Keeping tracks separate until mix? Recording problem

Am on Audacity 2.1.3, Windows 10.

When I record a track, the new track will contain what was recorded on the previous track.

Example: I record drums on track one, bass on track two and rhythm gtr on track three. Track three will have drums and bass mixed with the guitar. When I solo track three, I should just hear rhythm guitar, but drums/bass/gtr are mixed on track three.

How do I keep the tracks discreet until I want to mix? Is it something in my overdub settings?

Excuse my poor articulation of this question;).


Is it something in my overdub settings?

You should be recording from your recording device: microphone, USB adapter, etc, not Stereo Mix or other foldback adapter. People get this one wrong when they like to record YouTube or other internet content and forget this is a special setting incompatible with normal recording.

Then you should only have Overdub selected in the recording panel.

Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Recording.


Thanks for the reply.

I’m not sure I’m following you. Under recording preferences, the only thing I have on is “overdub.”

I’m running drum machine, guitar, bass and mis through a Behringer Q502 USB mixer into the USB port. Playback / output goes back through USB. I monitor on headphones on the mixer.

I love the Audacity program, just can’t get this one simple thing figured out. Have been on GarageBand for years and am accustomed to the way it handles tracks.

Thanks again for your help.

But you’re not sure about the other setting? When you’re not performing live music, do you like to download and listen to YouTube or other on-line music? The settings to do that, formerly called Stereo Mix, send everything on the computer off to be recorded. That can be a generic sound setting for a long time before you notice anything odd, but the instant you start overdubbing, that bites you immediately by double recording the tracks.

What are the settings in the device toolbar?
Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 6.23.59 PM.png
I’m not a Windows elf, but I think that should say USB Audio CODEC in both windows. That should record USB performance from the mixer and then send the “headphone” traffic back to the mixer.

The first setting is not going to be Core Audio. That’s going to be something like WASAPI??

There is an tutorial on Overdubbing. Skip forward in the Windows instructions.

A quick trip through the instructions tells me you can set this mixer to send two-track or USB headphone traffic back down the show mix. See the button that says “To Main Mix?” You probably don’t want that.

What made you abandon your Mac?


Thanks, Koz. Will read back through your post and try everything in the morning, about brain dead now…have been messing with this all afternoon;).

One problem here is my lack of familiarity with Windows. I still have my company owned MacBook Air, my wife picked up a PC laptop for me when my old personal Mac finally died. Some of this Windows stuff is maddening.

Will digest everything in the morning. Thanks again.

Some of this Windows stuff is maddening

Some of it?


Look for that mixer button first. Pushing that by accident will give you the symptoms you have.


Ah! It appears to be this funky mixer. I just recorded four tracks without “to mains” clicked on the mixer. Tracks remain independent as they should. I then recorded a track with “to mains” clicked and it reverted to the old problem.

Now here’s the hitch. Unless I click “to mains” I cannot hear myself playing as I record.

In any case, looks like the problem is identified. Now to deal with the new problem (tomorrow when I’m actually awake;).


The other button in that group: To Phones.



Thanks. I think I’ve tracked it down.

You were correct, pressing “to mains” was the cause of my track problem. However, I am unable to hear what I’m playing and the previous tracks simultaneously unless I press both “to phones” and “to mains.”

I came across this tidbit while digging around for info on the mixer (also new to me).

Published on May 19, 2016
When using the USB as your input and output, you can’t hear audio in both directions. Let’s fix it!

Anyway, it turns out that I had all my settings correct, just one pressed button that shouldn’t have been pressed. I should be able to figure out the mixer issue. Maybe I’ll set for USB input and use the built-in line out for monitoring.

Thanks again!

just one pressed button that shouldn’t have been pressed.

Which one? Remember, we have to be able to help someone else who shows up with the same problem.

Maybe I’ll set for USB input and use the built-in line out for monitoring.

Sure, as long as you don’t need to listen to yourself. The reason we’re going through this whole exercise is you can’t listen to yourself at the computer. It’s going to be late with an echo. Machine latency. The one you can’t easily change.

When using the USB as your input and output, you can’t hear audio in both directions.

True, the instructions don’t once mention “zero latency monitoring.” That’s the system that allows you to listen to both sides at once.

Behringer usually does OK, but down at the bottom of the product line, they take shortcuts and you have to pay attention. This is the mixer that doesn’t supply 48volt Phantom Power for condenser microphones. If you dig far enough down in the small print, it’s the older, not very well supported 15v, not 48v. Some microphones will use that, but my best microphone won’t.


You can totally do it this way. That’s one way I do it.

The UCA-202 is a bi-directional USB adapter with zero latency monitoring. Those earphones are there so you can hear both directions. That’s a plain analog mixer on the right.

You may have to boost the headphone volume if you’re playing live, this is not a flamethrower, it’s just a small adapter. If you have an old music system in the attic, that might work.