Newest version of Audacity. Running on windows 7. Latency problem.

I am using the latest version of audacity. This is my setup. I have a mixer hooked up to my PC through the line in. I have a condenser mic hooked into the mixer. When I run audacity open my backing track and then I open a new stereo track which will be my vocals. When I record without hearing it through the headphones hooked into the PC it records fine. When I open the pass through option to hear me singing it’s delayed with the track. I try to adjust the latency settings. When I do the backing track will not play but will record the microphone. What do I do to get this to work so I can record and hear myself through the headphones?

Routing sound through the computer via software is not instant, it always takes a bit of time, which is heard as a delay/echo.
To get (virtually) instant playback, the sound has to be routed through hardware (wired connections), which requires using hardware that has a wired connection from the input to the output.

How is the mixer connected to the computer?
What kind of mixer?
Where are your headphones plugged in?

Ideally, plug your headphones into the mixer and also plug your soundcard-output into the mixer so you can hear the backing-track. (There will still be latency in the backing track, but you won’t notice it when you record and it can be compensated for when you mix.)

Sometimes you can get the latency down to an acceptable level, but it depends on the speed of your computer and whatever your computer is doing in the background.

Better audio interfaces and professional audio applications support [u]ASIO driver[/u] which are designed for low-latency. But, Audacity doesn’t support ASIO and neither does your consumer soundcard. (There is a universal ASIO driver called ASIO4ALL that will allow regular soundcards to work with ASIO software, but it requires an ASIO application and it’s not true ASIO.) But, even with ASIO some people struggle to get acceptable latency.

[u]Free online book[/u] about minimizing latency if you want to dig into it.

Many audio interfaces also offer zero-latency direct-hardware monitoring. There are also some USB “podcast” microphones that have a built-in headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring.

the mixer is connected to the computer via the line out on the mixer. its a jamming pro mixer. I am using rca jacks to a 3.5mm. it is going into the line in on the back of the pc. the headphones are connected to the headphone jack on the front of the pc.

I just want a way to have the split track. the backing music and my vocals and hear myself sing. I am playing the backing track that I ripped to the computer from a karaoke cd

This overdubbing dance only works with a USB or digital connection to the computer. Analog or RCA cables and Line-In will always have an echo on your real life voice.

There are two latencies. Recording Latency in Audacity is where you adjust your voice and the backing track so they line up perfectly when you record.

The other one, Machine Latency, you’re stuck with.

That’s why all three of the examples in the overdubbing tutorial are USB devices and have the headphones plugged into the device or interface, not the computer.

Newer devices call this Zero Latency Monitoring.

So you’re stuck with Simple Overdubbing where you don’t hear yourself until you play it back.

If you’re an experienced programmer, you can choose to recompile the Audacity program with ASIO software to limit Machine Latency echo.