Hello, all -
I’m completely new to Audacity, trying to get it to work through my Scarlett 2i2 input box. It will record just fine. But I’m trying to direct-monitor through the Scarlett box. I cannot seem to get Audacity to send a playback signal through the box to my headphones. It will send playback to the system speakers, but that is not helpful for monitoring purposes. Any wisdom you might care to offer would be greatly appreciated.
Jon, Oregon, USA

The 2i2, 3rd Gen claims to be able to live mix the computer playback with the performance. Some interfaces will not do that.

Just the fact that your computer speakers are working means you have a setting wrong somewhere. Go into Audacity > Preferences > Devices and see where Audacity is sending the sound.

This is the Mac panel, so your settings won’t exactly match, but the general setup is there.

Screen Shot 2021-04-08 at 7.10.19 PM.png
In this case, Audacity is sending sound to the Built-In Output which is my headphones and recording from iShowYou which is an audio routing program. You should be able to trace both your recording and playback from those panels.

That’s not guarantee, however. The sound still has to make it through Windows Services and can get bollixed up if you like to use Skype or Zoom.


I’m guessing that you are more familiar with analog recording, and you want to monitor what is on the “tape” rather than monitoring what is going to the tape.

In digital systems it’s different. Monitoring is normally done directly from the audio interface because it is impossible to listen in real time without a delay if you are waiting for the signal to do the round trip from analog to digital back to analog. With a highly tuned ASIO setup it is possible to get the round trip delay down to around 20 ms, but standard Windows drivers have much longer latency with a round trip commonly being around half a second.

With digital, primarily because of buffering delays, you have a choice of “zero latency” monitoring from the input of the audio interface, or monitoring the output with a delay. In most cases, if it’s available, people tend to prefer the former.

To monitor the output (with a delay), enable “Software Playthrough” in Audacity’s “Transport menu > Transport options”.

Note that if you are recording with a microphone it is essential that you monitor with headphones rather than speakers (or speakers in a different room), otherwise the sound from the speakers will feed back into the microphone.

Thanks for this. The setting you suggest is the setting I’m using. I can hear through the 'phones as I record but I don’t seem to be able to hear playback at all, for some reason. I know it’s there because I can see the wave form on the screen. I’m sure that I have a setting wrong somewhere. I just have no idea which setting.

What is the playback output set to in the Device Toolbar?

Playback is set to Focusrite USB, the Scarlett box. This has to be something simple, something I’m missing. I’ll be darned if I can find it.

Can you get normal playback from Audacity through the Scarlett?
Can you get playback from anything through the Scarlett?

No, I cannot.

Check in the macOS “Sound” preferences. It seems that you have a problem there (perhaps the Scarlett output is muted?)

I’m having this same issue. They worked the other day, brand new headphones. I’ve got speakers set to my focusrite interface but no sound is playing.

I don’t understand what you are trying to say.
What does this mean? “I’ve got speakers set to my focusrite interface

This from the Scarlett2i2 3rd Generation manual:

The Scarlett 2i2 is fitted with a “Direct Monitoring” option, which overcomes this problem. Setting the
front panel DIRECT MONITOR control to either MONO or STEREO will route your input signals
directly to the Scarlett 2i2’s headphone and main monitor outputs. This enables you to hear yourself
with zero latency – i.e., in “real time” – along with the computer playback. The input signals to your
computer are not affected in any way by this setting.

In MONO mode, Inputs 1 and 2 are routed equally to the two outputs (both the rear panel outputs and
headphones) so that they both appear in the centre of the stereo image. This is useful when you are
recording two separate instruments or an instrument and a vocal, where there is no need for the two
signals to be specifically located in the stereo image. Further examples would be an acoustic and an
electric guitar, a bass which is both mic’d and DI’d or two separate mics differently positioned on a
guitar amplifier.

In STEREO mode, Input 1 is routed to the left output channel and Input 2 to the right. Use this mode
if you are recording something that is inherently stereo in nature. Monitoring in stereo will give you
a more accurate impression of the sound stage. Examples are any situation where two microphones
are being used to deliberately capture a stereo image such as a pair of overhead drum mics, a single
stereo mic recording an orchestra or other ensemble, or the stereo outputs of an electronic source
such as a piano, synthesiser or FX unit.

When using Direct Monitoring, ensure that your DAW software is not set to route its input (what you
are currently recording) to its output. If it is, you will hear yourself “twice”, with one signal audibly
delayed as an echo.

I hope this helps. :smiley: