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.