Scratchy/buzzy sound on recordings[SOLVED]

I am using Audacity 2.0.3 with Windows 7. The problem is that recordings I make, whether from the Internet or from a mike, contain this faint but annoying scratchy buzz. Note that the noise is associated with sounds only, i.e., silent sections of a recording are quiet with no buzz. I have looked at hundreds of postings and have not seen anything like this described or cured. Help!! (Sample attached). Thanks in advance.

Describe the rest of the system. “I’m using a Lenovo IdeaPad laptop with Win7 and external USB hard drives.”

Does it sound OK if you just listen?


It sounds fine if I just listen. Same thing happens on a Dell desktop and on a Dell laptop.

I have looked at hundreds of postings and have not seen anything like this described or cured.

I haven’t either.

What’s common between the two computers? Are you recording with one on batteries and wifi in the back yard and the other by your wired desk in your office in the garage? Is it only one microphone moved back and forth? Which microphone?

This is hard. Try posting two more tracks, one from each computer. If the laptop can run on batteries, do that. Take the laptop to your mum’s house and make a recording of the microphone there. Is it clean?

It sounds like electrical interference I used to get from my Neighbor-East’s faulty refrigerator. We’re on the same step-down power transformer in the alley and this buzz used to get into everything. It was periodic and conformed to the heat and cool cycles of a fridge.


It looks like data corruption to me:
The buzz is a rapid series of clicks that are exactly 441 samples apart.
My best guess is that it is a problem in the sound card driver.

Windows will often install generic drivers for the sound card rather than drivers that have been specifically designed for the hardware. If your computer is a branded computer and you are using the original sound card, then I’d suggest that you go to the manufacturer’s web site and download the most recent drivers for your computer and operating system, then make a restore point, then install/update the drivers.

Guys, many thanks for your help. I will try relocating the laptop and see if that helps. Hard to believe that both machines would have bad drivers; plus source material sounds nice and clean.

Your detective skills would do credit to Inspector Barnaby himself! After eliminating all the other potential problem sources, really the only common denominator was the fact that both computers I tried recording with were Dells–the laptop is an Inspiron 1545 from 2010 and the desktop is an Inspiron 546 from 2009. When I searched for drivers on the Dell website, lo and behold, there was an “urgent” audio driver upgrade for my machine(s). I installed the new driver and voila! No more buzz. I am grateful for your time and your expertise–thanks 1,000,000.