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Topic: Distorted and low volume mp3 and wav recorded files

Hi Guys
I am having problems trying to record short audio files either .wav or

MP3. Reasonable voice quality for messages is all I require.

My system
OS         Windows XP
Sound card     Realtek AC 97 Audio

I have tried Audacity and Power Mp3 recorder to record the files.
Checking the microphone levels to ensure no overloading.
I have tried two different mikes and  different  bits sample rates

I playedback the recorded file on Power Mp3 recorder and it was low in

volume and distorted.

I have used Windows Media Player and Winamp to playback the Mp3 and wav
again distorted(muffeled) and  low volume

All my music mp3 files play ok in both Windows Media Player and Winamp

Any ideas
Thanking you  for your interest