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#2509296 - 02/10/16 10:43 PM Audacity/Recording problems
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I have a new HP desktop computer running Windows 10 and my tech brought over Audacity from my old computer (including lame, so I *can* get mp3s). But something's not connecting right.

When I first start recording the volume levels (watching the display) are pretty normal, but almost immediately drop off to very low. The sound is extremely staticky and tinny.

This happens both on my own keyboard (on which I've recorded 35+ recitals) and on a keyboard I just borrowed to see if that would fix the problem. I've tried changing cables. I've tried both output jacks from both keyboards. On my keyboard I go from a headphone jack out to a microphone jack in, on the other keyboard I go from a line out to a microphone jack in.

The input device in both Audacity and the control panel is set at microphone/realtek. I'm recording in mono. The control panel will *not* let me continuously adjust the "microphone boost" (is that the gain?) but will only let me toggle between 0, +12, +24, and +36 db (I can't set it at "unity"), but I can adjust the volume. But the same problem occurs at whatever level. The microphone volume in Audacity is about 3/4 of the way up and it doesn't show clipping.

Any ideas about what might not be connecting or going wrong?

Thanks,
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509298 - 02/10/16 10:47 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
INBoston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/16
Posts: 61
Loc: Boston
Sorry you are dealing with this!
This may not be helpful... but have you tried just uninstalling the software and re-installing it fresh?
_________________________
39 y.o.
4 years of piano lessons as a kid
Tinkered on my own in high school
20 year gap
Just restarted lessons again

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#2509300 - 02/10/16 10:59 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
If there's no one who can think of an obvious problem that's next. Thanks for the idea.
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509305 - 02/10/16 11:14 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
dmd Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 2373
Loc: Pennsylvania
Absolutely !

It is simple enough to just download it (and lame) again and install it.
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Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2509306 - 02/10/16 11:15 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 749
Originally Posted By jotur
If there's no one who can think of an obvious problem that's next. Thanks for the idea.


Your overloading the input on your computer.

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#2509307 - 02/10/16 11:19 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: emenelton]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By emenelton
Originally Posted By jotur
If there's no one who can think of an obvious problem that's next. Thanks for the idea.


Your overloading the input on your computer.


What do I do to fix that? Changing the level didn't help - just turn down the volume on the keyboard itself? I can try that.
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509308 - 02/10/16 11:24 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
FrankCox Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 169
Loc: Melville Saskatchewan
Mic in is mono and expects a very low input signal.

Line in is generally stereo and expects a much higher level input signal.

You're overloading your mic input. Do you not have a line in on that machine? If not, you need to get an attenuator to cut your input down to what the mic in can handle. I have used a small (and cheap) Behringer mixer board for that purpose in the past.
_________________________
If you're a zombie and you know it, bite your friend!
Casio Celviano AP-650

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#2509310 - 02/10/16 11:33 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Ah. I can borrow a mixer if need be. I'll try reinstalling Audacity, too.

But on my keyboard (not the borrowed one) I use a headphone out, not a line out. Is that not a match for a mic in? That's the way I've always recorded in the past - headphone to mic and then it worked. But with this computer it doesn't.

Would that I had a line in, but I don't.

Thanks again for the help.





Edited by jotur (02/10/16 11:37 PM)
Edit Reason: previous recording experience
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509334 - Yesterday at 02:10 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
peterws Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4969
Loc: Northern England.
Maybe you need an adaptor to combine the two stereo channels into one otherwise you only get part of the sound. That can be worse than you think, depending upon the amount of stsro seperation. Even when combining, this can still result in a terrible sound since stero and mono are often not compatible.
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#2509408 - Yesterday at 08:55 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 749
Originally Posted By jotur
Ah. I can borrow a mixer if need be. I'll try reinstalling Audacity, too.

But on my keyboard (not the borrowed one) I use a headphone out, not a line out. Is that not a match for a mic in? That's the way I've always recorded in the past - headphone to mic and then it worked. But with this computer it doesn't.

Would that I had a line in, but I don't.

Thanks again for the help.


The input on your computer is the culprit. Please consider a USB audio interface.

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#2509410 - Yesterday at 09:02 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: emenelton]
prout Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1680
Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Originally Posted By emenelton
Originally Posted By jotur
Ah. I can borrow a mixer if need be. I'll try reinstalling Audacity, too.

But on my keyboard (not the borrowed one) I use a headphone out, not a line out. Is that not a match for a mic in? That's the way I've always recorded in the past - headphone to mic and then it worked. But with this computer it doesn't.

Would that I had a line in, but I don't.

Thanks again for the help.


The input on your computer is the culprit. Please consider a USB audio interface.


+1

They are cheap and infinitly better.

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#2509411 - Yesterday at 09:05 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
Charles Cohen Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2491
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By jotur
. . .
But on my keyboard (not the borrowed one) I use a headphone out, not a line out. Is that not a match for a mic in? That's the way I've always recorded in the past - headphone to mic and then it worked. But with this computer it doesn't.
. . .


PMFJI --

No, it's not a match.

You might be OK if you set the "Microphone Boost" as low as it can go -- probably 0 dB. That might (more-or-less) disconnect the computer's microphone preamp. "0 dB of boost" is the same as "unity gain". [Discussion of dB calculations is outside the scope of this post.]

Then, adjust the "Mic Gain" (I think that's what Audacity calls it) until you're recording with about 3-6 dB of headroom.

It's possible that there's a hardware problem in the computer. But you need to rule out software problems first -- they're much more likely.

Another way to attack this:

. . . Plug a "gaming headset" or "VoIP headset" (with microphone boom) into the "Mic" input.

. . . Start up Audacity, and see how it records you, when you speak
. . . into the mic.

I have a Zoom digital audio recorder. It's very handy, and avoids some of these problems. But try getting Audacity to work, before spending more money.




Edited by Charles Cohen (Yesterday at 09:11 AM)
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / ZXA1 speaker

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#2509413 - Yesterday at 09:14 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
barbaram Online   content

500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 534
I have an inexpensive cable that connects the line out (stereo - 2 jacks) from my DP to a USB input on my laptop, this works *way* better than the previous cables I tried (line out to line in, line out to mic in, headphone out to mic in).

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#2509420 - Yesterday at 09:31 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: Charles Cohen]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 749
Originally Posted By Charles Cohen


PMFJI --

No, it's not a match.

You might be OK if you set the "Microphone Boost" as low as it can go -- probably 0 dB. That might (more-or-less) disconnect the computer's microphone preamp. "0 dB of boost" is the same as "unity gain". [Discussion of dB calculations is outside the scope of this post.]

Then, adjust the "Mic Gain" (I think that's what Audacity calls it) until you're recording with about 3-6 dB of headroom.



Unity gain, for mic level is still a-lot hotter than line level. Confirming the mic input works with a mic ..... well - seems to be a tangent

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#2509421 - Yesterday at 09:36 AM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Thank you so much everyone! I'm beginning to feel hopeful! I probably won't be able to try everything until tomorrow afternoon/evening, but since it seems to be a common problem I'd guess that you folks have nailed it and I'll be able to fix it.

I must have just gotten lucky with my old computer that the connections worked smile

I appreciate all the help very much.
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509494 - Yesterday at 02:17 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 725
Loc: Florida
Cathy, I have a new HP desktop with Windows 10. I plug the audio cable into the blue jack on the back. The computer then automatically enables the line-in function. (If that does not happen on your computer, you can enable it under the recording function tab on the control panel.) Then Line-in shows up in Audacity under the menu to the right of the microphone icon, and I select it. With those settings, Audacity records ok for me.

Hope that helps. If not, PM me - we could compare setups.

Ed
_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#2509588 - Yesterday at 07:32 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: barbaram]
Charles Cohen Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2491
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By barbaram
I have an inexpensive cable that connects the line out (stereo - 2 jacks) from my DP to a USB input on my laptop, this works *way* better than the previous cables I tried (line out to line in, line out to mic in, headphone out to mic in).


It's not exactly a "cable". Generically, those things are called "adapters".

There are electronics inside, that convert the incoming analog audio (from the "Line Out" jacks) to digital audio on the USB connector.

It is, functionally, a small "soundcard" or "audio interface". The computer probably sees it as a soundcard.

If you could tell us the brand, and the price, that would be useful information. They're handy items.

Thanks --
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / ZXA1 speaker

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#2509597 - Yesterday at 08:16 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: Riddler]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By Riddler
Cathy, I have a new HP desktop with Windows 10. I plug the audio cable into the blue jack on the back. The computer then automatically enables the line-in function. (If that does not happen on your computer, you can enable it under the recording function tab on the control panel.) Then Line-in shows up in Audacity under the menu to the right of the microphone icon, and I select it. With those settings, Audacity records ok for me.

Hope that helps. If not, PM me - we could compare setups.

Ed


Wow, Ed, it was worth having searched all those years for you, bro! By, George/Ed, I've think I've got it! Bless you!

And again to all of you, who knew wherein the problem lay but didn't know about the infamous blue jack on the back of my computer smile , thank you. The ABF tech section rocks.
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509598 - Yesterday at 08:16 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Now if I just knew how to play my piece laugh
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509618 - Yesterday at 10:06 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1441
Loc: Sweden
In light of what's been written here, I checked the back of my computer to see which audio inputs and outputs I have on my desktop. The usual (green) speaker or headphone output, the pink mic input, an orange subwoofer output, surround speaker output, and finally the light blue stereo line in.

The above colours for the connections are standard in the industry (see this link.) Didn't know that until now, always learning something new from the ABF forums!

I was thinking of asking you to check if this third input was present on the back of your computer, but assumed you had checked, since you said you didn't have line in.

However, glad you sorted this out. Now I also know which input to use if I want to record straight to Audacity.

Edit I only have a headphone output on my laptop. I paid about $600 for it - bummer!


Edited by TheodorN (Yesterday at 10:42 PM)
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#2509619 - Yesterday at 10:23 PM Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: jotur]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6215
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Yeah, the tech here is cool smile I actually knew about the green audio thing, but when I looked at the back of the computer I thought the blue one was green, too (insert roll eyes icon here). But the BLUE one actually has a little input icon next to it, and a little music note, too, which I didn't see either of because I was so focused on the fact that it was green laugh

I don't have the orange one, tho.
_________________________
Cathy

Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#2509691 - 11 minutes 26 seconds ago Re: Audacity/Recording problems [Re: Charles Cohen]
barbaram Online   content

500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 534
Originally Posted By Charles Cohen
Originally Posted By barbaram
I have an inexpensive cable that connects the line out (stereo - 2 jacks) from my DP to a USB input on my laptop, this works *way* better than the previous cables I tried (line out to line in, line out to mic in, headphone out to mic in).


It's not exactly a "cable". Generically, those things are called "adapters".

There are electronics inside, that convert the incoming analog audio (from the "Line Out" jacks) to digital audio on the USB connector.

It is, functionally, a small "soundcard" or "audio interface". The computer probably sees it as a soundcard.

If you could tell us the brand, and the price, that would be useful information. They're handy items.

Thanks --


You are quite correct Charles, there is built in conversion, I never realised. This is what I have:
Alesis LineLink Stereo 1/4" Jack USB Recording Cable
http://www.alesis.com/products/legacy/linelink

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