Troubleshooting Mac Audio Recording Problems
May 14, 2006 12:57 AM   Subscribe

Major audio recording problems on an iMac - help?!

I have been recording spoken segments for a podcast and have run into "skips" in the recordings I've done recently. The "skips" are strange, several seconds of audio are just gone, as if pause was pressed even though I kept talking, so when the audio picks back up it sounds like I've just invented new words. [Example]

These problems have occured in recordings made with both Audacity and a lightweight app called Audio Recorder that very simply records mic input, nothing else. I'm using OS X.2.8 (yes, antiquated) on a G3 with 320 MB RAM. I record with only my recording software and BBEdit open. (I use the latter for my scripts.) I'm flummoxed as to the cause of these problems. Anyone have experience with something like this? Any ideas for ensuring that this doesn't continue occuring?
posted by Dreama to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
I'm pretty sure your problem is RAM, as in not enough of it. Given your setup, that's the only thing you can improve.
posted by lambchop1 at 2:28 AM on May 14, 2006

Audacity Wiki - Skipping
posted by ludwig_van at 4:16 AM on May 14, 2006

If not RAM, then possibly hard drive speed. What you might consider is an external USB drive running at a higher RPM, or a USB audio interface that does the conversion in hardware rather than leaving it to the iMac.
posted by holgate at 6:57 AM on May 14, 2006

I used to have that problem recording music on Audacity. I switched to using Tracktion when they were giving out free licenses, and I never have the problem now. I didn't change my hardware setup at all, so though better hardware might help, better software would also (which is, of course, not mentioned on the Audacity help page).
posted by scottreynen at 8:18 AM on May 14, 2006

better software would also (which is, of course, not mentioned on the Audacity help page).

It is in the wiki though.

I started using Kristal Audio Engine after reading about it there and I think it's great. It's Windows only, though.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:56 AM on May 14, 2006


Add RAM -- with an older machine like yours, maxing it out is probably the lowest-cost improvement you could make.

Defrag your hard drive. You machine should have a 7200rpm drive, which is adequate. However if it's fragged, then it won't be able to keep up.

Also, seconding holgate, consider an external audio interface -- you'll likely get better results on recording and playback.
posted by omnidrew at 9:38 AM on May 14, 2006

I can't say whether it's related to your problem but OS 10.2.8 is pretty crappy and did have a lot of audio problems that were ironed out in later releases.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:04 AM on May 14, 2006

It sounds like a disk issue to me. Probably not raw performance, but it may well be failing out of old age. I'm guessing your iMac is around 5 years old. That's a long time for a hard disk.
posted by cillit bang at 11:55 AM on May 14, 2006

Dreame - everyone may disagree with me, but honestly, if you've got a decent sized hard drive in there, put Tiger on that machine for better performance all around. I have Tiger on a Grape iMac 400Mhz G3 with 320MB of RAM and it works much MUCH better than Jaguar ever did. Significantly faster than 10.2 in all iterrations.

You can't use the Band, unfortunately, since it only works on the G4.

Personally if I were recording on that setup I would do my recording with WireTap Pro and then edit in Audacity.
posted by smallerdemon at 12:53 PM on May 14, 2006

Er, sorry, can't use Garage Band, rather.
posted by smallerdemon at 12:54 PM on May 14, 2006

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