Cannot listen to track while recording new one

It looks like my first attempt to post has disappeared, so I am re-posting, hope it doesn’t double up.

I just downloaded Audacity 3.1.3 and I am using it with Windows 11, guitar plugged into an M-track, M-Audio Duo.

I used to have a cassette player MTR, that was my last recording attempt, so this is all pretty new to me.

I can record the first track, no problem. The first problem was that when I wanted to do another track, I tried both SHIFT-R and just right clicking the record button, I couldn’t hear the first track as I was recording the second. After I stopped the recording I could hear them when I just played them, but of course, the timing was off.

Next, I browsed through the forum for similar problems. I noticed advice about going to Transport - Transport Options - and checking Overdub (on/off). When I do this, also (Software Playthrough) and try to record, a new track will appear, but the recording will immediately stop.

Any help would be appreciated, though I’m pretty computer illiterate, especially since my computer is all in Japanese.

So I wouldn’t turn on both Overdub and Playthrough at the same time.

See here for Tutorial - Multi-track Overdubbing

There is one hidden problem with overdubbing. Both the recording and playback system have to be working absolutely perfectly and they have to match. No having the record side at 44100 and the playback side set to 48000, for example.


Thank you for the quick replies. I am away from my recording computer right now, so I will try the advice about making sure that both the recording and the playing match perfectly. For the figures you gave, where would I go to check and alter those. I was also wondering if and why they would change after I have done one track and try to create the next? It seems like if its so important for them to be perfectly matched, they would automatically be that way. (simple thinking on my part?)

As for checking the Overdub and the Playthrough, I am a desperate man. I tried checking one and the other, checking both, checking none, checking them, then unchecking them, everything as far as that goes.

(simple thinking on my part?)

Yes, well. Audacity isn’t a massive corporation with three buildings of programmers and developers. Until relatively recently, Audacity was a collection of volunteers sprayed across the earth trying to keep multiple different languages and three major computing platforms together.

This was the Audacity Land’s End World Headquarters.

All that and overdubbing is a relatively minor side talent certainly compared to straight recording, playback, and basic editing.

So yes, I’m not shocked if some of the program’s talents, adjustments, and setups got missed.

If you’re on Windows, it’s Edit > Preferences > Recording, Playback, Devices, and Quality.

Playthrough causes Audacity to shoot your captured sound back out to your headphones while you’re making a recording. Unfortunately, that process takes a bit of time and if you’re singing, the voice in your headphones is going to be late. Sometimes-times really-really late-late.

That’s one reason it’s very highly recommended to use a microphone, mixer, or microphone interface that has a wired headphone connection. Catch your voice on your desk before the computer or Audacity gets it.

There is an overdubbing setup (after you get the basic system working) where you set Audacity to automatically line up your second track to match the first one in timing. And the third one to match the first two, etc.

Overdubbing New Users almost always fail because this is the first time Audacity has to perfectly play and record at the same time, and compensate for all the delays and timings. Usually, it’s the playback side. Audacity will try to play to a non-existent speaker or headphone system, or, as above, record at 44100 sample rate (Audio CD) but try to play back at video rate (48000), or something like that.

I need to drop for a while.


Thank you for the reply. Yes, I know, I am using this software for free, and I am still in my first week with it, I definitely am not trying to complain, which is why I mentioned that it was my simple thinking (back to twenty years ago when all I had to do was rewind and push a button to record the next track on my 4 track cassette player). Which is why I am kind of confused. The whole reason for me to have a multiple track recorder is so that I can make some songs, which would involve a rhythm track, some guitar, bass and vocals at least. I don’t understand how it is possible for anyone to use the software if you can’t hear at least a beat while you are recording your other tracks. I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’ve only tried to play a little bit of guitar and then tried to put another guitar track in underneath it. I don’t understand, you say there is an overdubbing setup for after I get the basic system working. Well, I cannot get the basic system working - at least in the way that I thought it was supposed to work. Am I barking up the wrong tree?

If that is your setup in the picture, I’m extremely jealous except for the fact that it doesn’t look like you have any waves to drop into. Here, we just got through a typhoon so the swell is very swell. If I weren’t sitting at my desk pretending to work right now I would be in some position like that, forget the guitars even. Thanks again!

The picture is more notable than you think. I didn’t shoot it in Land’s End GB, but in Sunny Southern California®. I shot it on the one cloudy, rainy, overcast day in the one place at Docweiler Beach that looks sorta like the tourist layout in the actual Land’s End. I happened to hit it at the one time the city camping and RV facility wasn’t jammed full.

Let’s do a simple test. I think I may have missed one symptom (caffeine deprivation). Set up for overdubbing and make the first short test recording (usually the drum or rhythm track).

Do not try to overdub. Just play the track back. Can you?

There was an error earlier. You also have to have the third option ticked, New Track. If you don’t, Audacity will try to extend your existing track if you press R. Don’t detect Dropouts.

Screen Shot 2022-07-07 at 4.48.26 AM.png

the recording will immediately stop.

Do you get an error message?

In the dim, dark, distant past there was some error with the Japanese Audacity, but I think that got solved a long time ago.


It looks like my first attempt to post has disappeared

New posts have to be read by a forum elf before they become visible. This is to keep you from trying to sell us new kitchen cabinets in Manchester. We should note that the process might take an earth rotation, so it’s not quick. On the other hand, depending on when your message appears, response can be surprisingly fast. It’s probably not going to take a week like some other forums.

If you do try to sell us anything (without being asked) you and your login name will be permanently banned. That one’s pretty serious.

There’s an intermediate stage where you post a non-specific message: “Boy, I agree, and I really like this terrific software.” and we might leave it up with a warning tag. Some internet ratings look at appearance numbers and not actual valuable messages. Sometimes, those are actually valuable, so we can’t just trash them.


Thank you for the advice.

I checked overdub and record in a new track, in preferences. Mine doesn’t look like that though, but that’s probably not much of a worry, I wouldn’t think.

Then I made a rhythm track. I can play it back. Then, with guitar plugged in, I hit Shift - R, and a new track appears. But recording doesn’t happen. In the lower left corner, for a fraction of a second it looks like it’s going to go, but then it says “stopped”

There are no error messages that pop up, nothing. If you hit Shift - R again it will create another track below, but will stop the same way.

So I went to transport and unchecked overdubbing and I could record a new track. But as has been the norm, I couldn’t hear the rhythm track.

Yesterday, just messing around, with the overdub button not checked I put down a bunch of guitar tracks, each one I couldn’t hear the others, but when I played them back, I could hear them all jumbled together.

This is just my guess, could it be something like my computer doesn’t like your software? (not me! my computer!) I was seeing some stuff about sound cards too, but with the overdub checked and the recording stopping like that, I would think that it was a software problem?

As I skim through this thread, I’m not sure that you actually completed this step. And I’m not sure I noticed what your recording and playback devices were - that could be useful.

First Exit Audacity. Then select some recording/playback speed. Since you are doing audio, let’s pick 44100 which is the standard audio rate. If this doesn’t work, then repeat these steps with 48000 which is the standard audio/video rate. Make a mental note of the speed you select.

So click on the magnifying glass on the Windows task bar and type “mmsys.cpl” (without the quotes). This takes you to the sound control panel. There are two things you are interested in: Playback and Recording. Click on the Playback tab. Click on your playback device (what is it?). Then click Properties. Another screen will pop up. Select the Advanced tab and set the Default Rate to the speed you picked: 44100 2-channels (stereo). Click OK.

Now go to the Recording tab and select your recording device (what is it?) Repeat the Default Rate setting for your recording device.

Now start Audacity. Audacity will scan all of your devices to see what is out there (This can also be done manually via Transport > Rescan Audio Devices). Select your Recording and Playback devices in the Device Toobar. Set your Recording device as stereo.

In the lower left-hand corner of your Audacity screen set the project rate to what you selected earlier: 41000 Hz.

Note that your entire recording path is set to 44100 Hz stereo and your entire playback path is set to 41000 Hz stereo. This should work, if the hardware device is also set to 44100 (some hardware ships at 44100, some at 48000). If it is not, you either have to change the hardware or go back and change all of the software settings. Matching all of these settings is critical when you are overdubbing. Now, if you decide that your guitar is only mono, you are going to have to go back and change all of the settings to mono. Some of this depends on just what device you are using to record and playback on, which is why I asked those questions.

Another setting to try MME vs. WASAPI. Some users have been successful at getting overdubbing to work by reversing this setting.

Do you use Skype, Zoom, Meetings, or any other communications, conference, or chat program? Multi-Player Games? All those programs take over your sound system—and you can’t stop it. That’s deadly when you’re trying to set up for overdubbing.

Disconnect your network or WiFi and external drives. Overdubbing demands to be done on your internal drive. It’s not optional.

Shift+Shutdown Windows. Not regular Shutdown and not Restart. Wait a bit. Start. Do Not let Windows start anything by itself or continue with existing programs.

Still do it? Did anything change when you did this clean shutdown? Different messages? Did something suddenly complain about not having the internet connection?


Jademan, I apologize, I had messed with the project rate after your post, to no avail. And now again, I went through your explanation, much appreciated by the way, and one question; I exited Audacity. Then you said to select some recording /playback speed. Where would I find this selection? I re-opened Audacity and tried different rates. Still no good. Those numbers are the project rate, which you can see at the bottom left of the screen in Audacity, right? I also noticed in each track they were at either 41000 or 48000, depending on what I’d chosen for the project rate. So these are matched I think.

Then I went into my sound control panel. I noticed that my recording rate default was 48000. I changed it to 41000. I went back to Audacity. Still no go.

I also changed from MME to WSAPI and I got an “error opening recorder device” message.

Going into the last post by Koz (thank you), my computer, I just got it. I got it mainly for putting music on. It’s a NEC notebook that has Microsoft office. I don’t normally even have it connected to the internet, no Skype or anything like that. When I got my M-Audio, M-Track Duo, I downloaded the software which was a letdown as it has something like a multi-track recorder but it only allows for one track of guitar (like, WTF?, why even have software like that??). It also has a guitar effects app that gives out a random beep every now and then until you pay for it. So anyways, that software is on the computer as well. I haven’t erased it yet, I guess I need to do that.

The only question I have is, when I have overdub checked and then I try to record a new track and it just stops, - it seems like even if my guitar or my output audio were linked to something else, it wouldn’t make the recording stop, I mean, I should have overdub checked to be able to hear my first track, like that is the normal way that the software works, right?

Yes. It is also possible that you need to install the drivers for your M-Track Duo.

At this point, I would suggest that someone else step in. Perhaps there is something blatantly obvious that we have missed.

I would suggest that someone else step in.

You can tell by the world-wide blank looks that this is a pretty unusual problem.

No error messages, right, it just stops dead?


I’ve not read the entirety of this thread, but responding to the first post.
You should probably NOT have “Software Playthrough” enabled.

Skimming through this topic I didn’t see where you said what the “Recording” and “Playback” options were selected in the Device Toolbar.