using audactiy for group recording in this time of lockdown

Hi - Since my friends and I can’t get together to play I was thinking using audactity to start a group session by laying down a track and sending it to friends and having the dub. then mixing it all. The data folder for a track is too big for an email. So I could export to mp3 and send that around. any other ideas you might have?

Josh (lower left) sent a guide track around and the other three sung to it. Note the woman in the lower right only has one headphone on. That’s so she can listen to herself with the free ear.

They shoveled all the finished sound tracks to Josh for mixing.

The individual performance doesn’t have to have overdubbing setup or anything complicated. You can listen to the guide track on your phone (with headphones) and straight, plain record in Audacity.

If you do have it together to set up Overdubbing, that works, too. That’s probably what upper left is doing since he’s wearing both headphones.

Investigate ways to send WAV files around. Cloud Transmission, File Transfer Services? MP3 burns in sound distortion. It gets worse as you go and you can’t stop it.


Since everybody is likely to be recording on Home Computers, the sampling rate may wander a bit, but that’s easily solved with Effect > Change > Speed when you edit.

There are several different ways to do sound sync. The movie people do it with that clapboard thing.

Another way is for you to put clicks on the front and back of the guide track. Each performer holds their headphones up to the microphone for each click. You should only have to do this once.

Or you can wing it.

Fair warning that if you get both ends of the song perfect and the middle doesn’t match, then that recorder may not be the best computer for this job. That’s also a possible problem if you try to mix it live on the internet. Nobody guarantees transition time from one city to the other. It’s longer and sloppier than you think.


Pop back in and tell us how you did it and how it went.

This is a forum, not a help desk. Users helping each other. Your report is a Big Deal.

Also note that everybody is expecting the internet service to lag a bit as everybody with a pulse suddenly tries to work from home. All the shortcuts that internet service providers pull will suddenly show up.


I’m writing this as I think of things. I’ve seen sound sync done where the guide track is you saying , “One, Two, Three, Four, Clap.” and the performer either says that in time to your voice, or actually claps at the right time.

Again, you should only need the end clap once, to find out how far off each soundcard is.


Hello, I’m a Science Professor who leads our college Jazz Septet. (I am not a music major, but have been playing for decades.)

My students and I are planning to record separate tracks from home, one after another, to create a CD in this time of the virus. We plan to use Audacity to put everything together. I am new to Audacity, so I will apologize in advance for my simple question.

I could use some help creating our Reference Track. Our general plan is to:

  1. Record a song while playing the song from the interned. (Check! That was easy.)

  2. Add a click track.

  3. Have the drummer play along with recording.

  4. Add Bass and guitar to click and drum part without the original recording…

I need help adding a click track to an original recording (1) to (2). How do I match the speed, BPM and line up the timing between tracks?


It might be easiest to skip step 2, and let everyone use the song from the Internet as the guide track.


Thanks for the reply.

We would like to do the song in a different key than on the recording. We are also not trying to mimic the recording, but primarily use it as a guide until we get the drum line down. Also, I think we will need the guide track to count off to the start of the song.

I have a friend who is drummer and who has done some studio work, suggests that we:
(1) Start with a click track.
(2) Record the entire drum part from beginning to end, just counting every chorus, etc.
(3) Then add the other tracks.

I am not a drummer, but I am worried that if it were me, I would find it REALLY hard to count every chorus all by myself for multiple choruses without an error, without any guide track. I am trying to use the original recording to allow us to create the first tracks, then stop using it.

Robert B.

That’s a reasonable suggestion, but that’s not what you have done.

If you can work out the tempo of the song, then you (or your drummer) can easily create a click track (Rhythm Track - Audacity Manual).
If your drummer knows the song reasonably well and can keep a steady tempo, they may not even need a click track (depends on the drummer).

Do you know how to count the tempo?