No sound through headphones with condenser mic [SOLVED]

I am able to record with a Shure or Beyer dynamic microphone and monitor the recording though headphones, although the latency is so great (estimate > 250 ms) that I cannot wear the headphones during recording. The microphone is plugged into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Generation USB interface.

But when I plug in a condensor microphone–a Rode NT1-A or Samson CO2–I hear nothing through the cans, while watching Audacity plot the waveform during recording.

I’m guessing the problem I decribe is in the configuration of Audacity as I cannot persuade myself to believe that condenser microphones are incompatible with Audacity. I have the following “Devices” selected in Preferences:

Audio host: MME
Recording device: Focusrite USB
Speakers (SoundMAX Integrated)
Channels: 1 (Mono)

Can anyone help me solve these two problems, latency and inability to monitor a recording with headphones when using a condenser microphone?

To monitor the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 without latency, plug your headphones into the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

How are your headphones connected to the computer? If they are plugged into the on-board sound card, then you need to select the on-board sound card as the playback device in the device toolbar. If they are USB headphones, then you need to select the USB headphones (may have a weird name that includes “USB”) as the playback device.

To avoid “playthrough latency” when using a USB mic, you need to have a mic that has a headphone socket built into the mic. If your USB mic does not have a headphone socket, then it is impossible to achieve zero latency, though reasonably low latency may be achievable if you use recording software that supports ASIO. (Audacity cannot be distributed with ASIO support due to licensing issues).

Thank you for the valuable help.

I had the cans plugged into a 1/8" mini-jack on the front panel on the PC, which does not show up on the list of playback devices. This setup works with use of a dynamic mic. Plugging the cans into the Focusrite worked, after I created a click track and recorded it with a mic to determine the latency then corrected the latency in Audacity. So both my issues are resolved.

I’m just curious why I cannot hear a condenser microphone through the headphones when plugged into the PC, since the Focusrite delivers phantom power and Audacity records the signal nicely.

Kind regards

You may need to enable that device in Windows Sound or configure in the Soundmax control panel.


Thanks. I followed all the suggestions. Everything works fine if I use a dynamic microphone. And I can monitor a condenser mic if plugged into the Focusrite USB interface.

Has anyone has been able to use a condenser microphone with Audacity and monitor the sound through headphones plugged into the PC?


Audacity v2.1.2
Win 7 Signature ed.
2.7 GHz CPU, 24 GB RAM, 6 TB HDD.

How are you monitoring the condenser mic through the built-in sound card? Audacity’s Software Playthrough? Have you tried “Listen to this device”? Right-click over the speaker icon by the system clock, then choose “Recording Devices”. Right-click over the Focusrite device then choose “Properties”. Then click the “Listen” tab. This will require you to enable the built-in audio device you wish to use.


When I plug my Sennheiser Pro headphones into the left front spkr out on the soundcard, my Asus P6T system notifies me that the device is incompatible; so I plug the headphones into the mini jack on the front panel, which understandably cancels the soundcard output to my SS speakers.

I followed your steps and am now able to monitor recording in Audacity, using a condenser microphone. Thanks for your patience and kind help.