Long podcast episode — timing is off

So I do a podcast over Zoom, using Audacity to record and edit the audio. It’s worked great for several episodes, but today when I started editing I noticed the timing was way off: My clip was shorter than my cohost’s by more than a minute. I changed an Audacity setting before recording, when I turned on sound-activated recording, which leads me to think the error is probably because of that. Could the sound-activated recording be messing up my timing very slightly each time I spoke, which accumulated to a big difference? Seems unlikely, but I don’t know what else could’ve caused this discrepancy. Maybe Zoom is messing with Audacity in some new way?
I know it’s pretty likely that it’s irreparable, but if someone has any ideas about how to fix this, I’d be happy to try. I already tried changing the speed so the two match, and they still don’t line up. It seems to be more complicated than that. Thanks in advance.

Could the sound-activated recording be messing up my timing very slightly each time I spoke

Sound Activated Recording’s job is to stop recording when it thinks you’re not performing. There is a setting for how quiet your performance has to be to trigger the effect. If you stopped talking and went to lunch, Audacity will stop recording and be waiting for you when you got back leaving a lunch-shaped hole in your show.

So if you expect everything to sync in the future, de-select Sound Activated Recording.

Depending on your work, you may be able to add tiny slivers of Generate > Silence here and there to this show, but it could be days of work. There is no single-button solution to UNDO the damage.


One of the effects of a badly adjusted Sound Activated Recording is a voice performance that sounds like you never take a breath. Every time you breathe in, it would stop recording for a split second.

Why did you turn on Sound Activated Recording? Were you solving a recording problem?


I turned on sound-activated recording because I have some background noise when I record and I thought it might get rid of the background noise and only pick up times that I spoke. My bad for not looking into what setting actually does. I think it might be salvageable if I cut each of the times I spoke and moved them to where they matched up with the other clip. Thanks for the info, I won’t use voice activated recording again.

I have some background noise when I record

Do you know what your background noise is? Noise is a home performers constant problem. Nobody hears that air conditioning or refrigerator noise in real life until it appears in a performance. I do pretty well for echoes and most noises, but I still have to stop recording when the Metrobus goes by.

Two common problems are computer fan noise and bare floor echoes. Nothing says New User faster than those two together.

If you feel like it, burn a ten second voice test and post it. Sometimes we can offer suggestions.