Recording Troubleshooter

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Muffled recording

Is your mic plugged in properly?

Yesterday I started recording and my test recording sounded muffled. I almost panicked..I need a new mic!! I have no money! However, when I unplugged and re-plugged the mic in, the recording was fine.

Static with USB Mic on MacBook Pro

Oooh, ooooh! I solved my static problem! I think the difference is, on other computers (like our Mac mini at home) Garage Band is smart enough to figure out that if you've set a USB mic as your audio input in your system settings, the USB mic is what you want to use to record in Garage Band (seems reasonable, right?).

With the MacBook Pro, however, I finally realized (by snapping my fingers in different places around the computer and mic) that it was for some reason still using its built-in mic instead of the USB mic to record what I was saying, and the built-in mic is static-y.

So to fix the problem, you have to make sure that in

  • System Preferences -> sound -> input
  • you have selected your USB mic...
  • BUT then in Garage Band you *also* have to go to
  • Garage Band -> preferences -> audio/MIDI
  • and change the audio input option to your USB mic.

Yay! So glad that's fixed! More recordings coming soon...


My recording has missing segments, it skips.

One cause is that your hard disk drive is too slow to keep up with the data flow rate from the recording software. That is, your recording program is shoving data at the drive faster than the drive can write it to the disk. The only thing the drive can do when it gets overloaded is throw away data until it catches up. This situation is more likely to be true the older your drive is (this was observed in a hard drive manufactured about 1995). This will be more of a problem if you're recording to Wave audio format at the CD audio standard (stereo and with a sample frequency of 44,100 Hz and bit depth of 16 bits per sample), which has a high data flow rate, than if you're recording directly to, say, MP3 format at 32 Kbps.

Unfortunately, the only solution is to buy a faster hard drive.

Another cause may be that your hard drive is not configured to use DMA (Direct Memory Access), which allows faster data transfer to the drive. This is something you can check and configure.

My recording has a very noticeable background buzz

If you are recording with a laptop, make sure that you are on battery power while recording. Sometimes, being on AC causes an electronic buzz while recording.