I know there are a few software packages in use amongst our numbers, and although I generally go to Garageband as my first choice, sometimes it just doesn’t play nicely and I have to fall back on something else. One of those options is Audacity and I know folk around here have experience with it, so here is a place to offer tips, fix problems, or generally help each other to get more from it.
First question goes to me; I’ve converted a Youtube track and loaded it onto a new project in Audacity, and then I’ve added a new track to record my playing onto, however, although it sounds fine when playing along, when I go back and listen to it, my playing is consistently a fraction of a second behind the original. I swear I’m playing in time, but it’s insisting on making it sound like an echo.
What’s going on with that? Haven’t had that problem before.
Interface latency. This is normal. You should be able to visually see the offset of your playing from drumbeats in the original.
To correct this I delete a bit from the start of my instrument track to make things line up.
Is this normal for Audacity, or ‘normal’ normal? I’ve never had it with Garageband - itself playing silly buggers tonight: it claimed I couldn’t add a track for my playing because I’d already used my 1,000 tracks. 1,000 tracks! Ha!
Normal for Audacity. Other DAWs handle this better.
For Mac users of Audacity: if you intend to update to the latest OS, be aware that there are issues with recording in Audacity that have to do with how permissions are handled in the new OS. We (read: I) are waiting for Audacity to release an update before installing the new OS.
There is probably a way to tweak this somewhere in Audacity but I never saw it and just manually corrected.
I’ve moved on to Reaper. It’s a lot more capable.
In “Preferences:Devices”, there is a way to set a buffer length (in ms) and a latency compensation (in (negative) ms). I have NO experience playing around with these settings, but if you note down the default values, you could experiment a little here to see if changing these values helps!?!
That sounds like it would sort the problem. Kind of a shame that the problem exists. Odd that I don’t hear/see it as I’m playing. The good thing is that I knew instantly that it wasn’t my playing - that’s a different bag of problems.
It is probably hardware related (how powerful your processor is) as well as what else is going on in your computer (where the processor needs to allocate time and perhaps hard disk access).
There’s a link to a YouTube video in a post about Audacity, where someone explains this problem, and his solution: Actually, I’ll just post the link:
Ahh cool, thanks. So it takes a fixed value in the preferences. Should be fine though as most of the latency will be constant.
Rather than insert silence like he does, I find it easier to line up the cursor and measure the exact offset between the beat and my track, and just delete that offset from my track. YMMV.
I had another look at it with the tracking zoomed in so I could see the discrepancy. I had to cut out a small section of my track an pull it back to line up with the beat on the backing track. It didn’t take more than a minute once I’d figured out how to do it.
I find Audacity’s interface less than intuitive or clear, but I guess that’s often the case until you become more familiar with software.
Here’s a YouTube video that really helped me with latency in Audacity. This guy has quite a few Audacity videos and they’re all helpful.