latency problem

all my recording time is at work. i work the night shift at a hospital where i have a lot of down time, which is why i started recording my stuff here. i’ve done a number of things in audacity, but never had to record live from the mic input on my laptop. a majority of my music is made in a different program, exported into an ogg format, and i used audacity to mix different samples into the music, and export into a wav or mp3. i recently started writing some guitar music, which is when i noticed this problem.

waits for whoever reads this to rub their forehead and say “why??”

i’ve got my guitar hooked into the mic input directly, and i play by ear, so i have to listen to what i’m playing in order for me to play it right. i turned on the monitor function in audacity, and not even recording, there is this latency issue of about half a second. am i missing a driver (?) somewhere? i’m not very computer literate, but i know enough to get me into trouble :confused:

i apologize if this is a repost, but the closest thing i found in my search of the previous threads was from 2007, and i’m on a brand new laptop.

toshiba laptop
intel i3
… not much else besides the guitar and audacity 1.2.6


… just had a thought …

would upgrading to the 1.3 beta version help?


If you’re on a modern laptop you probably have Windows 7 or Vista. The 1.3.12 version is the recommended version for those operating systems.

You can get it from here:

Upgrading to 1.3. is recommended, but I don’t think it will solve your delay problem …

Note that using a USB microphone is not the best way to record overdubs. These microphones are great for podcasters who just want to record their voice and are not worried about syncing to music. The problem with these microphones is that the only way you can hear yourself in your headphones is by turning Software Playthrough On. Software playthrough introduces its own delay (different from latency) which you will hear in your headphones. Tests on the same system used for the latency test below revealed that the Software Playthrough delay was 65 milliseconds. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s like hearing your voice coming out of speakers 70 feet away. If you are serious about overdubbing, get an inexpensive mixer and a good microphone to go with it.

For more information on overdubbing with Audacity, see our Tutorial - Recording Multi-track Overdubs