Stuffy sound on high notes

Hey, I use Audacity on Vista for recording guitar. Everything works fine, beside one thing: When I record something on the high notes, like solos or so, the sound is very stuffy - it doesn’t sound right at all…

I have no idea what is causing this problem, so I would like to hear if some of you out there does.


Without detailed information about your set-up and an example WAV file it could be just about anything. A poor microphone, poor sound card, incorrect recording levels, exporting in a low quality format… or any number of other things.

Okay, I recorded a little sample so you can hear what I mean:

Do you have your guitar or amplifier plugged into the Microphone Input of your laptop?

The problem with inspecting artistic performances is there’s no way to know what the original intention was. That clip sounds exactly like a conventional Jimmy Hendricks fuzz guitar.

If it was intended to sound like a pure clean acoustic guitar, then we need to figure out how you have things plugged together.


I use a Behringer Guitar Link UCG 102 to plug my guitar into my pc (

For the recorded piece I used distortion, which works fine when I record something on the lower notes

The audio clip sounds like a guitar playing through a distortion pedal. What makes you think this is an Audacity problem?

It doesn’t really sound clear or sharp - it sounds very stuffy

Make sure that you are recording at 44100Hz 16 bit or higher (Edit > Preferences > Quality)
Try changing the settings on the Behringer, or using the Equalizer effect to boost the treble.
Export as WAV format rather than MP3.

Hmm, I changed the settings to what you said, but now it won’t record anything at all

No, never mind - I fixed it again.

But, the sound is still the same when I record, as before I changed the settings

How are you listening the the sound while you record? Headphones plugged into the computer?
How are you listening to the sound after you have recorded it? Headphones plugged into the computer?

When I record I have headphones plugged into the computer.
After I have recorded it, I usually listen to it without headphones plugged into the computer.

Are you sure that the difference is not just the difference between your headphones and your speakers?


So at what point does it start to sound “stuffy”?

I seriously doubt that this is a problem in the Audacity program. Audacity does not, and can not process the sound in any way during recording or during playback. It just records the data that is sent to it and, on playback, sends that data back to your selected sound card. What we need to determine is why the sound coming out is not what you are expecting.

If it’s not Audacity, do you think it can be my sound card then?

I don’t know if this have anything to do with this, but when I try to use some diferent sound editing software the sound doesn’t come out propper neither.

I don’t really know anything about sound cards, but maybe that could cause the problems?

Well that could be a clue.

Perhaps if you describe (in detail - remember I can’t see over your shoulder) how you have the equipment set up, and exactly what you are doing, perhaps we’ll be able to narrow down the cause of the issue. Imagine that I am going to buy the same equipment, set it up the same way, and produce the same results that you are getting - what do I need to do?

My guitar is connected to my pedals (Zoom G1 and Boos DS-1). The pedals are connected to my Behringer Guitar Link UCG 102 and that’s plugged into my computer.

When I record in Audacity, I turn off one of the pedals and choose an effect, press record and it comes out “stuffy” when I play it afterwards.

When I bought the Behringer Guitar Link UCG 102 it came with some sound editing software called Guitar Combo from Native Instruments. When I try to play some recorded stuff in that program (or even I if play the demo tones in it) it sounds like… The same sound as if my speakers were broken - very very crunching and noisy.

And I have also tried Guitar Rig and some Ampeg software.

Another thing that could have something to do with this is that sometimes, very suddenly, the sound of my computer just freaks out. When that happens and I try to play some music for instance, it sounds like my speakers were broken (which they aren’t, cause I have tried many different speakers). Then I have to shut down the computer and wait some hours and it works fine again. It’s strange…

Thanks for helping me out by the way

How are you listening to the guitar while you are recording? What are your headphones plugged into?

Which version of Audacity are you using? (Look in “Help menu > About Audacity”)

When you go into the Preferences menu (Edit menu > Preferences) the first tab is either “Audio I/O” or “Devices”, what settings do you have in there?
On the “Quality” tab in Preferences, what settings do you have in there?

When I record I only listen to the back ground track and not my guitar, but with headphones.

I use the version 1.2.6

In the Audio I/O:
First box: Microsoft Sound Maps - Output
Second box: Microsoft Soudn Maps - Input
Thrid box: 1 (Mono)
And then there is a mark in the box that says something like “Play other tracks while recording a new one”

In the Quality:
Standard recording rate: 44100 Hz
Standard recording format: 16-bit
Real-time converting of sampling frequency: Fast Sync Interplolation
High Quality sample frequency converting: High quality Sync Interplation
Real-time dither: None
High quality dither: triangle

The words might not be exactly as they are in your version, cause mine is in Danish and I just translated it into English