Delay while recording- please help

There is another thread on this topic, but quite frankly none of it made sense. I’m recording in Audacity and want to use headphones but there is a delay and I can’t possibly record vocals this way. What can I do to stop the delay? Please don’t talk to me about sound card options because that will do nothing for me at all. I need Audacity for dummies answers only.

I’m writing this up for the Audacity wiki. All three ways use a hardware solution. No sound card options.

This is one way using the Shure X2U device.

The X2U manages the headphones, not the computer and the live voice comes to you with no delay. It mixes the old tracks with your live voice and does it with volume controls on both.

Couldn’t be simpler. But it’s not free.

That messy thing on the end is my beat-up Shure SM58 microphone. Yours will no doubt look better. Any XLR microphone works.

I’ll collect the setup documents and send them along if you’re interested. They’re preliminary.

There are two other ways to do this. The Behringer UCA-202 allows you to use an external mixer with perfect headphone audio, and the Samson G-Track which mixes headphones inside the microphone. The headphones connect on the bottom.

Let me know.


No delay in singer’s headphones, but there will be a delay on the recording if latency correction has not been applied. [i.e. the original poster will still have to understand [latency correction in Audacity]( even if they buy a headphone mixer like X2U].

What can I do to stop the delay?

That was the post. These three solutions will absolutely stop the delay.

If you’re going to go on to do complex multi-track, overdubbing and sound on sound, yes, then you do have to make one straightforward Audacity adjustment (Latency) after which that, too, comes out perfect.


“straightforward” for the cognoscenti, but perhaps not so for a novice who requires “Audacity for dummies answers”.

“Audacity for dummies answers”.

Which is what I’m writing. It’s a subset of the all-encompassing wiki post. If all you have is a microphone – as in the illustration, then most of the wiki post is not relevant to you and can look overwhelming.


And just to dig up the Desperation Method, If you know how to Time Shift Tool your work into place, a much simpler idea, then you don’t need to go through the latency process.


And the dummy who doesn’t understand Latency chimes in with, so what you are saying is there is only hardware fixes and now way to make it work from my computer?

Another thing, is it just Audacity? Because my roommate uses Adobe Audition with no delay and he had that right from the start of turning it on.

Adobe Audition may be using ASIO drivers (software) which have low latency …

ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) is a multichannel transfer protocol that allows compatible software to have direct access to the multichannel capabilities of ASIO sound cards. Direct access to the sound card allows for much lower latency (delay between the input and output) than other driver types (for example, DirectSound, or MME).

Only the super geeky can get Audacity to use ASIO drivers …

And some computers just work.

The only way to get uncompromised Audacity overdubbing without complexity and unusual settings and software is a hardware solution. They work across all platforms and computer types.

Even if you get the delay down, you have to configure the machine to mix to your headphones and you still have to tune out the latency – the difference between the track you laid down and the timing of the playback.

You can prepare (compile) Audacity yourself with ASIO support. There are instructions how to do that. It’s a cousin to the MP3 problem. MP3 is paid, licensed software so Audacity can’t include it. You have to install it separate.


This was an interesting discussion in the forum a while back. The hard core techies insisted that it could be done in pure software and settings, and it could be – assuming you were on only one computer platform and had a death grip on the internal workings of the machine.

I walked up to my machine cold never having done an overdubbing session before and in a couple of hours (because I was writing it down as I went) had a three part song recorded.

No ASIO, no compiling, no system settings, simple instructions, and no money-based software licenses.

If you have your own mixer and microphone already, you can do this for $30 USD with the UCA-202 hardware device and Audacity


One last question, is this all because I’m using a USB mic?