Latency Problem - How Check WITHOUT Microphone?

Hi. I’ve been an audacity user for years, recording instrumental music. I’ve never had any problems with Audacity until a month ago when completely out of nowhere it developed a latency issue.

I’ve tried every fix and tweak I can find online, and nothing works. I’ve reinstalled numerous different versions of Audacity, no joy. Updated, uninstalled and reinstalled PC sound drivers, no difference.

So i don’t know what’s caused the problem. But the most common fix I’ve found is to use a microphone and click-track to figure out the latency setting in preferences. I have no microphone so is there some alternate way of doing this?


until a month ago when completely out of nowhere it developed a latency issue.

Right after you moved your headphones from the USB interface you had been using to the headphone connection of the computer?

There are two latencies. You’re describing the machine latency which you can’t change. That’s the time it takes for the musical performance to get into the computer, into Audacity, out of Audacity through the computer again and out to the headphones. There are special software drivers that can help with that, but for the most part, it’s fixed.

What you’re supposed to do is listen to anything but the computer. The microphone headphone connection, the USB microphone interface, or the USB connected sound mixer.

Without knowing anything about your system, set up a rhythm backing track (Generate > Rhythm or Generate > Drum) and play it to your headphones. Turn off Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Recording > [_] Playthrough. Play drums (if possible) in exact time to the backing track. Play back the two tracks and measure the difference in time. Add that time to the latency measurement already posted in Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Devices > Latency > Latency. You are required by law to go the wrong way the first time and make it worse.


Hi Koz,

Thanks for the in-depth reply.

I should have mentioned my set-up. I’m not using USB. It’s Guitar → Amplifier → PC. Through the PC’s in-built mic socket.

Also, the headphones go directly into the PC headphone socket, again not USB.

OK, so we need to clarify a couple of things. You don’t hear a theatrically perfect mix, right? You don’t hear the backing track and your live performance at the same time in your headphones?