Muting tracks in Audacity

Jeff wants to know how to mute previously recorded tracks in Audacity…

Kenny, how do record voice to a new track without the previously recorded music backing track that you have to hear , without it recording with the voice on to the new track. thanks mate. i would love to get an upgraded version of this program with more features, and good reverb and eg i have been using a Boss BR1600 Recording Studio, but compared to computor editing it is painfully slow and hard to get a good mix

Hi Jeff

This depends how you have it set up on your PC, but generally you can mute playback by opening up your computer’s volume control panel and turn on the “mute” checkbox for your playback.

Another way is to turn off  ‘Software Playthrough’ in the Audacity preferences.

Without a doubt, editing on a computer is always going to be much easier than editing on a hardware based device. But generally hardware devices like the Boss recorder you mention are very robust and reliable and produce excellent quality results so I’m not sure why the mix you are getting isn’t good on the Boss.

The great thing about Audacity is that it’s free and it’s a full version – not a lite or scaled down version. There are lots of plugins available for Audacity so it may be worth downloading and installing some. GVerb is particularly popular if you’re looking for a good reverb.  You should also take a look at some of the VST plugins too. Take a look at for links to plugins.

Another reverb that is popular is called Ambience (

Cursor problems in Audacity

This is a first – I haven’t heard of anyone having a problem with the cursor while using Audacity. My guess is that it’s probably a Windows problem than an Audacity problem though…

Dear Kenny,
Of course my problem Is uncommon rather than common. I went quite a ways back in the blog and found nothing like this. Maybe it’s a Windows 7 problem as someone suggested, but: After I’ve recorded and I want to take a little off the front and the back of the piece, my cursor barely works. I have to try and try and try and often give up leaving too long a lead in and out. Have you any ideas?
Thank you for writing these letters,

Hi Canary

Yes, if your cursor isn’t working that definitely sounds like a Windows problem.

You’ll probably find though that it’s not entirely Windows that’s the problem – it will most probably be the way Windows 7, Audacity, and your soundcard are interacting with each other.

These problems are the most difficult to troubleshoot because it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack…is it Windows 7?…is it Audacity?…is it your soundcard?…is it drivers for Windows 7, Audacity or your soundcard?…

The problem compounds when all these components work fine…they just don’t work fine together!

Try running Audacity on another PC and see what happens. If you still get the same problem then look at what’s common to both PC’s (i.e. programs running, operating system, soundcard, ram, processor type etc) and that may indicate what’s causing the problem.

If it works fine on another PC, do the opposite i.e. see what’s different on the other PC (does it have different types of programs running, different operating system, soundcard, ram, processor type etc).

This is one of those unfortunate issues which you really have to be sitting in front of the offending PC to see how it is behaving in order to properly troubleshoot it so sorry I don’t seem to be of much help here on this one!

Audacity timing out of sync

Ah yes, a common thread when it comes to using Audacity is this question!

Hi Kenny – how are ya?

Listen, I`ve got a question – maybe you can help me?  When I use a recording program (any software) here`s what I`ll do:

1.I play a backing track/ karaoke song.

2.Record my singing using a new track.

3.Then when I want to mix the final song the singing and music track are not in the same tempo – the singing seems to `run too fast `for the karaoke-track.

Therefore the singing runs out way before the music stops!!??

I don`t know if you know what I mean, but I sure hope you can help me!

Thanks a lot Kenny!


The timing lag you are experiencing is commonly known as “latency” and can be a problem in most audio recording software programs, not just Audacity.

Firstly, the latency problem is unlikely to be the program itself but rather a problem with the way your PC is running the program.

Finding the cause of latency can sometimes be like looking for a needle in a haystack but there are a couple of usual culprits which you should check on first.

1. Make sure you have plenty of RAM and as few other programs running on your PC at the same time you are recording – if your PC is running slow, it will affect the timing.

2. Adjusting the latency correction in Audacity may solve the problem. You’ll find it near the bottom at Edit Preferences Audio I/O

3. Check both tracks have the same sample rate (find it at Edit Preferences Quality tab).

4. Change the default sample rate to 48000 – this would appear to be a sample rate that works better than any other rate (although it does depend on your PC configuration and soundcard so don’t be scared to experiment with other sample rates – the main thing as that you keep all tracks the SAME sample rate). Also make sure the high quality sample converter is also on high quality sync.

5. To improve sync, in Preferences Audio I/O make sure you have “Play other tracks while recording new one“ selected.

Audacity tries to correct any delay between playback and recording automatically but this doesn’t yet work on all computers.

Also if it is a single global timing problem you are experiencing (i.e. the timing is out by the exact same amount throughout the whole track) then you can zoom in and use the Time Shift tool to drag it to the correct location.

Another sound problem with Audacity

Ah, it looks like a few other people are having some issues with sound in Audacity, depending on their particular PC setup.

My guess is Windows 7 may be causing a lot of these issues, but in saying that, I have Audacity working perfectly on a Windows 7 laptop.

So my guess is that the problem is not due to Audacity but rather each individuals particular PC configuration. If you’re one of the people having problems, it’s most probably that you have some other audio program(s) installed on your PC which has “hijacked” your PC’s default settings (and when Audacity installs it will assume that your PC still has all its default sound settings in…

I have been through the tutorial but I can’t seem to find an option for recording a vocal whilst listening to an imported MP3 backing track. I can’t seem to record whilst listening to the backing track only in silence. This is making it very difficult to align tracks correctly and to speed up or slow down my vocal to the track. Any suggestions.
Many thanks

Hi Dean

To hear the backing track playing while you are recording your vocal go to “Edit Preferences” and select the Audio I/O tab (if your microphone is plugged in and configured correctly you won’t have to make any changes under “Recording”).

Check to make sure “Play other tracks while recording new one” and “Do not modify audio device settings” are both selected.

If you put on your headphones and start recording you should hear the mp3 backing track music play…

Volume problems with Audacity

Hello kenny,

I downloaded audacity but cant get any volume with the program.

Can u advise as I cant buy any mp3s until I can alter them to my liking…



Hi Jim

Sounds like you haven’t configured Audacity with your PC’s sound card so your sound card isn’t playing the audio that Audacity is sending it.

There are a couple of things you could try:

Solution 1.
Check that you’ve got Audacity looking at the correct audio device by going to “Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O”

Solution 2.
Open up your Windows “Control Panel” in Classic view and click on “Sounds and Audio Devices”.

Select the “Sounds” tab and just check that system sound events will play.

If they do, then click on the “Audio” tab and check what you have selected for “Sound Playback” and “Sound Recording”.

Finally, open up Audacity and go to “Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O” and set the to the same…

Hope this helps…