Recording Woes

I just purchased a nice USB Condenser Microphone that came with Audacity Software. I was successful at recording a few times and now I can’t get it to do much of anything. I have gone through scores of posts on the subject as well as triple checked all the settings. To my knowledge all the settings are fine. Needless to say I am frustrated. My primary mode of recording is with a USB Microphone and now the microphone meter won’t pick up anything and naturally nothing is being recorded. I have also visited numerous tutorials with no success. I need help!!!

So as to answer your question promptly, here is a short list of the common issues. Please let us know which ones you have checked so far - if there are any that you do not understand, let us know that too.

USB device connected to computer and recognised by Windows before you open Audacity.
Computer rebooted with USB microphone connected to computer.
USB device selected as recording device in Audacity Preferences.
Sound-card selected as playback device in Audacity Preferences.
Device exists and is enabled in Vista control panel.
Microphone works in Windows Sound Recorder.

And, of course there’s no way to know if the microphone itself is still working or not.

<<<I was successful at recording a few times … My primary mode of recording is with a USB Microphone>>>

That makes it sound like you had an older microphone that worked and you upgraded. Did you? Does the old microphone still work?

Since Audacity is a complete slave to the machine it’s running on, as above–last step, does the Windows Sound Recorder work?

Windows Sound Recorder
Start → Programs → Accessories → Entertainment

If Windows can’t see or record the microphone, then Audacity is pretty much helpless.


Nowhere in this did you say you were on a Windows machine. Are you?


You listed USB device connected to computer and recognized by Windows before you open Audacity. Is this a problem? Should it not be recognized by windows before downloading the software? I waited until the software downloaded and then I hooked up the microphone. Concerning the robooting I made sure the microphone wasn’t connected during that process. I did select the USB device in the recording preferences. I also selected the right device in playback according to tutorials. I’m using XP not Vista. What do you think?

The microphone is brand new and quality. I didn’t have an old microphone. Windows did recognize the microphone and I recorded with it at least three times.

It is a windows driven pc that uses windows xp.


Now, or before it failed? I know it seems I’m being a pain in the neck, but we can’t see your setup and we hang on your every word. This is where you find out you don’t write in near the precision you think you do.

Which Audacity version? If you’re using 1.2, then Starting Audacity Over is very difficult, but that’s what I think you should do. Let us know.


Audacity 1.2 is the version. I advocate thoroughness by the way. I figured out the problem. After several futile attempts I finally switched to another USB Port in the rear of the computer and it started working consistently. It appears that one of the USB inputs on the front of my computer didn’t connect well with the USB Microphone Cable. Thanks!

It may be more complicated than that. USB connections can be “self-healing” and in the case of a hard drive connection, they will try to punch their way through a certain amount of dirt or corrosion on the connections. If you sit there with an accurate clock and a calculator, you may notice that a file transfer takes a bit longer than it should. Most people don’t notice at all until the problem gets serious.

You find out you have a hardware problem the first time you plug in something that demands a live connection with no waits. then, suddenly, you have trash instead of a show.