How do I best synchronize three individual voice audio tracks recorded locally for a group discussion. Each track contains only the voice of one member of the discussion.
For future reference is there a better way to get quality recordings from separate participants?
Have you already recorded the tracks yet? Ideally you will have synchronisation marks at the start and the end (like a clapper board when making films / videos), but if you’ve already done the recording it is too late for that.
Yes, this one is already recorded. Future recordings some kind of indicator would be ideal but since people are in different time zones and there is latency over the wire, I am not sure what to do really. The only idea I had was to ask people to make some alarm for a time synchronized to their local timezone.
Is there a better way?
I presume that you are listening to each other via headphones?
In which case:
After you have all set up your equipment and checked that you can all hear each other, tell everyone to take off their headphones and place them over their microphones (so that their mic will pick up sound from their headphones). You then clap 3 times in front of your microphone.
At the end of your session, repeat the synchronisation procedure.
The reason for having synchronisation points at start and end, is that there could be a small amount of difference between clock speeds for your sound cards, so while your sound card may run at exactly 44100 Hz, another may run at 44099 or 44101.3 Hz. Difference is clock speed will cause slight variations in the speed of the recordings when played back on your computer. Having synchronisation marks at each end allow you to use the “Change Speed” effect to adjust the lengths to match your machine, so that the time between the start and end marks is identical for all of the recordings.
Getting the lengths the same is important to avoid the tracks from drifting out of synch.
Note that when you mix the tracks together, you may find that slightly off-setting some of the tracks sounds more natural - if it does, then do that. You can manually adjust the track positions using the Time Shift tool.
Lining up the synchronisation marks in all tracks will get you very close to where you need to be - tweak it manually if necessary.