough vibration to put ripples in a wine glass. I clock sound tones at 5 Hz. That’s what? “P” earthquake waves?

That’s a standard Hollywood joke. You can’t photograph an earthquake so you’re required to have a wine glass in the scene.

This also means the distortion will come and go depending on whether those waves survive the soundcard delivering them. So I suspect the distortion is always there—you just can’t always hear it.

If these are YouTube samples, then they may have been recorded that way many miles away.

Effect > Amplify doesn’t change the musical tones in a performance unless you make the tones too loud.

Are you talking about “There it is” words at 3-1/2 seconds? Yes, that is straight distortion from making the sound too loud. We should sort that before anything else.

If you’re interested in making the performances louder, you may be a candidate for Chris’s Compressor. Chris wrote a compressor to make operas louder so he could listen to them in a noisy car. It does it without adding any obvious distortion.


increase the volume I turned off clipping.

You selected “Allow Clipping?”
Normally, Amplify will stop making sound louder if there is going to be any distortion. If you select “Allow Clipping” Amplify will make sound as loud as you want and if it distorts, that’s OK.

There is a limit to the volume of a show. The bouncing sound meter goes all the way up and the blue waves fill the space top to bottom. If you have View > Show Clipping selected, the distorted parts turn red.
Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 7.08.36.png
So if you’re objecting to the crunch and not the rumble, that’s what’s causing it. That’s where Chris’s Compressor may help.

Are you anywhere near a Costco in the US? Many of them will give you a free hearing check.


Thanks to everyone. I’m about to decide this has been a wild goose chase caused by RealPlayer. It seems to sound as I expected in other players, so I’m stopping my investigation for now.

I do appreciate the link to Chris’s Compressor and intend to look at that. Since I’m using Audacity to edit and amplify.

As to my hearing, I’m in my 80’s, and depend on hearing aids. But, I don’t think it’s a factor in this problem.

I have to say, though I only uses a small part of Audacity, it’s an amazing program!

There may be other things to try. I said there are very serious problems with that clip that most people may not be able to hear.

Effect > Equalization: Low Rolloff for Speech, Length about 5000 > OK

Effect > Compress Dynamics (Chris):
Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 10.31.44.png
This is a before and after of one of my presentations. It switches at six seconds.

Both of those tools have sticky preferences. Once you set the tools the way you want, the settings tend to stick that way, so they’re really easy to use.


hi, I know this is not related but maybe a little. I’m also experiencing lose of volume when exporting to MP3/WAV. I’m not sure if it’s a bug in the software or just growing pains. But I’m using Windows Payer and Windows 10 OS and Recording volume is 1.0.

I just thought I would put it out there if you are still having problems, your not alone. Note that I’m newbie to this.

I suspect you are right that your problem is not related.

Why do you think you are experiencing a loss of volume? Do you want to record a 10-second sample then post the .WAV and .MP3 files? Before you export take a snapshot: Tools > Screenshot > Capture Full Window.

Edited: Please disregard. I see you have posted this issue in a different thread here How to make Audacity playback sound volume equal to sound volume of WAV/MP3 file when exporting?
where you have already received some replies.