Do I need to adjust latency compensation for different instruments?

HP 15 laptop w/ 12 GB RAM
Windows 10
Behringer UM2 audio interface
Audacity 2.3.3

I adjusted my latency compensation to match my electric guitar running through a pedalboard into an amp out to the audio interface which uses a USB connection to the computer. I do have my output coming from the interface as opposed to the laptop headphone jack, because apparently that’s a no-no. But when I try to play my electronic drum kit into a bass amp into the audio interface, there’s a delay when I listen to the drumming along with the click track. Am I missing something obvious here? Thanks.

I do have my output coming from the interface as opposed to the laptop headphone jack, because apparently that’s a no-no.

If you listen to the computer, you can’t hear your live performance without a delay or echo.

You don’t have to set recording latency, either. All that does is make it when you hit Stop, the new track automatically lines up with the backing track. If you record a live track off time, you can use the Time Shift Tools (two sideways black arrows) later to push the tracks around until the beats do line up.

If you set everything up perfectly and still have an echo, see if you have “Playthrough” selected in Edit > Preferences > Recording. It should not be if you’re overdubbing.

I know this is a little scrambled, but if you do play to a backing track, play the mix later to make sure they line up. If they don’t, force it with the Time Shift Tools and/or you may need latency set-up again. Pay attention to how much the two tracks were off. Use that value added to the latency setting in the setups.

There’s a joke about that. There’s a state law in California that you have to adjust latency the wrong way the first time and make it worse. It’s impossible to write the instructions to set latency. Just try a new value, record something, and see if it gets worse or better.

Yes, you should be able to play backing track, plus drums, plus guitar, and then sing over the whole thing and have it all in time without echoes or shoving tracks around.

One other note. If you like recording Youtube or other on-line music, those settings can conflict with overdubbing.


I can make this a lot worse. It’s possible to have an underpowered or overloaded machine make the latency setting change from layer to layer. Nobody wants to hear that. We’re supposed to push a button and everything will be OK.


Oh, and to go back to the title of this thread. No, you don’t have to readjust latency for each instrument. Anything you connect to the instrument side of of the setup should be fine. You may not be able to change the interface or any part of the computer without readjusting it.


Yeah, I don’t have “software playthrough” checked. The computer doesn’t play the audio live - I run out of an amp to hear what I’m actively playing, and use the audio out from the interface to hear what has been previously recorded. So I guess technically the previously recorded tracks are running out from the laptop’s USB port to the audio interface. That has to be better than running out of the headphone jack, right?

All good points. Thanks very much.

Behringer UM2.

I have one of those. Terrific interface.

Press Direct Monitor on the front and the UM2 headphone connection will give you a mono mix between the outgoing sound—in real time—and the playback of the backing track. You have to set the UM2 as the playback device in Audacity, and yes, turn off Playthrough.

Headphones have their own volume control independent of the show.

You’re supposed to listen to that on heavy, good quality, wired headphones …

… but if you have no instrument or voice that plays to a microphone, the studio speaker is fine.

I can see a conflict if your guitar cabinet, for example, is the instrument. In that case you will be listening to that with your ears in the room and the backing track with your headphones covering one ear. That means you will be getting a … what… 3/4 mix…?? Turn off Direct Monitor…???

I don’t know of a good way to listen to a full theater mix in that case.


Thanks for all of your help. I guess now I’m out of excuses, ha.