Latency test

Hi everyone,

I hope you are well.

I have been trying to do a latency test as shown here: as I want to be able to record some tapping using my laptop’s speaker and microphone.

I have been following the steps as shown, but Audacity doesn’t seem to be able to record the sound from the rhythm track I created (picture attached). The volume on my laptop’s speak is 100% and my laptop is flat on my desk. I also tried the different options of microphones and speakers as shown under the toolbar (e.g. Microphone Array Intel Smart etc.) but they don’t really work. Sometimes, it does work but it records only some of the clicks that are produced by the rhythm track. Any ideas why this is happening?

Thank you very much for your help! :slight_smile:

I don’t exactly understand what you’re doing…

Maybe this will help: [u]Tutorial - Recording Multi-track Overdubs[/u]

Are you saying you can’t record from the microphone?

but Audacity doesn’t seem to be able to record the sound from the rhythm track I created

If you already have a rhythm track you don’t need to re-record it. Typically, you listen to the rhythm track or backing-track in headphones (so it doesn’t get picked-up by the microphone) while recoding another track. Then you can open the backing track and the other track (or multiple tracks) at the same time and you can mix them (if that’s what you want). They will be played together if you “Play” and when you export they will be mixed to mono or stereo.

Note that mixing is done by summation (which increases the levels) so in order to prevent clipping (overload distortion) you usually have to reduce the levels.


Did you try increasing the gain on the track?

If you already have a rhythm track you don’t need to re-record it.

Unless you’re setting up for overdubbing latency.

The goal is to have the backing track, your live voice, and the voice recording to “appear” in perfect time with each other. You can’t actually do that because of computer delays, so Audacity fudges things a little. For example, play the backing track to the performer “slightly early,” so the end result comes out right. There’s a couple of different ways to do that and I don’t remember which one Audacity uses, but you have to test the computer to find out how sloppy it is.

That’s the ‘jam the headphone against the microphone’ thing.

Screen Shot 2021-09-07 at 9.28.41 AM.png
The time difference between the backing track and the fresh, new recording is the correction to be applied to the Latency setting. You are required by the laws of the State of California to go the wrong way the first time and make it worse. Then figure out what you did and fix it.

I need to drop for a while.


the laws of the State of California

It’s impossible to write the instructions for this. Watch:

Add the time difference between the backing track and the new recording to the existing negative value.


Test it again. If it gets better, you went the right way. Do that more—usually once more to make it perfect. If it’s really screwed up, subtract instead of adding the numbers.

Somewhere in the Overdubbing tutorial, it tells you to start with a working, plain, ordinary microphone. None of these tricks work without that.

Can you make a recording if you just talk into the microphone? Yell? Never blow into a microphone, but you can talk or yell as loud as you want. If you never get rumply blue waves, that needs to be fixed first.

This is an ideal recording.

Home microphones tend to record quietly and the Audacity blue wave timelines only show you the loudest sounds.

The Microphone volume controls (if you have them), microphone driver (if you have one), Windows Services, Windows Enhancements, Zoom, and Skype all get their hands in the pie. This is the kind of thing that can make simply recording your voice into a career move.