recording is randomly interrupted

Being new to audio recording I plead for your indulgence.
I have Audacity 2.0.5 for windows 7.
I’m attempting to record a cassette tape to the computer and then to a CD.
The panasonic tape deck (SA-AK33) connected through the Headphones jack to the line in jack in the back of the computer.
After setting up and starting the recording, all looks and sounds (monitoring on) fine.
While monitoring through the speakers and watching the volume meters and the sound waves about 30 seconds into the recording, the sound through the speakers stops but the meters continue to respond to signal without a break. The silence continues for between 1 to 5 seconds then continues. Thinking that possibly the recording is good but the “buffering” to the speakers is the problem (if that is possible) I let it continue for about 4 minutes. I then decide to check the recording. After stopping the recording using Audacity stop button, I push the Audacity play button to hear what was recorded and the silences were recorded and where present in the play back.
The meter on the tape deck and the meters on Audacity all continued without interruption through the 4 minute recording. The silences were not regular in spacing between them or in length of silence. The frequency of silences in the 4 minute recording varied from about 2 or 3 per minute to about 6 per minute.
Please excuse my lack of knowledge of appropriate terms to better describe the problem. If I knew enough to know them I may be able to better solve the problem myself.

It’s OK. We got this. Win7 has sound processing that can cause unwanted “magic” effects in an ordinary show. You should go look in your machine to see if all the conferencing and communications “enhancements” are turned off.

See if any of this helps:

Just so I understand this, the sound you’re listening to during the recording goes away periodically, but the Audacity blue waves keep collecting and the red recording meters continue to bounce right through the silent patch? When you play that exact portion back later, the show is silent but there are blue waves and the green playback meters continue to bounce? Does the silent patch seem to wander each time you play back the show, or does it always die in the exact same place?


Do we assume the red recording meters bounced at a lower level when the silences were recorded?

If so I would check the cable and the connections at either end.

If the tape deck has a line out that may give you better quality than the headphones out, but you won’t be able to control the level that’s recorded using the volume knob on the tape deck.


Tim here again. Haven’t been able to get back to this until today.
Thank you for your suggestions. Here is the update, but still not solved. New clues in response to you questions may help.
The tape deck has no line out. Speakers attach with separate and skinned wires attached with open and closed clips but not screws. speakers are not attached while trying to record.
Cable connections appear to be will connected.
The silent sections are not in the same places on subsequent attempts to record. Noting where the silent spots were during recording and when playing back, they were not in the sames spots. On subsequent attempts to record, again the silent spots are random compared to the first and second and third recording attempts. They appear to be truly random. The blue waves continue and the red bars keep bouncing consistently (not diminished) through the recording and the playing back.
I hope this helps.

Attached where - to the tape deck? What playback (output) device have you chosen in Audacity Device Toolbar ?

Are you sure the recording (input) device in Device Toolbar is set to the computer line-in? If the recording is continuous but there are gaps in the playthrough of the recording, then recording from stereo mix would record the gaps.

If there are visible flat lines in the recorded track, then when playing that track, the green playback meters in Audacity will and must be at a lower level than when tall blue waves are being played.

Have you plugged headphones into the tape deck and listened? Is the tape playing without silences?


I continue to thank you for your attempts to solve this one.
The speakers attache to the tape deck with skinned wires. That is why I have been using the headphones jack for the output.
The Playback out put on Audacity is set to speakers (realtek high def)
The input device in Audacity is set to Line in real tek High def.
Tape is playing w/o silences when using headphones in the tape deck.
No flat lines are found on the deck, the blue waves the red and green meters while recording except at the beginning of the tape before the music starts to play and in between songs on the tape.
I hope this helps.

In your first post you said:

the silences were recorded

Which statement is correct?

If the recording is complete but there is intermittent playthrough or intermittent playback of the already recorded waves, then the only issue is the Realtek playback device.

Realtek could have a hardware fault or you may need to go to the web site of the computer or motherboard manufacturer and download the latest audio drivers meant for Windows 7 and your particular computer model. Don’t go to the Realtek site for drivers as these will only be generic drivers that may not be properly matched to your hardware.

If you have 64-bit Windows 7 then you must obtain 64-bit drivers. Please see: .


Please excuse my terminology regarding recorded silences. In retrospect, it seems it would be difficult to determine if a silence was recorded or if nothing was recorded.
My intention was to describe the condition that while making the recording and listening to the play through, I could hear places where there was no playthrough while noting that the meters on the tape deck and the red and green meter on Audacity were bouncing and the blue wave on Audacity was active and not flat lined, except at the beginning of the tape before the music started and in between songs.
I’ve gone through device manager and made sure that all drivers are up to date on all devices not just audio or video devices. I am operating on a 64 bit system and those drivers were current and best available.
I’m going to try recording the first song on the tape again but instead of playing it back on Audacity, I’ll try playing with some other player and see if the breaks still occur.

Continuing the saga.
I again recorded one song using Audacity and noted that the meters all showed uninterrupted activity through the piece eventho there were random silences or sound breaks in the playthrough.
I exported it to a wav file and played it with VLC and there were breaks in the music (recorded silences) no manifest in the meters while recording. No flat lines during the recording.
Many thanks for your continued efforts.

It’s not difficult if you were recording from a loud tape then after recording you CTRL + 1 several times to zoom in on the recorded waves. Wherever there is a flat line which is not an intended silence in the song, you recorded silence (or more likely, very quiet noise).

If when you were recording there was really no playthrough from the computer sound device, then the green meters should have stopped bouncing at that point.

Device Manager is only occasionally able to work out the best drivers for your system of its own accord.

So I suggest you go to the web site of the computer or motherboard manufacturer to check if you have the correct audio drivers for your computer model (unless you have already been there recently).

Is it a branded computer like Dell?

If the green playback meters were uninterrupted that suggests the fault is very close to where the audio comes out of the speakers. Exactly what computer speakers are you using?

Also start Audacity afresh, Generate > Tone of 2 minutes duration and click OK. Now Play the tone and watch the green playback meters. Is the sound or the metering interrupted?

If there are no flat lines in the recording (see above for how to discover that) then there are no recorded silences. The problem is your playback device.


Thank you all.
I tried to make the recording on a laptop and all when perfectly well.
Problem appears to be in the playback or playthrough on the desktop and or speakers and or sound card which is beyond my understanding.
Because it works through the laptop, that is what I’ll use and I may sometime solve this current conundrum.
Sorry for the trouble.

It is entirely possible that your laptop is much more powerful than your desktop (mine certainly is).

Audio recording in real time on a computer is very compute intensive - anything that interrupts the PC can cause interrupts, gaps, in the recording. And note that you will not hear these gaps if you are monitoring while recording, only on playback.


But since the user does hear the gaps while monitoring (on their latest evidence), it seems to point to a playback problem.


Surely, it seems to point to a capture/recording problem - with the PC in use not being fast enough to keep up with the audio stream - a problem which would be evidenced on playback?


Not if there are no visible gaps in the waveform, which (on the latest evidence) I understand to be the case.


I have run Audacity Recording mode on win98, winXP and win7 (cut down notebook version) without any problems, but I recently purchased a new win7 professional laptop. The recording of music by Audacity on this machine replicates the problems listed by ‘timkchilds’ . The same problem occurs when sonic forge is used to record. I was therefore pleased to assume it must be an operating system problem rather than a glitch in my new computer.

My fixit went like this -
Unplugging the speakers from the ext. speaker outlet and using the computer’s inbuilt tinny speakers significantly alleviated the problem but it didn’t totally fix it.

As I had successfully run Audacity recording on other operating systems, I tried the Windows troubleshoot compatibility (Audacity.exeright mouse click) and selected winXP as an operating system it I knew it had worked ok with. This resulted in an error message of something like ‘unhandled exception’ which I ignored. I then tried recording with Audacity as before. This resolved the random interruptions but garbled the sound.
I knew Audacity recording also worked on my win7 notebook, but there was no “troubleshoot compatibility” selection for “cutdown version of win7”, so I tried Vista 2. Again I got the ‘unhandled exception’ error message that I ignored. This time my Audacity recording went well - no interruptions nor garbled sound. I tried various vamp plugins to see if they were affected but it all seems to be working properly now.
I haven’t done really extensive testing of my fix but so far, so good. I would be interested to know if it fixes ‘timkchilds’ problem


Pick a low tone, 400Hz or lower so you don’t go crazy listening to it for two minutes. It doesn’t have to be very loud. You can read the paper while it’s playing, but we’re betting that even though Audacity made a perfect tone “show” and the green playback meters never change, your computer won’t play it back without holes in it.


Are you sure it was the recording? You can’t know that unless you zoom into the recording to see if there are visible gaps or discontinuities. If the faults are heard in different places on each play, then it is a playback problem.

What exactly are you trying to record? Computer playback? What input source are you choosing in Audacity Device Toolbar to do that?

You should not ignore “unhandled exception” messages when recording.

You should not need to run Audacity in compatibility mode for an older version of Windows in order to record or play back correctly.

What exactly is the make and model number of the computer? The symptoms sound like the audio device needs correct drivers to be installed or reinstalled.


In reply to Gale

  1. Definitely the recording - zooming into the track wave form showed no gaps on previous recording under win98, winxp and “cutdown win7”. My new prof. version win7 recording with Audacity set to run under win7 clearly shows interrupts of silence ranging from approx 1(+/-) sec to 5(+/-) seconds. I have a saved recording showing the interruptions. It is not a playback problem.

  2. I tried various recording sources. The saved recording with interrupts problems referred to above is from streaming mp3 from the web, but I’ve also recorded from youTube clips. Just to ensure it wasn’t an issue with recording from the web, I have internally recorded (ie not directly imported into Audacity) from cd disk(both cd format music and mp3 files) and also just from regular mp3, ogg, wav and wma files via Audacity “stereo mix” setting. Again all of the recordings using my professional win7 have interruptions whereas those recorded on other operating platforms are ok.

  3. I can’t remember exactly the error message when I selected Audacity to run under Vista, but it was something like “unhandled exception”. I don’t want to stuff up whatever I did to fix the problem by retracing my steps to recreate the error message.

I agree I should not need to run Audacity in compatibility mode to work correctly but I notice that shows that many people have a problem with win7.

My computer is a Toshiba SatellitePro C50-A running win7 ver 6.1 (build 7601:Serv Pack 1). It’s a little over a week old and it has win7 installed instead of win8 (which is an option included in my purchase) and is complete with all the latest drivers. The decision to select win7 over win8 was on professional advice citing compatibility issues experienced with business software.


Please see this page for some possible solutions: .

There are a lot of potential solutions listed there, but assuming the audio device or its drivers isn’t broken you should be able to effect some improvement without resorting to solutions that appear to be irrelevant (or should be irrelevant on a properly set up system).

Thanks, so you’re recording computer playback. Using the computer’s inbuilt “tinny” speakers should not make any difference to the recording quality (when played back through good speakers) or to skipping, so I would still say something is wrong.

I can only go on what you wrote which was:

significantly alleviated the problem but it didn’t totally fix it

You should never accept manufacturers’ assurances (or Windows Device Manager assurances) that the drivers are up-to-date, particularly if you have a non-standard Windows installation for that machine.

If you don’t have them already, these are the drivers you should have (the drivers are only a few weeks old so it is well worth checking it out).

Windows 7 32-bit:

Windows 7 64-bit: