Listening what I record with delay

Hi, this is not a problem of Audacity at all, it’s a hardware problem (related with Audacity) that I don’t know how to solve, and may be anyone here knows how to do it.

Well, I have an old laptop (2005). I usually use Audacity to open multi-track files (mogg, ogg, or simply 8-9 mp3) and play along/record my guitar. Everything is OK with this laptop.

-If I wanna play along, I plug in my guitar and I connect the audio jack from the computer to my amp. So my amp playbacks my guitar and my laptop’s music (Audacity).

-If I wanna record my guitar, I connect the output of my amp to the recording jack of the laptop, and my headphones to the audio jack. So I can listen to my laptop and ALSO to my guitar. I listen to my guitar even if I’m not running audacity, cause I have selected “Listen to this device” in microphone.

NOW, I’ve bought a new laptop, 2013, i7 4700 quad-core, 8GB of RAM, MICROPHONE integrated (my old one did not have a microphone)… Well, I wanna do the same thing:

-If I wanna play along, I just do the same process and everything is NICE.

-BUT, when I’m trying to record my guitar, it sounds with delay. I mean, I’m not running Audacity, I just have checked the “listen to this device” option, and in the deskpot, If i have plugged in my amp to the recording jack, I can hear the guitar. But there’s an annoying delay, and I don’t know how to fix it. I have the latest drivers. I don’t know what to do.

Another problem: as my laptop has an integrated microphone, if “listen to this device” is selected, I’m constantly listening to what my microphone detects. So when I unplugg the recording jack, automatically my speakers start to play what my integrated microphone is recording, and of course ALSO PLAYED WITH DELAY. What a CHAOS!

“Listen to this device” in Windows is software playthrough (routing the input to the output through the computer). It is bound to have some latency - the only surprise to me is that you did not notice the delay in the older computer. What version of Windows was on the old computer and what version of Windows is on the new computer?

For recording you could use Transport > Software Playthrough in Audacity. It usually has more latency than “Listen to this device”, but even if it has less, you will still notice it.

You can go to the playback side of Windows Sound and see if there is a volume slider for the microphone. If there is, you can unmute the slider and turn it up. This should be hardware playthrough with little or no latency, but not many computer sound devices have this feature these days.

If not, I suggest you buy a USB guitar (or USB guitar interface) that has a headphones output. This would give you hardware monitoring.

See these examples:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCG102.aspx

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/iAXE629-BKLS.aspx .

You can search for other solutions than Behringer.

Note that you should not install Behringer’s ASIO drivers unless you compile Audacity with ASIO support.

Is this a pink recording port, separate from the green port for plugging in headphones?

Are you sure you set “Listen to this device” for the external microphone that you plugged into?

Look on the Recording tab of Windows Sound again. Can you see the internal mic and the external mic? If you cannot see the external mic, connect your guitar, then right-click over empty space in the Recording tab and choose “Show disabled devices”. If the external mic appears, right-click again and choose “Enable”. Then you can enable “Listen” for the external mic and remove “Listen” for the built-in mic.


Gale

DAMN!, I don’t understand WHY my new laptop have this issue :imp: . Never thought there would be a delay problem when recording :frowning: . Whatever…

My old 2005 laptop has Windows XP, and I’ve not found “Listen to this device” option actually. Simply, you double-click the audio symbol in the notification taskbar, and a new control panel window appears. In that panel there’s an option to select the volume of the microphone, from mute to max. It has NO delay at all, I play my guitar and it’s perfectly sync. It has 2 input jacks: pink recording one and the green sound one. I plug in my headphones in the green one and the guitar (through the amp, with distortion) in the pink one, and that’s it, I instantly can listen to it.

It’s as simple as plug in my guitar, and automatically, my laptop start to playback what I’m playing (of course all the effects from the amp included), and you can’t notice any delay.

My new laptop is running Windows 8.1 x64, everything up to date. It has the same configuration: 2 input jacks, pink recording one and the green sound one. I’ve been messing around with the REALTEK HD AUDIO MANAGER options. I’ve discover that I can SEPARATE the 2 recording methods: input jack to the, I suppose, sound card, and the build-in microphone, next to the webcam.

Then I get this in my recording devices:

(Before separate the input devices, there was only one microphone option)

So finally, I’ve been able to listen to the sound card mic, but mute the build-in one.

Now, I do the same thing, connect my guitar to the pink jack, and now automatically I can listen to it, but, the delay is still there :cry: . I’ve noticed that it’s not a super delay, but I don’t like it, my old laptop is SO MUCH better in this. What can I do? It could be that my new laptop HAS a crap arquitecture so the delay is worse than my low-end cheap 8-year-ago laptop?

For recording you could use Transport > Software Playthrough in Audacity. It usually has more latency than “Listen to this device”, but even if it has less, you will still notice it.

You can go to the playback side of Windows Sound and see if there is a volume slider for the microphone. If there is, you can unmute the slider and turn it up. This should be hardware playthrough with little or no latency, but not many computer sound devices have this feature these days.

Yeah, I know I can do that, but that option carries even more delay. I haven’t selected that option in my old one.

I don’t know where is the playback side of Windows. But when I open the volume MIXER (that is the mainly the Windows Volume Panel), I can see the jack microphone volume. So it’s the same structure, but with an annoying delay. I can’t play the guitar with that delay, because the delay confuses me and the tempo goes wrong.

Yes, that’s hardware playthrough that I suggested you look for in the new computer. Older machines often had hardware playthrough of the inputs.

XP does not have “Listen to this device”. I thought you might have had Vista on the old laptop, which does have “Listen”.

“Separate all input jacks” is normally default - it was unfortunate the tie option was on.

As above, “Listen” is software playthrough. It has latency, just like Audacity software playthrough.

It wouldn’t if it was hardware playthrough as on XP.

Any modern machines these days that still have hardware playthrough of inputs are probably desktops that don’t have a built-in microphone.

It is the just the “Playback” tab of Windows “Sound” here:

You could also look in the Realtek control panel, but most likely you cannot hardware playthrough the mic. This is expected, as I say.

You’ll need a USB guitar or attach your equipment to a USB interface with a headphones port, instead of to the mic port of the computer. The USB interface then becomes your sound card and you can play to it from Audacity.

I think that just adjusts the volume of the output you created by enabling “Listen”.


Gale

The sound that goes into the computer and comes back out again, unless you have a really old, simple soundcard is going to be late. The three hardware examples we posted for Perfect Overdubbing/Sound-On-Sound all get the headphone signal from the device, not the computer. This reduces the delay to effectively zero – guaranteed.

http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/pix/samsonGTrackConnections.jpg
http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/pix/peaveyUCA202Lenovo.jpg
http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/pix/x2uShureOverdub.jpg

You can force the computer to approximate this in software such as ASIO, but that’s pretty painful as it involves reprogramming/recompiling Audacity.

Newer computers are not general-purpose, do-everything machines the old ones were. New machines are corporate and business machines and they have tightly integrated sound services suitable for conferencing and Skype. Not recording your guitar. Oddly, the more modern the machine, the worse this is.

Koz

If you want to do that, see Missing features - Audacity Support .

Note that on the safe assumption that the Realtek device does not come with a native ASIO driver, then you would need a generic ASIO driver like ASIO4ALL.

A generic ASIO driver would not give you quite as good latency as a real ASIO device - hence I did not mention ASIO.

But if the Realtek device supports WDM-KS, the latency under a generic ASIO driver should be almost as good as under ASIO.


Gale

Thanks for all the replies. By the way, I have the Lenovo Y510p, and I don’t know what sound card I have. I’m trying to find it, but everywhere in the computer information it just says “Realtek HD”. I’m trying to find what model I have, but can’t/don’t know how to do it.

There are also a few things I just can’t believe/understand:

The newer a laptop is, the worse audio features

I completely understand this if I’m trying to record through some kind of technology that is nowadays very old. But this is just a ultra simple feature for a sound card. I mean, I’m not trying to buy VHS’s today, or cassetes. I’m not trying to buy wood-cars, or a new laptop with Windows 95 installed, or a 4:3 ratio screen in a 2013 laptop. Hardware playthrough seems to be really basic. I see it really weird that this new laptop doesn’t have that feature.
Is this feature depends on the sound card?
What if I change the sound card to a new one that is better and is able to do this?

If I’ve understand what you said: If I unmark the “listen to this device” option, I should be able to listen to my guitar, automatically using hardware playthrough. Then, a microphone slider in the mixer should appear if I unmark the “listen…”, right? (When I unmark it now, it disappears)

This implicates that in my old laptop, I don’t have the option to software playthrough, that I think I don’t have. So, the Sound World Commite or however it’s called decide:
“Guys, we got to improve the recording method, we don’t need more hardware playthrough, let’s software playthrough and say WELCOME to latency! :mrgreen: I’m a genius!” :mrgreen:

Unless that has happend… it’s software playthrough, there should be an option to hardware accelerate it. I mean, if sound card manufacturers decide to change the way something works, they don’t do it to deteriorate it, obviously. There must be a REAL HUGE advantage of the software playthrough that hardware playthrough doesn’t have, because if not, I don’t understand anything.

Is a USB 10€ sound card better than my sound card? I don’t wanna pay for something that records worse than my laptop :neutral_face: . Nevertheless, I know a guy that can lend me a USB soundcard, and I’ll try it out. But I don’t know, this Lenovo has JBL speakers, Dolby Home Theater v4, REALTEK HD everywhere xD… Seems pretty powerful in the audio area. Indeed, this is a multimedia laptop, but with powerful CPU and GPU.

Thanks for the replies!

PS: what is ASIO? I’ve read that you can have better latency using it. But you said you have to reprogramming Audacity… What that means? Would it solve my problem, since it is software too, I’m not pretty confident…

It’s not the power that’s the problem. It’s simple economics. It’s the difference between selling several hundred computers to the General Electric company in Schenectady, NY for the purpose of field sales communications and conferencing versus selling one laptop to somebody in Burlington, Vermont for the purpose of recording his guitar. GE wins. Settings for entertainment recording (guitar, etc.) tend to conflict with conference connections and Skype, so those settings are engineered out before the computers are delivered. Again, they’re not general purpose computers any more. They’re corporate business machines.

ASIO is a software package that allows drilling new sound pathways through existing hardware and driver software in order to provide short, echo-free pathways to enhance sound production. You can build your own personal, custom version of Audacity with ASIO support built-in using published instructions. If you succeed, that version of Audacity, that software product, can only ever be used by you according to the license agreement. You can’t supply it to anyone else for any reason.

It’s a one-off product, and that’s if you succeed. It’s not that easy.

Koz

Thanks a lot for your time. I’d like my other questions to be answered.


And another question here:

How can I verify that my new USB sound card is gonna be better than my laptop’s? Is it gonna be much difference between a 10€ or 40€ USB soundcard?

How can I verify that my new USB sound card is gonna be better than my laptop’s?

That’s a heck of a question. I’ve never seen a listing in any ad that explicitly says the device mixes computer playback with live performance. There are several that suggest that.

Regard the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlett2i2

It suggests, but never comes right out and says that it will mix live (no latency) monitoring with computer USB playback. But I wouldn’t recommend that unit because it’s not a mixer. If you plug your instrument into the green connection (perfectly valid. It says you can do that) , it will only appear on the LEFT of a stereo show.

This is way harder than it probably needs to be.

We have noticed something else very concerning on the forum. People have been making laptops with cheap, noisy USB connections making any audio connections that get power from the laptop noisy. This was not good news. It effectively peels off a lot of inexpensive audio equipment.

You can walk into a music store and see what they recommend. Given that they’re going to try to up-sell you to something expensive, they may suggest with something valuable. Also google the music forums. Report back. We’d be interested in knowing.

It’s a forum, not a help desk.

Koz

Please note, this is an Audacity Forum. Your problem is well known if you had researched it, but is not a fault with Audacity.

We are all volunteers giving our time for nothing. We don’t all have expertise in the same areas or the same platforms.

It’s a sound device built into the motherboard.

I don’t think the “model number” of the Realtek device matters. You can get full information on the device including driver version number and installed files by opening Windows Device Manger, expand “Sound, video and game controllers”, then right-click over the device and choose “Properties”.

View this page for the latest audio drivers for the Realtek device:
Page Not Found - Lenovo Support NL .

The latest driver version number is different according to the version of Windows. As you have Windows 8.1 64-bit, the latest driver is “Version 6.0.1.7030”. If that version number is later than the version shown in Device Manager, download and install “6.0.1.7030” from the page above.

Note that it is unlikely this will give you hardware playthrough but it is important that you always have the latest drivers.

This is not an Audacity problem so please don’t whine about it here. You can give your feedback to Lenovo.

If you whine loud enough they may fund a USB sound card for you. :wink:

You have already been told what to do. Get a USB guitar or USB guitar interface, or a generic USB interface.

As I said, it is unlikely anything except a high end desktop would have hardware playthrough these days.

No. If you uncheck “Listen to this device” for the external mic and/or mute the external mic in the Realtek control panel, you won’t be able to hear the mic at all (assuming the device is working correctly).

As already stated, XP does not have “Listen” software playthrough.

Please try the device links you have been given.

You may have a hard time finding a USB sound device that records worse than motherboard audio. Those chips typically cost a few dollars each. :wink: Playback is another question - playback can be quite good in motherboard chips, but it varies from device to device and it’s hard to know in advance.

Please click and read the links you have been given: Missing features - Audacity Support .

Yes, but as I said, you will not achieve optimal latency unless you actually have an ASIO sound device. The Realtek and all or most motherboard sound devices are not ASIO enabled devices. ASIO4ALL cannot give latencies as low as ASIO because it is meant for non-ASIO devices.

If you buy the devices suggested then they are ASIO enabled and you could use that functionality if you compiled Audacity with ASIO support and installed the manufacturer’s ASIO drivers. But you shouldn’t even need ASIO because you can hardware monitor using the headphones jack in the device.

You have to build Audacity from the source code instructions. See: Missing features - Audacity Support .

Again, there is no guarantee if you continue to use the Realtek device that ASIO-enabled Audacity would have low enough latency, because Realtek is not an ASIO audio device and you would have to use the generic ASIO4ALL or similar generic ASIO drivers.

But try it. You don’t need to recompile Audacity to see if ASIO4ALL reduces the “Listen” latency to an acceptable degree when you are just playing along without recording.


Gale

Lenovo has JBL speakers, Dolby Home Theater v4, REALTEK HD everywhere xD

All playback enhancements. Nowhere does it mention recording. This too, is pretty common. I saw an advertising listing that went the whole page with how their product was going to make your life worth living. All playback.

This was the recording description in its entirety:

Mic in.

Musicians are a minority. Of the 700 people in our Los Angeles corporation, I think all of eight of them play an instrument actively enough to require recording. Manufacturers are not beating down the door to service that crowd. Everybody wants to watch to a movie with Dolby, Super-Enhanced DTS Mega-Surround, Super Bass, etc. etc, etc. So those enhancements get pushed to the top of the list.

We recently had a posting from someone with “7.1 Surround” headphones. Good trick, but that was a playback feature. Not recording.

I know this is overkill, but this would work. That’s a $100 mixer plugged into a $30 USB adapter. The mixer will handle several guitars and microphones at once and the USB adapter will give you no-delay recording and sound-on-sound mixing.


Oddly, I can’t even recommend the USB version of the same mixer, because I can’t get them to tell me how their monitoring works. This is way harder than you think it should be.

Koz

Right, but we know Behringer devices do so. And even if you don’t use ASIO-enabled Audacity and hear the computer playback late, this doesn’t really matter because you can time-shift or latency adjust the recorded tracks.


Gale

Lol, thanks for the replies. I didn’t want you guys to take “offensive” or “irritating” my questions. I know this has nothing to do with Audacity (well, it has, but it’s not a software problem of Audacity). May be I should have posted it in the off-topic section. AND, we’re never giving our time for nothing :wink: .

Note that it is unlikely this will give you hardware playthrough but it is important that you always have the latest drivers.

Yeah, I know, indeed, I have a newer version of the driver than that you say.

No. If you uncheck “Listen to this device” for the external mic and/or mute the external mic in the Realtek control panel, you won’t be able to hear the mic at all (assuming the device is working correctly).

Lol, I meant, that if I HAD hardware playthrough, I’d see a microphone slider in the sound panel control (mixer) EVEN if the “listen to this device” is disabled. But if I disable that option, nothing about microphones appears, so I do NOT have hardware playthrough, as you guys initially said.

So… I think I will buy a good USB sound card to record my guitar.

We have noticed something else very concerning on the forum. People have been making laptops with cheap, noisy USB connections making any audio connections that get power from the laptop noisy. This was not good news. It effectively peels off a lot of inexpensive audio equipment.

You can walk into a music store and see what they recommend. Given that they’re going to try to up-sell you to something expensive, they may suggest with something valuable. Also google the music forums. Report back. We’d be interested in knowing.

What do you mean when you say “people make laptops”? You can buy a cheap and bad USB pci-e card for a PC, but you definitely can NOT customize a laptop, adding USB connections to the motherboard. So I don’t understand that “people make laptops with cheap connections” thing. And… what do you really wanna know? I’m asking right now in music forums, but I don’t know what are you asking me to discover.

Cheers! :slight_smile:

you definitely can NOT customize a laptop

Precisely. Posters have been arriving complaining that their laptop is causing noise problems in their USB sound. USB sound devices are the solution when your built-in sound doesn’t work right. Now, it’s possible to get a laptop so cheap it doesn’t do anything right.

It’s a “Hollywood” laptop. It looks great when an actor is photographed with it on camera, but doesn’t work.

The existence of really sub-standard laptops was not good news, and nowhere is it written that they stopped the trend with laptops.

The very high end ProTools audio editing suite was only recently available without an associated expensive hardware package. The custom, required hardware was the way they got around Windows PC poor but normal hardware.

So you will let is know what you find, right?

Koz

Well, I hope mine is not a cheap-useless laptop, $1000 was the price. So you say that even USB ports are bad quality in cheap laptop than can’t record well even with a USB sound card?

Of course, I’ll post here what I buy and how I use it.

Cheers!

That may not be a good thing, if Windows downloaded that driver of its own accord. You’d hope that Lenovo would post the latest correct audio drivers…


Gale

There have been some posts that known good USB devices have hum that is apparently not related to the distance the device is from the computer.

There could be other reasons such as a bad USB cable or using too many other USB devices at the same time. USB ports in laptops are often on shared interrupts.

Laptop USB noise can usually be reduced by running on battery instead of mains power.


Gale

That may not be a good thing, if Windows downloaded that driver of its own accord. You’d hope that Lenovo would post the latest correct audio drivers…

I know that not a newer driver means only improvements, but generally, the newer a driver it is better. So what’s the problem of have a newer audio driver?

By the way, I’ve downloaded it from a driver updater I have. And I have nothing to complain about the audio drivers, everyting works great, except the software playthrough.

Anyway, If you said that a newer/older driver is not gonna fix my delay, why does it matter?

Finally! I’ve fixed it! :astonished: :smiley: :smiling_imp:

I knew it, I knew I was right, I knew this sound card should have NO freaking delay. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, after searching for hours about this problem, everybody was saying “hey, listen to this device is always gonna have delay, bla, bla, bla”. But even after find that, I was really confused about my sound card. How in the hell is it not gonna support hardware playthrough! I mean, it have the same jacks as my old one, everything seems to be the same, what the hell!

And 30 min ago, I’ve found a guy that said:

-Although the option is not where every user would search when facing microphone issues, there’s a slider for the mic of the input jack that is pure hardware. You don’t have to mess around Microphone options, it’s PLAYBACK options where you have to find it. Go to speakers properties, and then “level” tab. There you’ll find a slider for the volume of the micro plugged in through the jack.

There! Now I have no delay at all, hell yeah, as it should be. Although you guys have convinced me that I had no hardware playthrough, that new laptops have cut features from audio and all of that, I was pretty confident I didn’t have that feature, but even though, I wasn’t convinced completely, and today I’ve searched for it.

Well, now I have the next dilemma:

Is a USB sound card (10-40€) gonna record better than my laptop, better enough to worth its purchase? I know I’ve asked to you this quest, but I didn’t understand the answer very well. I mean, is there a way I can compare 2 recording devices, as I compare processors, graphics cards… (I feel there’s no such thing).

Cheers guys and thanks for the help, it’s really appreciated. :slight_smile: