Latency in monitoring

I apologize - I am sure this has been covered but I’ve been wading through piles of searches on the forum for an hour without luck on my issue.

I am using Windows 10 home
I am using Audacity version 2.2.1

I am using a mixer with usb audio interface function [Zoom L12]. I understand that I can correct latency after the fact via latency correction, but if I have a drum track recorded and want to record a new guitar track while monitoring the drum tack in Audacity, the latency makes this impossible. There must be a trick here?

Appreciate any help!

There must be a trick here?

There’s more than one.

Overdubbing features two different latencies. Recording latency is the setting that Audacity needs so it sends you the backing track in perfect time so your performance appears on it’s new track also in perfect time. That’s the one you set with Edit > Preferences > Device > Latency > Track Shift. If you have a live microphone, the easiest way to set it is jam your microphone into your headphones and perform an Overdub. Measure the difference between the two tracks and apply that correction to the Track Shift setting. Use Generate > Metronome as the backing track for this. It’s easy to see the individual clicks and pops.

– Before adjustment:

– After adjustment:

I make that sound so easy. It usually take three or four passes to get it perfect.

This is a little silly, but would actually work. The microphone is picking up the backing track from the earpiece.


The other one is machine latency. You can’t listen to yourself by plugging into the computer. Your voice takes time to get into Audacity, turn around and come back out again. Instant Echoes and slap sound and you can’t stop it.

If you’re using a USB mixer, look for Zero Latency Monitoring. Somehow, the mixer has to let you listen to yourself in real time (pretty easy) while it’s mixing the backing track playback from the computer. If you have that, you can get a theatrically perfect show in your earphones while you perform.

Your mixer is way more complicated than it needs to be, so I can’t tell how it does it—or even if it does. It may be worth a call to the maker or look to see if they have their own forum.

This is what a dead simple USB interface does.
Screen Shot 2017-12-17 at 19.08.30.png
If you do nothing, the headphones will have computer playback on them. If you push Direct Monitor, the headphones will also have your live voice mixed in. Bingo, theatrically perfect mix.

Your mixer claims to be able to manage two different USB sound connections and is so complicated I need to lie down for a while.


Last one. You can, in fact, correct a timing mis-match in post, but it’s not latency then. You would use the Time Shift Tool (two sideways arrows) to shove the late track sideways so it matches the earlier one.

If you need to do that, then you probably did something wrong. Audacity will produce a perfect Overdub performance if it’s adjusted and connected correctly.