sound plays back as noise

Using 2.1.0 on Win10 but when I began having problems, I installed older version: 2.0.5, which works on another PC.

Playback of recorded instrumental performance is just noise.

I have recorded using other programs on this PC and they record clearly. Therefore, I suppose it’s not the PC’s microphone or driver. I have an example WAV file if that would be useful.

I have an example WAV file if that would be useful.

That might be helpful if you can post a short sample.
[u]How to post an audio sample[/u].

What are you recording from? i.e. The microphone built-into your laptop? Have you selected the microphone (or whatever you’re trying to use) as the recording input in Audacity?

Can you play back the audio from within Audacity before exporting to WAV?

I am recording musicians playing their instruments – violin, piano.
I use the built-in microphone of the PC.
I may have done something to cause the problem. I recorded one piece and the volume was too low, so I started poking around to find a way to increase the recording volume. Since then, it plays back from Audacity as noise. The wave form in Audacity looks to the naked eye like that of other recordings done on another PC. But obviously, it’s not the same.
Note: Audacity still plays back projects done on other PC fine; plays back those I am recording on this PC as noise.
Note: I don’t think I know what you mean by “selecting the microphone.”
Short WAV file attached called “audio distortion.wav.” It is a simple scale on an electric piano.

That’s very strange. It sounds like it’s badly clipped/overloaded but the waveform isn’t clipped and there are lots of dynamics.

Maybe something’s broken/defective? Make sure [u]Windows Enhancements[/u] are disabled. They are mostly designed to improve voice communications, but they can foul-up music. (I’m not sure the “enhancements” can screw-up music that badly.)

Note: I don’t think I know what you mean by “selecting the microphone.”

Not important now… I just wanted to know what your source is. Your laptop has a built-in microphone (which you used), an external mic input, and I didn’t know if you were using a desktop/tower with additional inputs, or if you were using an external USB audio interface, etc…

There’s audio chopped-out every 1/100th of a second …
audio chopped out.png
Softwares can fight over who has control of the sound card,
that can cause consistent interruptions on that (10ms) timescale.

I couldn’t find any reference to Windows Enhancements in Win10 settings. Maybe I’m missing something. There was no section in the link you provided for Win10.
Now that you suggest that there may be a conflict between programs over control of sound card (I presume you mean Audacity vs. Windows) what do you recommend? Is there a way to return both windows and Audacity settings back to default? Is there something else I can explore?

As Trebor wrote, there are discontinuities in the waveform, so the primary problem is not to do with Windows Enhancements.

That’s not a safe assumption because there are many ways (different APIs) for applications to communicate with an audio device. Because a sound card appears to work correctly in one application does not exclude the possibility of driver problems.

The type of error shown in your audio sample is often caused by driver problems, so you should check that your audio device drivers are correct and up to date. Don’t rely on the automatic Windows selection - that usually just selects generic drivers rather than drivers that are specifically designed for the hardware. If you computer is a laptop and you are using the built-in audio device, check the laptop manufacturer’s website for the most recent drivers for your laptop model and version of Windows.

See here for more information:

Regardless of driver problems, you can’t expect high quality from a built-in microphone. How much money could you budget to improve things?


Based on the instructions on the lenovo website, I uninstalled the sound driver and allowed it to re-install upon boot. That solved the noise problem. Now I have a new problem, for which I’ll open a new case: recording volume is VERY low.

By the way,

Thank you for the recommendation, but we are using the recordings for students primarily to verify that they can play through certain pieces.