"Tunnel" effect on exported audio


I use Audacity to produce podcasts. Today I encountered an unusual problem. Here’s the scenario.

  • Imported WAV file of recording. Host on L track, guests on R track.
  • Edited the audio, normalized all, compressed host, no other processing done
  • Everything sounds great on playback in Audacity
  • Exported as MP3, 96 kbps constant, mono
  • When playing back the MP3 file, the host sounds like he’s in a tunnel. The panelists sound fine.

Any idea what’s going on here?


Is it OK when exported in stereo?

If so, I’m going to guess you’re using a stage/studio mic with a balanced (3-wire) XLR connector adapted to regular unbalanced (2-wire) soundcard. There are ways to mis-wire a microphone connection that put the left & right channels out-of-phase and then they cancel (or partially cancel) when mixed-down to mono.

What do you mean by “panelists”?


Thanks for your replies.

I figured out what was going on. There was another mic in a portion of the recording that was picking up the host. I was able to mute that and paste in the correct audio, and the tunnel effect was gone.

Operator error!

Thanks again for responding so promptly.