Recording sounds like it's coming through a telephone

I had recorded all the chapters for an audiobook, as well as some edits. It all sounded great. But on the final round of edits, for some reason, it sounds terrible, like it’s coming through a telephone or something. As far as I know, I’ve done absolutely nothing different. I simply plug in my microphone (via USB), turn on audacity, and start recording. But out of nowhere, the recording stopped sounding like it used to.

In case you’re wondering, it sounds terrible on the playback, so I know it’s not an export issue. I made sure my mic is the input on the Windows sound settings. I also got a new microphone – same problem. I also disabled all the plugins – nothing changed. But what did work – I downloaded WavePad. Problem solved. Except I don’t have any desire to use WavePad in the long term, so I’d like to know how to fix the problem within Audacity.

Would very much appreciate your help!

But what did work – I downloaded WavePad. Problem solved.

You should use all the English words when you post messages. You downloaded WavePad and Audacity started working?

WavePad makes a clean recording but Audacity doesn’t? I thought the damage only happened after editing?


I know one way you can get that kind of quality damage during editing. We know that ACX requires Constant Bitrate MP3 files at 192 quality for audiobook submission. It’s a little less obvious that you’re not supposed to be producing and editing in MP3. You’re supposed to produce the book in perfect quality WAV files and make an MP3 file just before you submit to ACX.

A recent poster made that mistake and produced everything in MP3 files. The quality fell apart as she was editing. She had to read it over again. There is no recovery. Once you have that honky, bubbly, space alien MP3 compression distortion, the reading is trash.


A word on how this works. It seems like magic, but it’s actually behind-the-scenes technology. When you make an MP3 file, the process produces a sound file with the musical tones slightly rearranged and with some of the quieter tones left out. That’s what gives the nice, tiny MP3 files. This is what MP3 was designed to do, and most people can’t hear it working.

The problem comes when you do it more than once—when you make an MP3 file into another MP3 file. MP3 rearranges the musical tones again and leaves out even more tones. If you do that three times, you could trash the show.

WAV files aren’t perfect, but they don’t have compression and they are much more resistant to sound damage.