What causes delay in recording on Audacity

Hi All,

I’m on a Mac running 10.14.4 and Audacity 2.3.2.

This question is NOT about latency. The issue is that when I click “Record”, Audacity does not start recording for 7 seconds or so. If I have the preference, “Software playthrough of input” checked, the cursor starts moving on the record window once I click “Record”, but no signal is recorded (no wave form appears) until 7 seconds have passed. If I do not have that preference checked, the cursor does not move at all for 7 seconds after I click “Record”. At 7 seconds, it starts recording with wave forms appearing.

When I search on this subject, I get lots of posts about latency, but nothing on this delay in the start of recording.

Does anyone know what is causing this and how to fix it? I don’t remember such a delay in my previous work on Audacity.

Many Thanks,


Do you record the start of the show that happened seven seconds ago, or does it record in sorta-real time and just cuts off seven seconds of show? Super good to know that.

Desktop > Go (top of page) > Utility Monitor.

That should put an analysis window up. See if any service, device or app goes nuts when you press record.

Or see if anything is going nuts now. My machine became sluggish and acted oddly and it turned out that an Adobe Service was taking 80% of my machine.

Do you use cloud services? That’s not recommended. Audacity doesn’t play well with real time internet connections—and iCloud may not always ask.


Thanks Koz. I’m assuming you mean Activity Monitor. And no, nothing unusual is happening to hog resources of the HD. Nothing changes on the Activity Monitor when I click “Record”. And to answer your question, the first 7 seconds are just not recorded and then it picks up in real time recording from the 7th second onward. I’m guessing this isn’t happening to others. It used to not happen to me! :slight_smile:

So there’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t work.

This is where you start digging out details. Which machine is it? I’m typing on a 2016 Mac Mini. I got the SSD, did you?

It is written somewhere important that we’re supposed to ask you if you’ve restarted your machine. I rarely Restart. Apple > Shut Down > Shut Down. Watch for a spinning daisy on the screen. How long does it spin? Start (which will change depending on your machine). If it’s older than one OS version, does it chong?

If it’s a laptop, the next thing I’m going to ask is if you can record the built-in microphone.

What are you trying to record? What’s the show?

I don’t remember such a delay in my previous work on Audacity

That’s the trigger phrase for filling up your drive. It just started doing this for No Apparent Reason.

Yes, I meant Activity Monitor.


Check that “Sound Activated Recording” is NOT enabled. (The “Sound Activated Recording” checkbox NOT ticked. See: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/transport_menu_transport_options.html)

Thanks to you both. It’s a brand new (few months old) Macbook Air. I don’t think it is SSD, but I don’t know how to check that. And yes, this is an ongoing problem for weeks now. So I’ve restarted many times. And yes, I’ve recorded with the built-in mics many times, including today.

This happens no matter what I record. But in general we record classes with it. I’ve got 86 gigs left on the hard drive. We keep hardly anything on these laptops, so that is not the issue either

And Steve, “Sound Activated Recording” is NOT enabled.

Any more help would be appreciated. :slight_smile:

Also, I should add that this happens on both of our laptops and has been happening for weeks, so it’s not limited to one. And it happens on a desktop iMac I have as well, running an older version of Audacity. That’s why I thought it was some preference that I couldn’t find.

But they’re all on Catalina 10.15.x?

Apple (upper left) > About This Mac.

I need to shift machines for a second.


No, everything is on Mojave.

Apple (Upper left) > About This Mac > System Report > Storage.


Ah, yes. It is SSD
Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 6.27.16 PM.png

I’ve recorded with the built-in mics many times

Just to use all the English words. You record using the built-in microphone and get the seven second delay.

everything is on Mojave.

Well, that narrows it right down to… …nothing I can think of.

First I’ve heard of a delay that long. As you discovered, most timing problems revolve around how long it takes Audacity to put stuff on the drive and take it off again, or digitize sound and then un-digitize it. Latencies. How many thousandth’s of a second. Not how many seconds.



I’m out. Even wacky conspiracy theories and good diagnostic techniques don’t cover this problem.

This is a forum. We can wait for someone who has similar problems.


Who are “we” that you are referring to?
Do you personally own these computers or do they belong to an organization?

What we need to try to figure out is, that out of many tens of thousands of Mac computers running Audacity, what is different about your computers?

Koz, I’m not sure what you are saying here:

“Just to use all the English words. You record using the built-in microphone and get the seven second delay.”

But I get you are out of ideas on this. Thanks for trying!

Steve, I manage a team of people who record classes on these laptops. I also manage the laptops. They belong to the school I work for. And yes, that is the question: why is this happening on these computers? It boggles my mind that it’s happening on BOTH laptops and my desk iMac, and you guys have no familiarity with this phenomenon. And I’ve looked at everything that makes sense to look at in Preferences with no leads. Maybe it IS time for conspiracy theories. :slight_smile:

Please let me know if you come up with any ideas.

Are these machines on any kind of network?

Do you have any kind of anti-virus or other security related apps installed?

No, they are not on a network. And no security apps or anti-virals on them.

I’m going to trash the app and reinstall and see if that fixes anything.

Do you get a 7 second delay when recording with the built-in laptop mic?

Yes, the delay happens regardless of whether I use the built-in mic or an audio interface.

However, I think I may know what’s up. I just reinstalled Audacity on the machine running OS 10.14.4, but with Audacity 2.3.3. That solved the problem on that: 7 second delay no more. Which is excellent!

But trashing the old version of Audacity and installing version 2.3.3 on the laptop running OS 10.14.6 does not solve the problem. Same old 7 second delay, even after restarting.

This seems to indicate that a) the problem was with Audacity 2.3.2 on OS 10.14.4 (no blame, just reporting) and b) the improvements created with version 2.3.3 are undone (at least in regard to this issue) with OS 10.14.6. Does that make sense?

But it sounds like you guys haven’t gotten this reported by anyone else though, right?

“Just to use all the English words. You record using the built-in microphone and get the seven second delay.”

You didn’t say the built-in microphone experienced the delay. You just said you recorded with it. We learn not to put words in the poster’s mouth.

haven’t gotten this reported by anyone else though, right?

No. You’re the first time.

There are no simple processes in Audacity which can cause this. It’s not a renegade tool or something activating at the wrong time. It’s so strange I can’t think of a good test. Do you know what a Venn Diagram is? A series of circles representing different conditions of a problem. The solution is where all the circles overlap. You have no overlap.

There are ways to troubleshoot problems like this, but they’re not very elegant. Change conditions or settings until Something Happens. The “Something” can be lessening the problem, solving it, or making it worse. Any change is good and don’t pre-judge the tests. Run the machine at somebody’s house. Turn off the network under System Preferences. Run a machine on battery power and then again plugged into the wall power.

Overload the machine. Run many different apps and have them all on at once. Does the problem get worse? Any change?

So that’s the idea. You said (I think) you only use a tiny number of apps on these machines. What are they?