why is external mic recording playback higher pitched


When recording with my laptop internal mic, playback pitch of recordings is correct.

When I plug in various mics and record, the playback of the recording is always higher pitched.

This happens consistently no matter what settings I change.

This change of pitch at playback occurs with other programs to, like the very basic
Windows sound recorder, and other recording programs.

I’m wondering, what is it about plugging in microphones that consistently produces
higher pitched playback of the recordings on this particular computer?
(It’s not the mics, because the don’t affect the playback pitch on other computers)

And is there anything I can do to get the mic recordings to play back at properly?

Older laptop, Asus, EeecPC, 1.6 GHz, 1GB memory
XP Home, (I know…but, for now…)
Realtek HD audio
(using original drivers since new audio drivers from Asus makes it so recordings do not work at all)

Thanks for any ideas to try.


various mics

What mics by maker and part number?
Which Audacity 3-number version are you using?


If the mics are connected directly to the computer mic port, meaning you are using the Realtek built-in sound card, it probably is a driver problem, and possibly specific to eee pc.

How much is the speed wrong?

You could try experimenting with different project rates bottom left of Audacity when you record (such as 48000 Hz instead if 44100 Hz). Try Windows Direct Sound instead of MME too in the first box of Device Toolbar.

Effect > Change Speed… can correct recordings that play back too fast or slow.


Audacity 2.1.2

One of my microphones is
DM-20SL2 uni-directional imp 600q ?

the other is
Sony F-V33 omni-directional



From what I see they each have a standard 1/8 inch plug, right? And are you connecting them directly to the mic port of the computer? If so, my previous answer (and the possible solutions) applies.


-they both have the little 1/8th inch mono plugs
-yes, connecting them one at a time directly to the mic port of the computer

Yes I think you’re right about it likely being a driver issue…looking into it.

Realtek audio manager installs with the updated driver and it comes with all these
sonic environment presets, and I can’t seem to find a simple dry kind of bypass so the playback
in an unaffected way …looking into it.

…a little later…yes, thanks for pointing me in the driver direction, quite sure now
that it’s a driver thing…messing around with the Realtek audio manager…some odd
behaviors with it still it seems to me.

…but it does record at correct pitch now…so that’s cool…needed to update the driver
and try various settings in the Realtek audio manager.

Thanks for the leads.


Thanks, yes it was 1/8 inch plugs I meant to ask about.

Typically, speed problems especially when recording are an issue with applications and drivers not agreeing about the sample rate. So I am not sure if your issue will stay fixed, but I hope it will.

Did you find a playback effect in the Realtek Control Panel that directly changed pitch? It would be easy to test, if so. Generate > Tone in Audacity, 440 Hz which is A above middle C, the usual “tuning note”. You might be able to tell easily if that sounded very wrong.


I saw no place in the Realtek Audio Manager, and no place at all on Windows XP (will update when I can)
where there is any options to change sample rates, like there are on newer versions of Windows.
(…except perhaps at XP’s Sounds and Audio Device Properties> Volume> Speaker Settings> Advanced> Performance>
Sample Rate Conversion Quality> with a slider with three options from Good to Best…but no indications
of actual sample rates…and I left these always at default “Best”)

It appears that the recording pitch problem was corrected by installing the updated audio driver.
Then it was just a matter of adjusting some settings in the Realtek Audio Manager that the installed
driver also installed. But which settings caused it to work I do not know for sure. I think the manager
may be a bit buggy. for example when I tried recording directly after installing the driver, no recording signal.
But after seleting a sonic “environment” in the manager, then clicking reset in the environments section,
I could record. Also in its Microphone section when I enabled “Noise Suppression”, and/or “Acoustic Echo
Cancellation”, no record signal into Audacity, but with those disabled, yes, record signal into Audacity.
I tried unistalling the realtek driver, and the Realtek device, hoping a reboot would somehow cause Windows
to load some generic audio driver just to get rolling with some recording, but no…the realtek device
reappeared and demanded a driver…so off to ASUS i went, hoping that with a fresh reinstall of the driver
I would find a way to tweak the apparently buggy bundled with the driver audio manager…and tweak away I did
until just the right somewhat random combination of fiddlings and recording tests did get the recordings
happening decently.

By the way, I put a stereo adapter on the end of my mono mic 1/8" plug and it helped very much by getting
record signal to show up in both channels in Audacity. (for some reason not able to get any record signal at all
when I choose mono at Audacity devices…probably again a Realtek driver thing…so I’ll just go with stereo…but it does make the workspace a little more cluttered when all I need is mono…but no problem really…wanted to note the plug adapter
for any interested in that.)

Okay so I’m all set for now.
Thanks so much for your help.

Here’s a little something I put together as I experimented with some looping with Audacity tonight.
A few ideas I mic recorded into Audacity, looped them, and mixed them, adding some effects, EQ, etc.
A kind of backing track over which I can improvise. Or perhaps find a vocalist, use it as a song section, etc.
Just the basic idea, and of course needs work…a kind of a sketch to be developed further.

Thanks again for your help.


Thanks for writing the detailed answer .

ASUS tightly control eee pc’s - there may not be any generic Microsoft drivers. As a “general” rule you are better with the manufacturer-supplied drivers.

If the mic is mono and you request mono recording in Audacity you should definitely get a signal, unless there is a problem with the plug or the computer input.

You can do Tracks > Stereo Track to Mono. That will work fine if both channels are at a good volume.


Thanks for the ideas. Very helpful.