Tracks bleeding into new tracks

This topic seems to come up occasionally, but there’s nothing on the forum that solves my particular problem.

I have a Dell N5110 with an IDT High Definition Sound Card. Windows 7.

I’m using a microphone in the line in jack and headphone (NOT USB) in the headphone jack. So both mic and headphones are plugged directly into the sound card through mini jacks on the laptop.

The drivers are up to date. The device is working properly.
The Audacity settings look fine. Input is Microphone/Line In and output is Speakers / Headphones IDT.
Under Preferences; Recording I have Overdub checked because that’s the only way to hear the previous tracks while recording new ones.

My guess is that this can’t be solved with this configuration/ computer, that it has something to do with the sound card and I just need to use a different computer to record music, but before I give up I thought I’d put it out here. Namely because I do not have another computer :slight_smile:

I may try to use USB headphones and see if that solves it, but I’m broke and I’ve know idea how much those cost.

Just trying to get a clear picture of what is happening: Which track is bleeding into which track, and how can you tell that it is doing that?

If I record multiple tracks, every track prior to the track I’m recording will bleed into the new track at a very low volume. So I record drums first. Then when I record guitar on a new track, you can faintly hear the drum track bleeding in. Then if I record a third, the first 2 tracks will both bleed into the new one.

Now, if it’s muted I don’t think it bleeds in, so it’s only the tracks that I need to listen to that are appearing on the new track.

Also, I’m recording in Mono.

There are multiple versions of this same post and we have no idea where the bleed is coming from. I wonder if we do a survey it will turn out everybody’s using one particular soundcard. Koz

If you play back the guitar track after recording it and have the Solo button pressed on only the guitar track, do you hear the drum track?

Please check that - it may be important.

It would be nice if we could rule out acoustic spill from the headphones into the microphone.
Try recording some drums, then turn down the playback volume quite low, and place the headphone in a box, under a cushion, under a pile of coats, as far from the microphone as possible (you get the idea - we’re trying to prevent any possibility of sound spilling over from the headphones into the microphone). Now record some guitar (it will be out of time with the drums, but this is just a test). Now play back the guitar track with its Solo button pressed. Is there any bleed through?

Yes. If the guitar is soloed you hear the drum track bleeding in faintly. And if more tracks are recorded you’ll hear both guitar and drum tracks in those tracks, even if they’re soloed.

If the drum track is muted it does not bleed in. I just tested it. I have 1 drum track and 2 guitar tracks. I had the headphones on and the microphone in my hand recording nothing in particular. Without the tracks muted, they all appeared on the new track. Then I muted them one at a time while recording until all were muted, and if you listen to the new track you can hear each previous track being muted until there was no bleed at all with all tracks muted. On the same note, it does not seem to be the headphones. The level of bleeding is consistent even with the microphone in the hallway and the headphones under a pillow.

I’m really thinking that it’s the sound card. This is the factory installed sound card for a low budget laptop that is really not meant for this kind of music recording. Still, Audacity worked great on my old Dell laptop which was older and had weaker hardware.

I’m going to buy a USB headset today to change the playback output device (if I can find one for cheap). The input and output jacks are right next to each other, and I know that it shouldn’t effect anything, but who knows. I’ll see if that helps. Assuming that it doesn’t, any other ideas?

To be clear I did the same test with muting the tracks when the microphone was in the hall/ headphones under pillow, and had exactly the same result.

We installed hundreds of soundcards over the years and we did find one, I think Blaster, that was a complete waste of copper and fiberglass. It was a middle model between two other cards that seemed to work ok, but this one cause no end of troubles until I identified it and we did a company-wide sweep to trash them all.

So it does happen.

Our joke was it was designed by the vacation relief guy who was only there for the summer.


Some progress. It is related to the headphones.

I decided that I could test the headphone/output hypothesis without spending cash on USB headphones by simply putting the microphone in the next room and recording without headphones plugged in, with the output coming from the computers built in speakers. No bleed at all.

So yes, it has to do with the headphone jack and the sound card.

I’m going to try USB headphones and see what happens.

So for what its worth, the USB headphones have solved the issue.

The problem seems to be the sound card, when both mini jacks are being used. That is, when the headphones and microphone are plugged directly into this sound card there will be bleeding from the first track to the new track. Using a USB headset solved it. No bleed.

I’m not sure if using a USB mic and my regular headphones would have had the same result. I think as long as the input and output aren’t both directly plugged into the sound card it’ll be fine.


There is one piece we don’t know. What, exactly is the microphone? You need a “computer microphone” to plug into the Mic-In jack and they typically don’t have very long cords.

They tend not to be the kind where you can wander in the next room. Long cord microphones tend to be the broadcast type and take a special soundcard or a mixer.


I am having the same issue and every track that bleeds in to the next degrades the quality more and more. I am not using a microphone or headphones at all. Using studio monitors. I’m running a Behringer mixer through a scarlet Focusrite to my Surface Pro3.
I imported a drum track from a Hydrogen WAV file for my first track and added several more guitar and keyboard tracks.

Try turning down the gain sliders

on all the tracks.
Then increase them one at a time when the mix is playing in Audacity.

It helped to turn the DAW track gain down but when I record any additional tracks, previous tracks are recorded into the new track even if I give no input for the new track (guitar, keyboard, etc.). I downloaded another DAW to see what would happen. Same thing. I believe, either I have a compatibility issue between my mixer and interface, or I have an incorrect setting somewhere.

It seems the only way I can record in DAW preferences is using the scarlet interface as the microphone and my mixer as the output (speakers).

However with my WIN10 playback and recording preferences I must have the mixer as recording interface AND the mixer as output (speakers). any other combination results in the input not being recognize.

I’ve tried using the Scarlet or the mixer independently with no luck, and I know the Scarlet should work without the mixer.

Omg, the same thing is happening to me! Except a little different.

The sound bleed only happens when I plug in headphones (which is how I prefer to record) in any way, such as, directly into the soundcard jack behind the computer, the jack in front of the computer and the jack on one of the speakers that’s connected to the back of the computer.

I know it has to be a configuration thing because my guitar amp is in an entirely different room when recording, so there’s NO way that it could hear the playback being played through my headphones.