Progressive Latency?

I’m having issues when I try to record multiple tracks. For example, I’ll record a rhythm guitar track and then record a lead track over it. When I play both tracks together, it starts out fine, but one track will start getting slightly off beat with the other, and this timing issue will grow as the tracks play on. I don’t know how to fix this; if I reposition one track, it might solve the latency problem at the end, but it will put the beginng off kilter.

I originally thought that maybe I just have a horrible sense of timing and was getting off of the rhythm while playing the lead, but I’ve run a lot of tests and that’s definitely not the issue.

For the record (no pun intended), I’m just using a cheap computer mic straight into the computer mic jack. I realize this is somewhat lame, but would it be causing the progressive latency?

Any help would be HUGELY appreciated.

<<<I realize this is somewhat lame, but would it be causing the progressive latency?>>>

It’s possible. Some cheap sound cards digitize sound with different electronics than they play back. If, for example, you think you recorded a show at 44100/16 bit and the sound card was really running at 44005, that would give you a substantial error when you played the track back with electronics that were running at 44100–and further, the problem would accumulate the longer the show. When you play back the rhythm track to sing to, it’s actually running at the wrong speed from when you recorded it.

This is when we start to ask you what kind of computer you have. You can shortcut this Q and A by posting in the forum appropriate to your version of Audacity and computer.


From what I’ve gathered posting here, some sound cards work better when you record at the 48000 Hz sample rate. I think they run at that rate natively in many cases.