Multi Track Recording Sync

I have recorded several guitar and vocal tracks using a Samson USB microphone and monitoring it all with the PC headset. When I tried to add a guitar by direct plug in (Pocket Pod Direct Out to the PC Mic In) with Software Playthrough checked (so I can hear it all) there is a delay in the new guitar track which makes it impossible to play in time. How can I hear what I am playing AND what I am playing along with?

I am using a Dell XPS Laptop with Windows 7 and Audacity 2.0.3 installed from the exe download.

That’s hardware delay or latency and that can’t be changed. You are listening to the various analog and digital conversions between the guitar and your ears. I’m surprised the Samson worked OK, but if you have a USB headset, that may be what saved you.

You can play “blind” without listening to your live track. I know, everybody hates that.

This problem is why all three “Perfect Overdubbing” recommendations in the tutorial have the headset connected to something other than the computer.

Did you notice that the Recording Latency changed, too? The new track doesn’t line up with all the older ones? You can’t change the system like that without going through the setup again. If you change hardware, you basically started over.


I guess if I am recording the guitar directly into the computer, I can crank up the monitor to hear the recorded tracks and listen to what I am playing with headphones. I was hoping to keep quiet but maybe I’ll just go back to the mic in front of the amp.

If your headphones are plugged into the computer then you will still probably get the delay from Software Playthrough.
If your hardware does not provide “direct monitoring” then the usual workaround (that works) is to listen to the guitar acoustically and just listen to the previously recorded tracks through your headphones (“Software Playthrough” off/not selected).

I’ll use the headphones to listen to the recorded tracks and run my guitar through the amp so I can feel what it sounds like. That way I can hear it all in time. The neighbours too.

That’s why I used the phrase “Perfect Overdubbing.” You hear a perfect theatrical mix in your headphones including you. That’s not easy on a straight, plain consumer computer. You can throw hardware at it (see the overdubbing tutorial) or you can throw software at it. Audacity can be built from individual software fragments (compiled) with ASIO support. ASIO is a software product that allows you to minimize the delays.

So you need to either be willing to pay for hardware or be a software programmer. Or have a rich uncle that gives you an audio workstation (DAW) already working. You hit one of the things that makes DAWs special.


Thanks Uncle Koz!