USB mic lag regardless of what I put as latency comp

I am using Mac OS Catalina 10.15.7 and Audacity 2.4.2. The lag is a good second behind. I generated rhythm, read the length, put the millisecond I saw into the latency compensation and…NOTHING. It is of note that when switching to my headset’s microphone it works… So can someone please help me get my latency under control so I can get to monitoring my recordings.

There’s two latencies.

Recording Latency is when you sing (for example) to your backing track and the new, fresh recording comes out in perfect alignment with the backing track. That’s the one you set in Devices > Latency.

The second is Machine Latency. That’s the amount of time the machine takes to get your voice between your lips and your ears. That one doesn’t change.

The only way to get Machine Latency to vanish is change the machine (as you found). Traditionally, you plug your wired headphones into a device such as a USB microphone with headphone support.

Or an interface such as the Behringer UM-2.

Note that it’s nearly impossible to get a working headphone feed from the computer which pretty much lets wireless headphones out of the game.

It’s possible to recompile the Audacity program with ASIO support and reduce the voice echo/delay that way. It doesn’t go to zero, but it goes so far down that most people can work with it. When was the last time you compiled a computer program?


when switching to my headset’s microphone it works

Without knowing model numbers, I’m guessing the headset is giving you your voice from a headset live mix and not Audacity sound management. That falls into the category of getting your voice from the device, not the computer.


I should also say that everything was fine when using twisted wave software. The monitoring had no lag with my voice. So something in that particular software allowed me to record with my at2020. I just kept being not to buy the 80 dollar product when the trial was up as Audcaity is free and records the same quality…

The buffer length affects the actual recording-input latency. (There is also a playback-output buffer and I don’t know how to adjust that.)

Latency compensation simply compensates after recording so you can exactly align with the backing track in the mix.

…Sometimes you can get the latency down to an acceptable/unnoticeable amount and sometimes it takes a lot of tweaking.

The best solution is an interface (or other hardware setup) with direct-hardware zero-latency monitoring, where the monitoring signal doesn’t go through the computer.

So something in that particular software allowed me to record with my at2020.

ASIO support by any chance? ASIO supplies a “shortcut” sound pathway that avoids the long, slow trip through the computer processing. ASIO is also pay-to-play software.

See: “80 dollar product”


Appreciate all the help. While I found no answer on fixing the Audacity issue, I’m now using GarageBand to monitor in the background as I record in Audacity. It works swimmingly! Yes, I said the word swimmingly. Sue me.