Vocals too faint...

Hello, I just downloaded the 2.0.0 on an Acer Aspire 5251-1513 laptop that has Windows 7 Home Premium. It only has the 2-GB memory instead of the recommended 4. I’m trying to record my own vocals over a song that I had managed to remove most of the lead vocals from, and I’m using the laptop’s internal mic, because that’s all I’ve got right now. I have the mic turned almost all the way up on the Audacity’s tool bar and turned up high in the computer’s sound control panel–but the vocals are drowned out. I’ve tried different sample rates, panning it in different directions, and all kinds of other adjustments but I still can’t get the vocals loud enough. Do I need to buy a USB mic? I hope that’s all I need because I can’t afford another laptop right now! Any help would sure be appreciated…:slight_smile:


You’re using the Overdubbing/Multitrack instructions, right? That gives you a music track and a separate voice track. You should be able to apply Effect > Amplify or one of the compressors to get your voice up loud enough. The other possibility, if you boosted your voice as far as you can, is to apply Effect > Amplify to the music track and bring it down until you get a pleasant mix.

One of the problems with doing what you’re doing is the music bed has been processed and compressed and produced to within an inch of its life to make it as loud and penetrating as possible. You, on the other hand have an open, clear, completely unprocessed voice trying to compete with that.

You might be able to use the compressor tools.


This may make your voice sound a little funny, but it should also get much louder and denser and more able to compete with the music.


I’m reminded to ask if you’re using headphones. That’s required with vocal overdubbing. If you’re performing to speakers, you will never separate the music and the voice to change the mix. Koz

I’ve got an Aspire 5735. The built in microphone and the microphone input are both crap (very noisy low quality audio).
USB microphones have the advantage that they bypass the computer sound card, so they can provide a cost effective way to achieve reasonable sound quality.

One limitation with inexpensive USB microphones is that often they do not provide a headphone socket. If you use the laptop headphone socket then it is not possible to monitor the microphone input while recording (other than with a noticeable delay). It is still possible to listen to other tracks while recording, just not the “live” microphone. This may or may not be a problem depending on what you are doing. In many cases it is not necessary to monitor the “live” microphone signal. If that’s a limitation that you can live with then even a $15 USB desktop mic is likely to be a lot better than the built in mic.

As Koz wrote, you will need to listen through headphones. I’d recommend using “normal” headphones rather than USB headphones as USB can have trouble trying to keep up with recording and playing at the same time, especially if the computer is a bit under spec for the operating system.

Don’t expect dazzling multi-track recording on an under spec machine. You may need to do some tweaking to get Win 7 to run well enough with only 2 GB of RAM.

The restriction is not that you can’t hear the backing tracks and beats, you can hear those just fine and Audacity has provision to eliminate the production delays, but you won’t be able to hear yourself in real time. Those delays are burned into the hardware. This is where you sing into the mic with one headphone on your ear and a cupped hand on the other to hear yourself.


That particular shot is funny/theatrical for a comedy TV show, but the effect is real. You really can do that and funnel your voice up to your ear to make it easier to hit pitch and rhythm.

That’s what we mean by the process is more awkward without the right hardware.


This is all you need to do a perfect overdubbing sound-on-sound with the right USB microphone.


Note the headphones are plugged into the microphone, not the computer. The microphone is doing all the processing and mixing independent of what the computer is doing.

This will let you hear yourself with the correct mix in your headphones without the cupped hand and half-headphone thing.

This is just one example, other microphones and mixer can do this trick.


Wow, thank you! Just now got on here and saw this…A lot of great advice here–I’ll try doing all these things and see what happens. I am using these cheap earbud things–might need to get some better sort of headphones. But Koz, how much does THAT mic cost, the one you were showing me? Because I totally agree that these Acer internal mics are crap!

Samson GM1U USB G-Track microphone have a list price of $149 US but are likely to be available for less than that.