How to manage the delay when recording with a DAW

Hi guys,

I’m currently recording my first EP but I’m having trouble adressing the delay created by the Digital audio workstation. I was wondering how you guys do it. This is what I tried so far :

  • Visualy matching the soundwaves by looking at the tracks

  • Using the selection toolbar at the bottom to match the tracks more thorouhgly

One some songs it is perfect, but on some others something ain’t right :confused:

Is there any special feature in the software to help us adress this topic ?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

You’re overdubbing, right, listening to a backing track while you perform live? As a rule you can’t hear yourself while you do that. The computer sound is always late and its not adjustable.

You need to record with a microphone, interface or mixer that allows “zero latency monitoring.” Many USB mixers allow that now and it’s easier to find than you think.

I do it with a USB interface.

I probably wouldn’t use earbuds to mix music, but that’s where to plug real headphones.

What’s your equipment?


If you’re complaining about having your new music overlay the old backing track, that is adjustable. That’s one of the setup steps you need to go through for easy overdubbing. Once that’s set and your computer doesn’t do anything silly, you should be able to lay on track after track with good accuracy.


Hey Thanks for the answer. Yes I’m overdubbing. I’m done with my guitar tracks and now I’m recording my vocal parts. But each time there is this little latency.

About my equipment :

  • Static condenser Audio technica microphone
  • Scarlet 2i4 Digital audio workstation
  • Sony studio monitor headphones

Given the recording tutorials that I have red, I thaught that latency could never be fully suppressed you just got to deal with it and cut tracks after having recorded. But I was wondering if there was an feature that would help us do that easily.

I’ll will check your second answer and about the first do you have a link ?

That link up the post is the Audacity manual entry for overdubbing.

There are two latencies. Recording latency is when you adjust Audacity so your new and old tracks overlay perfectly. Since Audacity has an iron grip on both the old and new tracks, it’s adjustable.

Machine latency is the time it takes your voice to get into Audacity, turn around and come back out to your headphones. I call that “one computer late” and it’s not adjustable. That’s why most solutions involve not listening to the computer.

More later.


Scarlet 2i4 Digital audio workstation

That’s a little grand. The 2i4 is a good USB interface. You should be able to listen to the 2i4 and select it as your “speakers” instead of the computer speakers. Then the 2i4 will send your live voice to Audacity and your headphones—no echo, and play your backing track to you as well.

The 2i4 even has a knob toward the right that will fade between those two sounds to allow you to balance the mix.


I think I missed a step there. Audacity > Preferences > Recording should have [X] Overdubbing as the only thing selected. If both Audacity and the 2i4 send your voice to your headphones, you’ll get both, one late.


Ok, thanks for all the infos :slight_smile: . I’ll try and set up the latency in Preference > Recording at the lowest.


Adjusting the Recording Latency can be stupid simple. Make Audacity generate a click track and use that as the backing track. Set up to record your voice and instead of that, jam your headphone against the microphone.

Stop and compare the two tracks. Tune the latency adjustment, tune and record, tune and record until there is no time difference.

I guarantee you will adjust the wrong way the first time and the error will get worse. Also pay attention to the secondary beat in the click track. Tick, tick, tick TOCK. That will prevent you from aligning to the wrong tick. I, of course, have never done that.