Plug The Mic In First

Hey there!

What’s the number one support question I get from Audacity-loving VO artists?

“Wow! All of a sudden, my audio sounds awful/noisy/muddy/hollow/like crap! What’s up with that?”

Here’s what’s up with that.

Many of you use the virtually standard combination of the AT-2020 USB mic (hoepfully, the AT-2020 USB Plus version) and Audacity sound recording software.

Virtually all of you are happy with the results you get.

Until you’re not.

One day, it’s like your mic stops working – and starts to record you from somewhere in some other room. Or with hiss. Or with noise. Or its “fuzzy.” You can’t quite describe it, but it almost sounds like you’re now recording from the crappy little mic built into the laptop itself.

Guess what?

You probably ARE recording from that crappy little mic built into the laptop itself.

See, whenever I get an email that’s in that general ballpark, my answer is simple: Restart Audacity. Check Audacity’s Preferences >> Devices >> Recording to make sure the AT2020 and Mono are selected.

And don’t ever launch Audacity unless you’ve plugged your mic in first.

Sadly, this is almost always the answer – that you started Audacity, and forgot you hadn’t plugged your AT-2020 USB back into the USB port. So you do, and you think that now, Audacity’s listening to and recording from that mic.

But it’s not.

It’s still recording from the built-in mic, because that’s all it could find when it started up. Here’s the thing to remember: that’s the only time Audacity even looks to see what microphones you have plugged in. Plug in your AT-2020 USB after you start Audacity, and nothing changes. Oh, you’re happily talking into your AT-2020 USB, thinking you’re addressing the mic properly and expecting great results, but you’re actually being picked up by the crappy built-in mic a foot or more away, and a world away in quality.

The solution is to quit and re-launch Audacity, and just to be sure, check Preferences >> Devices >> Recording to make sure that you’ve got the AT-2020 USB and Mono selected.

There’s one other way of accomplishing this: the developers of Audacity have recently added a new command on the Transport menu called Rescan Audio Devices, which will look at the USB port again, for any new microphones you may have connected since Audacity was launched:


Plug in your AT-2020 USB Plus, choose that command, and then select the AT2020 microphone from the recording and playback drop down menus in the control area of the recording window.

And in the future, don’t even THINK of launching Audacity until your mic is plugged in.

Hope this helps.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

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