Beginner FAQ on Digital Recording Studio Troubleshooting

Q.7) What is the fastest and quickest way to optimize my OS?

Most operating system like Windows provides options to run for best performance. Make sure you enable that option. When enabled, this will turn off any fancy graphics and sound; thus making your computer run efficient and faster.

For more information, refer to this post on Windows XP/7 audio recording DAW tweaks & optimization tips

Q.8) I think my operating system does not support the audio interface; is this really the case?

The simplest way to troubleshoot this is to look at your audio interface manual. There should be some information pertaining to the supported operating systems. If it is not clearly stated, you can contact the technical support.

Q.9.) Hi. I wanted to ask you about an issue with using Window’s software Sound Recorder. I can’t get the Sound Recorder to record using my microphone(s) on my Vista computer. I click Start Recording then, when I’m done, I click Stop Recording, save the recorded audio as a Windows Media Audio (WMA) file (it’s set by default), but when I play the saved recording there is no sound.

I followed the instructions here. I can see, in the Sound window (in the Recording Tab), the microphones’ volume level fluctuate when I speak through it so the microphone is working okay. The volume icon for my computer is turned up, and it’s not muted.

The levels (Hardware and Sound > Manage audio devices > Recording tab > Properties > Levels tab to find volume slider) under microphone properties are turned up too. I have both a sound card and speakers installed on my computer.

My sound card is updated. I’ve read somewhere to Right-Click in the blank white area in Recording Tab and select “Show Disabled Devices” that, if supported, new selections will appear such as: Stereo Mix, What U Hear, etc. Right-Click on “Stereo Mix”, “What U Hear” or similar and you to select “Enable”, and Right-Click on the same item again and select “Set as Default Device”, then click OK.

But nothing comes up and “Show Disabled Devices” was already selected. The only existent selections apparently in Recording tab are my microphones. I’ve done pretty much what I’ve read to do and am stumped on this problem.

Other software, like the free software Audacity gives me the same issue. Toshiba (my computer brand) told me my warranty expired 2009 and will have to charge me over $40 to assistance me with something that may not need any fixing but is just not working due to something I’m overlooking. Doing a web search, I’m apparently not the only one with this issue.

Any help you could provide me with on this subject would be is appreciated.

Potential Issues and Solutions

Looking upon your problem, one could the issues:

1.) Your player does not support the playback of Windows Media Player (wma) files. Have you tried playing the recorded audio in Windows Media player as it natively supports wma files?

Of course this assumes there is no problem in the recording.

2.) Try saving the files as other file types such as WAV instead of WMA. Then play it in media player after recording.

3.) Since you are using a default sound card, set the bit depth and sample rate to 16-bit/44.1KHz. You should find in Sound Recording – Properties.

Sound Recorder

Sound Recorder

If you record beyond that, your players might be having some playback issue.

4.) Make sure you have enabled the microphone for recording. You can see this in your sound device. See screenshot below:

Microphone enabled

Microphone enabled

5.) It would also mean that your sound device drivers are corrupt; even though you find it working. Try reinstalling the drivers; do this at your own risk. Make sure you install the right drivers for your sound recording device.

6.) Windows has some guidelines on how to troubleshoot sound recorder related issue. You can read it here.

If the above suggestions still do not work. I recommend doing a hardware troubleshooting process as suggested by Microsoft. You can read the details on that page. Good luck.

Digital audio workstation (DAW)/Recording software issues

Q.10) I cannot record with my audio interface using the preferred DAW software?

First, uninstall the recording software completely. Then you need to make sure that you have fully installed the audio interface drivers before re-installing your DAW software. Refer to the audio interface manual for the full procedures on installing the drivers.

When you are sure that you have correctly installed the audio interface drivers; install again your DAW software. Then go to audio devices section in your DAW where you can configure the recording and playback devices. Make sure it is set with your installed audio interface.

For example if you are using REAPER Digital audio workstation software, you can go to Preferences — > Audio — > Device. See an example configuration below:

audio interface configuration

audio interface configuration

The installed device is Saffire Pro 40 and it appears as “ASIO Saffire”. If you are not using REAPER; read your DAW software manual on how to add your audio interface. There are times when you cannot really add the audio interface to work with your software. Below are the primary reasons:

a.) The audio interface is not supported by your DAW software. For example; some very old DAW does not yet support ASIO. This makes it very hard or impossible to use the audio interface with the software. The solution is to install modern software that supports ASIO.

b.) The audio interface driver is corrupt or needs updating. This makes the operation highly unstable and it cannot communicate properly with your software. You need to install the latest drivers.

Q.11) The recording quality is bad, any tips for best capture quality?

Always set your audio interface and DAW to record at 24-bits/44.1KHz WAV format. This should be the minimum recording resolution. If you are recording at 16-bits, it will degrade easily in the mix because of less headroom and lack of detail in the capture. Don’t use MP3 when recording, mixing or mastering. Instead use a lossless file format such as WAV and record at minimum resolution.

Q.12) Is there any way to minimize the latency issues in the digital audio workstation software?

First, make sure you are using ASIO drivers. Modern professional audio interface used in music production are usually using ASIO drivers. Second, check if the computer hardware is powerful enough to handle digital recording applications. Refer to the hardware specs question in the hardware FAQ section.

Third, you need to make sure that the operating system is optimized for audio applications. As simple as enabling the best performance mode can make some difference. When all factors are complied; there should be little latency in your system. Latency of around 10ms to 20ms is OK for most applications. Modern DAW software like REAPER will provide some information pertaining to latency. You can also tweak the audio interface latency options (if available) by changing it to “short” latency.

For more details, refer to this guide on audio dropout and recording latency troubleshooting guide.

Content last updated on October 8, 2012