audacity over Zoom


I’m on Audacity 2.4.2 and Windows 10.

I’m struggling to configure my set-up to use Audacity over Zoom.

I have a backing track recorded in Audacity, and I want to be able to play (my bassoon) live along with that and send over Zoom to my teacher, such that she can hear both me and the backing track.

I have Audacity set so that the Speaker output is pointing at the USB Audio Codec. I have Zoom set so that both directions are pointing at the USB Audo Codec. I then have a small USB mixer desk, for an external microphone, which is plugged in to a USB socket.

I guess I’m asking the PC Audio codec to mix the two USB inputs (Audacity and mixer-desk) and send them out over Zoom. But at the moment the output from Audacity is not being transmitted over Zoom.

Any ideas anyone?



I don’t think Audacity will help. You’re playing live, right? Can you play the backing track(with whatever player software you normally use) and run Zoom at the same time or is Zoom “taking over” your computer.

I’ve never actually used Zoom but I assume you can select your USB mixer as the Zoom “microphone” and transmit an audio mix (with the backing track going into one of the mixer inputs).

Probably easiest option is to let the one microphone pick-up your playing and the backing track at the same time. You’ll probably want to position the microphone & speaker so the bassoon is dominant in the Zoom transmission.

Any ideas anyone?

Whatever you send out over Zoom has to arrive at the Zoom computer as a single sound connection.

So, play the backing track into your home music system and play it to the room in real life. Arrange the microphone so it picks up both backing music and you and send that to Zoom Transmit. That should work first-time out, except…

You have to wear headphones to hear the Zoom far side which means you won’t be able to hear yourself. And…

Most echo cancellation, noise-reduction, and sound processing services hate music. You will find any sustained musical notes fading out as Zoom thinks the note is “noise” and cancels it.

Outside of that it should work fine.

Note: You can get around the headphone restriction by only wearing half a headphone muff. I’m not making that up.

I should throw out the idea of doing this live. Record yourself with the backing track, edit it in a pleasant manner, save the file, and send that to the instructor.


There is one more.

Don’t send the backing track. Just send your playing to the instructor. That’s all they really care about anyway. Play the backing track into one earbud from your Personal Music Player while you play to it.

That turns this whole thing into a simple Zoom session. If they don’t have the backing track, you can send that as a separate sound file. Three minute, good (192) quality, Stereo MP3 comes in about 4.5MB. My email will handle 25MB attachments.

You will still run into the sustained note thing. Pick music with no sustained notes.


Thanks everyone for your help and advice. The key point, from Koz, is that the Zoom input must arrive at the computer as a single signal.

I’ll let you know how I get on. I do want to do this live and using Audacity, because I need to be able to ‘play that bit starting at bar 25’. I have bar labels in the Audacity so I can start the backing track at an appropriate point and then join in on my Bassoon.



So here’s my solution, which I have tested satisfactorily. Only trouble is it needs 2 computers.

I have microphone, Audacity output, and far-end audio all coming in to my mixer desk as analog signals. (So Audacity is set with output device = internal speakers/headphones, and I run a cable from the headphone socket to the mixer desk.) The mixer desk then produces a single USB output which is input to computer #2 - the Zoom computer. The Zoom computer is set with input from USB codec, and output to internal speaker/headphones. I then run a cable from that headphone socket to another mixer input channel.

This means I can play live with the backing track. I can hear everything in my headphones, and my teacher gets everything too. I find it ‘tighter’ and more controllable to have the Audacity and the far-end voice in my headphones rather than in the room.

The only potential problem is that I am returning the far-end audio back to the far end as part of my mixed signal. But in my test that wasn’t causing a problem. (I half expected the remote person to hear an echo on their own voice.) I could of course mute my Zoom input when they are speaking. If the remote person wears headphones (or uses mute), then I get no fed-back echo of my own audio output.

Thanks for your help, and hopefully this helps someone else too.