Tinny sound and predominantly left-of-centre sound

Hi all,

My apologises, I’ve read through the FAQs and still can’t seem to track this one down. It is probably something really obvious and stupid I’m doing, but I can’t seem to narrow it down - I’m sorry!

It’s a brand new computer as the old laptop’s motherboard failed. It’s an Asus G75V gaming laptop with W7 Home, 64 bit on it. It has a built in microphone, if that could be causing the problems?

I have the latest Audacity from the zip.

I’ve been using Audacity for over a year with no problems on the old HP laptop, but the laptop broke on Monday, so I’m on a new laptop, and have not used Windows 7 before either, so I’m struggling a bit her with all the unfamiliarity…

The problem is the playback of a recording sounds very “thin” and “tinny” almost like an old-time radio recorded with a microphone in the room. Somewhat bizzarely the recordings also seem to be always coming definately from the left hand side. Looking at the waveforms, I can’t actually see anything wrong with them, they both look to be the same amplitude on left and right channels. Actually the only thing odd (and I’ve just noticed this), is that left and right DO look identical, I can see nothing different between the channels, as thought there is no stereo seperation at all and it is being as twin mono???

I have Audio host: MME, Output Device: Speakers (VIA High Definition Audio), Input Device: Microphone (VIA High Definition Audio), and Input Channels: 2 (stereo) Input Channels. Changing MME to Windows Direct Sound, Output Device to Microsoft Sound Mapper, and Input to Microsoft Sound Mapper made no difference to the problem

These “effects” are present when playing back an unsaved recording in Audacity. The same problems are present when playing back the saved recording in Windows Media Player. Recordings I made on the old machine with Audacity sound fine when played back on this laptop, whether in Audacity or WMP. So it does definately sound like a recording and not a playback issue then?

This laptop has 2.1 surround sound, which I’d never heard of on a laptop before, but the sound quality is stunning compared to the old HP one. Could the 2.1 surround sound be responsible somehow? I’ve followed the FAQs about turning off effects if it sounds like it’s in a tunnel, but there are no sound effects that I was able to find, apart from on the mic array and turning that off made no difference.

I really am sorry everyone, I’m scratching my head over this one and being new to W7 after holding onto XP for solong is not helping me and I’m floundering a bit here. Please can anyone help me?

It’s easy to be too close to the problem to see the obvious.

What are you recording? Nowhere in that otherwise excellent description is a note of what the job is and how it’s connected.

Oh, yes. Newer Windows machines can be a little magic.


Hi again,

I’m recording online audio, just as I always did on the old laptop without problems. Things like interviews with famous people or those who were “there at the right moment” to do something momentous. I have been sure to make sure there is no clipping to avoid distortion.

You are right, I’m probably too close to this to see the obvious!

Thank you for the kind help…

I know the problem now, but not the solution - Please can anyone help???

I said it myself, it sounded like the sound being recorded was like it was being recorded with a microphone in the room. That is exactly what was happening. Audacity is recording the sound heard at the microphones, instead of the sound out. It is recording it’s own microphones. Argh, anyone any idea how to set it to record the output sound, not the microphones? If I set the input device to MS Sound Mapper, not microphones, it still reocrds the microphones as before with no apparent change?

Thank you anyone who can help!

It looks like you are recording the sound from your speakers with the laptop’s built-in microphone. That would explain the tinny mono sound.
Have a look at the Tutorial - Recording Computer Playback on Windows


Ragnar - Thank you, thank you , thank you!

I and everyone else was right, it was indeed trying to record the sound via the computer’s in-built microphones…

I could not see how to set it to anything else though? as all the options that there were in Audacity and in Windows made no difference to it. The solution though was indeed there in the link you gave me, to “Tutorial - Recording Computer Playback on Windows”. It seems so hidden in Windows 7, that I apologise to everyone for not having found the solution myself. I’d checked the properties of everything I had thought. I have to confess right-clicking the speaker symbol and then clicking on show disconnected devices, then finding I finally had a stereo mix that needed enabling and then getting Audacity to rescan for devices, finally allowed me to record directly, without trying to record via the microphone.

What software idiot (presumably on the device driver’s side) decided to disable and then hide stereo mix by default???

I’ve seen so many comments about people not being able to record sound with screen recording software (like the sounds computers make when clicking on an action), etc. I now think that the majority of those problems might well have had the same solution as this. So that is why I’m doing a long reply, not just to thank you very much indeed, but also in the hope that if anyone else has this problem, a search might bring up this thread and Ragnar’s advice will be able to solve it for them, not just in Audacity, but so many other programs seem to suffer from the inability to record the computer sound and might be solvable by the estimable advice on this forum!

I have to admit that in desperation this morning, I was considering using the old trick needed for some sound cards back in the 80s, of a 3.5mm “patch cord” that would plug in the speaker socket and the other end plugs into the microphone socket, to feed the sound directly back into the computer again…

Thank you very much again, all of you. I think it would have taken me months to discover that on my own.

Incidentally, Audacity, along with IrfanView seem to be some of the best-written software I’ve come across. Both are unbelieveably flexible, seem to do everything and are have pretty effective GUIs. Although not much of a payback, perhaps I might be able to help a little in return for all of yours? I have for years wondered about the possibility of a software parametric equalizer… They can be so much better than normal equalizers at times, that I wondered if something like that could be added to Audacity possibly, to make it even more “universal audio solution”? If only I had the software skills to write it myself though.

Best wishes,


There are two factors. As you will be aware, artists and record labels are very emphatic these days about preventing unauthorised recording and copying of their material.

Secondly, Microsoft are keen to “simplify” audio choices for users.

So computer manufacturers and manufacturers of motherboard audio devices tend to enable only microphone by default, and may completely remove stereo mix.

Windows has a built-in way (provided in the WASAPI API) of recording audio as it plays on the computer.

Hopefully the next 2.0.4 release of Audacity will add support for the WASAPI API. This will allow Audacity to record computer playback on Windows Vista and later, even if the audio device does not support this, or even if recording of playback is disabled in the device. This new feature is subject to satisfactory testing, and will only be released if there are no major problems with it.