Overdubbing Problem

Hello all,

I’m a music teacher and I’ve used Audacity for years now to create recordings. I have a jazz improv class that I use backing tracks to import and then overdub them playing the head of a tune, improvise, etc. and turn it in. It’s worked forever, however, this year, I’ve run into a new problem as I got a new work computer. I’ve seen other threads on my problem, but I have not figured out a solution or a work around and I’m baffled… Here it is…

Open up the backing track, then record myself playing over the backing track… when you play it back, the overdubbed track is cutting out all over the place. The backing track is fine. I have figured out to a point (at least I think) that it’s like overloaded to a certain point with signal and anything beyond that just doesn’t get recorded. I’ve turned the gain on the backing track all the way down and then it will record, but then the backing track very soft and not ideal to hear. It’s like Audacity is adding the signal of the backing track and the overdubbed track together. Anything in the overdubbed track that goes over the limit gets cut. For it to record right, I basically have to turn the gain of the backing track to 0.

There are other ways and programs that kids can learn to record themselves, yes, but all students have access to this tech and Audacity is a free program that everyone has installed on their computers. (I’m in a pretty poor, inner-city school) It has brought production to a halt that I can’t get them to make their recordings to turn things in.

Any input is welcomed out there and I hope this makes sense.


Also, Windows 10, Audacity 3.0.3 - thanks

Generally when you overload the sound system, it flat-tops, clips, buzzes, and distorts. Cutting out is very unusual.

Audacity 3.0.3 is in the shadow zone of versions, and Audacity 3 versions in general have had some odd problems. Are you allowed to change the version? Does it still do that if you roll back to Audacity 2.4.2?


Current release is 3.1.0.


Current release is 3.1.2.
The latest release versions can be found on the Audacity website: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/


I was going by the manual found here.


Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 11.50.33 AM.png

Did you see this announcement? https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/rethinking-the-manual/63359/1

Did you see this announcement? viewtopic.php?f=46&t=121645

Writing that down.


Back to overdubbing.

I’ve read that many multiple times and even used my favorite scenario technique: If somebody paid me a lot of money how would I cause this problem intentionally?

You may have two relatively common problems at once. Multiple problems can send you screaming into the night.

Set up for overdubbing as you have been. Set the backing track for normal listening volume, but don’t perform anything. Stay silent. Just make a recording while listening to the backing track. About 30 seconds should do it.


You should have two tracks or maybe two sets of stereo tracks, one above the other. The backing track on top and the fresh recording on the bottom. Your new recording track should be flat. I’m betting it’s not.

Select SOLO to the left of the the new track. Play it. I bet you have a copy of the backing track, not the silence which was your actual performance.