recording problems after international move

Hi. Since early 2016 I have been happily using Audacity 2.1.2 on an HP Envy laptop running windows 10. My audio hardware had been 2 Samson dynamic mics (Shure SM58 knockoffs) for stereo recording with an Alesis io2 interface. It’s a cheap and rudimentary setup but it’s served my modest musical and engineering skills well.

I have recently moved from the US to Lebanon. While here I decided to upgrade my mics to a pair of MXL990 condensers. All other equipment and software remained the same. The first time I tried the MXLs out (which was also the first time I tried recording in my new location) I noticed that the resulting recording was slower than the original. File 1 is an example; the guitar is playing a pattern in D (or so) but sounds like a C; a full tone lower than live. In addition, when recording a second guitar part as an overdub I found that the second track has electronic clicks, hiccups and buzzing which on top these annoyances causes the new track to fall out it synch. File 2 is a sample of the second guitar track alone, and file 3 is the two tracks together.

For comparison, I also tried my old Samson dynamics and the result was the same—a slowed down and artificially noisy recording. A sample of this is file 4 (volume differences is actual.)

Can anyone help by venturing a guess what’s the cause of my problems (and if they can, if there are any suggestions to resolve them)? I have used this Audacity version after moving from the US to a 220v country before with the same laptop without any similar experience. Not, however, with the same audio hardware.

In case it helps, recording with the mic internal to the laptop results in no discrepancies or exraneous noises.

I’ve read the suggestion that upgrading to the latest release of Audacity can solve many issues. I’d prefer not to go that route yet as I’m familiar and comfortable with the version I’m using, and I’ve been getting good results from it. Until now, of course.

Thanks for any responses.

The current version of Audacity (2.3.3) can tell you if you’re getting [u]dropouts[/u] during recording, which can cause glitches and speed problems.

Dropouts are related to multitasking. Your operating system is always multitasking but it helps to minimize the number of applications & background operations that are running, and you can increase buffer size/latency to help prevent buffer overflow.

Thanks for the suggestion. I tried again with no other apps or programs open and internet disconnected, but the result was the same. I’ll try increasing buffer size over 100 milliseconds next and see what happens. If there’s still no improvement I’ll upgrade to 2.3.3 in case that’ll make a difference.

I should add that I did try a recording project in October, two months after my arrival here, and it worked fine. 220v power apparently is not the cause. Nothing else has changed either in the program or my OS between then and the onset of the present problem; the only hardware difference is the mic upgrade. The fact that recording with the built-in mic is as good as before indicates, I think, the issue is between the interface and Audacity. But I don’t understand what could have changed, or why or how.

Try changing the Audacity project-rate from the default 44100Hz to 48000Hz before recording.

Thanks. Unfortunately changing the project rate likewise made no difference.

I wish I can figure out what might have happened between October, when all was working well, and January, when this issue started. I’m on the one hand starting to wonder if the problem is in the interface, and on the other hand, why would it be. What can affect Audacity connecting with an interface? It has nothing to do with the computer’s sound card, right? The interface is supposed to bypass that, I thought.