Delay in Playback While Recording

I’m very sorry if this question has been answered already, but I searched the forum and couldn’t find it. I want to hear what I’m recording while I’m recording it. So, I checked the box “Software Playthrough” and started to record. The problem is that I hear myself with so much of a delay that it’s more distracting than helpful. I was wondering if there was anyway to fix that so I can hear myself right when I say something and not have the delay. Thanks for any help!


I assume you’ve tried “Hardware Playthrough” and it doesn’t work? If you’ve tried that, I don’t think there’s anything you can do about the lag in Software Playthrough. Someone else might correct me. --Allen

Is hardware playthrough and software playthrough the same thing? I don’t see an option for both, only software playthrough.


No; they’re different, and they’re usually right next to each other. Are you looking at the “Audio I/O” tab under “Preferences”? I thought “Hardware Playthrough” was there no matter what platform you’re using, but I could be wrong. You’re not using a really ancient version of Audacity, are you? --Allen

I’m using version 1.3 Beta and I’m running windows xp. The only reason I’m asking all this is I’m doing a podcast and everywhere I read says get headphones and stuff so you can monitor your recording. I think this is a good idea, too, but not if the playback is so off that it causes too much of a distraction. All these sources who say monitor the recording recommend the Audacity software, so it seems like they would have encountered this problem, too. But they never mention it. Does anyone else experience this delay?


If your computer sound card doesn’t support Hardware Playthrough, that option will be either gray or missing. Software Playthrough forces the computer to process the show in real time, then decode it and play it to your headphones. You are listening to the delay inside your computer.

Hardware Playthrough forces the sound card to immediately turn the show around and send the performance out to your headphones without the computer getting into it. No delay, but the hardware inside the computer must explicitly support it.

The next level of podcasting is multiple microphones which demands a small mixer. You can plug headphones into the mixer and just use the computer as a simple recorder. You may be up to that step a little early.

If you know what your sound card is, you may be able to go up to the support web site and download newer drivers or other management software.


so, should i get an external sound card and a mixer?


I’d try the drivers and software first. That would be cheaper.


But not easier. I guess my sound card is a Conexant sound card, but all I can find on the 'net are drivers for Conexant modems.

So you got one of the gems of audio technology. An external sound system is in your future.


See this sticky forum thread for reviews of some external soundcards that are klnown to work with Audacity:


For the specific problem of monitoring your speech, you don’t need an external sound card AND a mixer, just one or the other. Either an external sound card that supports playthrough, or a mixer where you can just plug in headphones like Koz said. Of course, having both would be optimal for sound quality, if you’re not on a budget. There are also USB mixers that combine both functions, though I’ve never used one. --Allen

Hi, this is my first post, but I have read every one of the posts about delays. I am working on a podcast to be aired over our website for our 50,000+ listeners per week. After reviewing and attempting everyone’s suggestions, it appears the answer is in either the sound card or the mixer. So while I do not wish to get a new sound card, where can I find a very inexpensive mixer to hook up to my computer that will get rid of this slight delay I have when recording.

I am using Audacity beta 1.3.

The Behringer 502 sells new for $45 on Amazon. I haven’t used it myself, but from some Googling it seems to be pretty popular in the field of tiny, cheap mixers. It has just one XLR input, and a few more 1/4" inputs. Keep in mind that a mixer won’t get rid of the recording delay in the computer; it’s just that you can monitor the recording by plugging your headphones directly into the mixer, so you won’t hear the delay. --Allen