Sounds Like I'm Recording Chipmunks

This is a fresh installation of Audacity 2.1.2. I recorded a conversation today with two people in the studio and one person calling in via phone. Done it a hundred times before with no problem.

Problem: The entire recording sounds like it’s running at 2x-3x normal speed. I checked the obvious interface settings and nothing appears to be set to, “Chipmunk Action”, so I’m open to ideas from the smart people on what I may have done incorrectly. Thanks!

Windows 8.1
Audacity 2.1.2
Don’t recall install format…

It’s hurt-your-head counter-intuitive, but a fast playback, unless the player is broken, usually means a slow recording. What could you have been doing to slow down the recording computer?

and one person calling in via phone.

Is that metaphor-English for “Skype?” If it is, you should know Audacity doesn’t directly support Skype or other Chat systems because of exactly the problem you have. I don’t mean the speeded-up thing. I mean “I’ve done this a million times and now, suddenly…”

Skype is, without exaggeration, vicious about taking over the sound services of whatever is running it. Whatever rhythm, clock or timing service you think was running on your machine during the recording, that’s probably not correct.

Let us know.


If it’s 2x or 3x too short, you can try Effect > Change Speed… to correct it.


Ahhh! One of the “call-in” participants during both sessions was indeed running her call through her computer (probably Skype!) so that may be it. I’ll letcha know. TY!

Okay, problem solved. I had had some computer issues a week back and, long story short, I had uninstalled and re-installed Audacity. Been quite a while since I had done that so I had forgotten that I had to go into my Windows Control Panel/hardware/Sound and check the sampling number there (it was 16 bits), then go into the Preferences in Audacity and change that to 16 bits to match. The default in Audacity when I installed it was 32 bits so I guess that was the problem because I just did a 1-minute, “clock vs Audacity-recording-length” and at the 60 second mark on my highly utilitarian, geekified but cheap wrist watch, my Audacity recording length was dead on the money at 60 seconds, vs the roughly 33 seconds it had been clocking.

Alvin and The Chipmunks have left the building!

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, folks!

Mismatched bit depth (Default Sample Format in Audacity) almost never causes speed problems. Audacity’s default 32-bit float Default Sample Format gives you quicker processing and better quality if you are applying a lot of effects to the audio.

So probably some other variability was the problem. Mismatched sample rates (specified in Hz) do cause speed problems.