Can't hear previous tracks while recording new ones

Hi everyone, I’m trying to record several tracks one after another, but when I finish the first one and press record to start on the next, the first track doesn’t play while the new one is recording. This means I can’t record the second track in time with the first. Any ideas? Help would be very much appreciated :slight_smile:

Tick the 'Overdub' option (i've coloured yellow) in Audacity 'Preferences', 'Recording'.png

Awesome, thank you!

You’re probably going to need to read this …

Latency is important only when you are overdubbing, that is, recording a new track while listening to previously-recorded track(s). You want what you play to be in sync with the tracks you are listening to. Audacity can correct for latency, but you have to tell it what the correction amount is …

hehe, yep, was just reading that when you replied :smiley:

Thanks for the tip! I’ve done a latency test with good results but I’m still getting horrendous latency issues. My first track is recorded straight off my computer, the second is me recording guitar via Line-In. Any ideas?

If you are monitoring the “live” guitar via headphones plugged into the computer you are going to get another delay problem called “software playthrough” delay …

Software playthrough introduces its own delay (different from latency) which you will hear in your headphones. Tests on the same system used for the latency test below revealed that the Software Playthrough delay was 65 milliseconds. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s like hearing your voice coming out of speakers 70 feet away. If you are serious about overdubbing, get an inexpensive mixer and a good microphone to go with it.

“software playthrough” delay can only be avoided by using different hardware setup: unfortunately there is no software cure like fixing latency.

For multi-track recording “Software Playthrough” should be OFF (not selected).
As Trebor has indicated, Software Playthrough always produces some delay and is unavoidable.

Have we established what sort of computer, what operating system, what sort of sound card?
With the exception of USB microphones it is usually possible to monitor the sound that is being recorded directly from the input - that is, “hardware” monitoring - which allows monitoring the input with virtually zero delay.

Hey, thanks for the advice! I’ve had Software Playthrough disabled the whole time, as for system specs I’m using Windows XP and Realtek onboard sound…which I know probably isn’t ideal. Would a dedicated soundcard likely improve things?

I’m not sure exactly what problem you are trying to solve. It sounds like the original problem was solved, so what exactly is the issue now?

Sorry, I kinda digressed didn’t I? :blush: Yeah the original problem’s been solved so thanks guys :slight_smile:. If you don’t mind helping me out further, the new problem is massive latency between tracks despite having done a latency test and corrected accordingly…

You’ll need to be more specific about that. We have a lot of people ask about “latency” problems, but frequently they mean something different to we would think of as “latency”. Probably best if we approach this as … tell me exactly what I need to do, and what to look for, so that I can reproduce and recognise the problem on my computer.

Ok, here goes: I’m playing a percussion track on Guitar Pro software, and using Audacity to record this while it’s playing. Then I press Record again, and record a second track (live guitar via Line-In), playing along with the percussion track which plays back as recording progresses. When I play the two tracks together, the guitar track gets steadily further out of time with the percussion track even though I was playing in time and using latency correction. That’s the problem, really appreciate the help :slight_smile:

When recording in Audacity don’t run unnecessary software at the same time, (i.e. don’t “multi-task”), e.g. disconnect from the internet, don’t run “Guitar Pro”, as these programs could interrupt Audacity causing it to miss teeny-weeny bits when recording your live guitar, these missing bits accumulate so the recorded tracks get progressively out-of-sync.

It is also possible to give a program (e.g. Audacity) higher priority on your OS so it is not interrupted by other programs …

Don’t multi-task on the PC that is recording, as it could cause skips …
Many recommend changing the process priority to give Audacity priority, but this does not work in every case.

Ok, thanks again for the tips guys, problem solved :smiley:

For the benefit of others reading this thread with a similar synchronisation problem could you post what you did that solved it.

um, i would but i have no idea what i did, the next time i tried it just worked. maybe restarting my pc? that’s pretty much all i did between attempts

Thanks, Trebor, I had a friend coming over in 20 minutes to lay down some vocals to my pre-recorded backing track . . . all of sudden I couldn’t hear the backing track when I hit the record button, first time I’d encountered this problem and I’ve been using Audacity for several years. Don’t know how I managed to disable the overdub facility!
Thanks again.