Does "Detect Dropout" pause recording?

Audacity 2.4.2
Mac OS Catalina 10.15.7

Hi, first time poster, hope everyone is good! Hopefully someone can help me with this…

I was recording a podcast a few days back, two of us on the podcast, recording remotely. Set up was Skype so we could see and hear each other, recording our own sessions locally into Audacity. At some point there was a network issue, things went jittery over Skype for a few seconds, usual stuff.

When it came to synching our recordings, we found that my recording had an approx 9 seconds ‘missing’ at the point at which the network glitch happened - i.e. my recording skips 9 seconds and my co-podcaster’s recording ends up 9 seconds behind - so it seems that either 9 seconds ‘disappeared’ or that Audacity paused recording for 9 seconds. When checking in Audacity I can see that there are two dropout markers right at that point.They are less than a second apart, but like I say there is a 9 second ‘chunk’ missing.

So the question is: Is this down to the Detect Dropouts function, if a dropout happens does Audacity ‘pause’ the recording if this function is enabled?

And if not does anyone have an idea of why my recording could have ended up with this 9 second skip in it?

Thanks for your time!

No it doesn’t. It just adds a label when it detects a dropout.

My guess is that the system was trying to keep the audio stream synchronised with the video stream, and that when the glitch occurred with Skype it caused a similar glitch in the audio stream.

Yes, but.

If you’re both recording your local microphone, how did the Skype disturbance have anything to do with it?

I guess if Skype lost its marbles and needed to do a redirection via Vladivostok, you would get a timing change and when you though the far side said “hello” could be a second or two behind when they actually said it, but I can’t account for nine seconds. Keeping nine seconds of picture and sound up in the air is not easy.

That pause during a news report when the anchor turns it over to the live person in the field? That’s one or two satellite loops. 250 msec each—quarter second. Terrestrial fiber links are much faster.

Split Recording is highly recommended if you can do it. It is a bit like marching cats, but a well executed session will sound like a living room conversation. Trying to actually record Skype or Zoom with good quality will drive you nuts. A note: Both Skype and Zoom will record your conversation for you. It’s not Glen Glenn sound studios, it’s Skype Voice, but in this case, it may be better than what you got.

Perhaps the CIA had trouble with their monitoring equipment.


@ Mr Dropout

How do you do sync? By Guess and By Golly? Go with theatrical flow?

Where is the show? I mean how can I listen?

I know people who tell the far side to hold their headphones up to their microphone and then the session supervisor claps. You can do a countdown. “And One and Two and Three and (everybody) Clap.”

That’s the podcast version of the clapboard.


Thanks Steve for confirming regarding the Detect Dropouts function. In regards the synching, that sounds like a sensible assessment, though I must admit I don’t know what the ‘audio stream’ is - my lack of knowledge showing! I assume that this is some kind of global stream within the OS which all audio devices and programs would use.

If so, then the story would go something like: there were network issues which affected Skype, which cause delay and then to ‘fix’ this and get back into synch the stream ‘skipped’ forward to synch. This manifested in Audacity, which is recording part of the audio stream, as a sudden ‘skip’ forward (in this case 9 seconds of ‘lost’ audio).

That assessment does lead to the question:

Thanks kozikowski. This was a question which came to my mind too, bearing in mind that I have limited knowledge on how audio is streamed within and without the mac. Is there a way to record from the microphone directly to audacity to keep it agnostic of any network issues? The current setup is that the mic (an AKG Lyra USB mic) is being used by both Skype and by Audacity. It seems that the current setup has effectively created a dependency between what happens in Skype (at the mercy of any network issues) and what happens in Audactiy. Ideally, it would be great if Audacity just recorded from the mic independently.

In regards the question of how we synch yes, we do a simple countdown from 10 to 1, and in fact time it on a stopwatch too so that our seconds are as accurate as possible - slight overkill probably but it does seem to generally work!

Apologies for any misunderstanding from my part, and thank you very much for your help so far, it’s much appreciated.

From your initial description, it sounds like that occurred, but I’ve no idea “how” that could occur. Then again, much of the macOS sound system is mystery to me (my usual OS is Linux).