Tutorial - Recording Multi-track Overdubs
This set of tutorials describes known, good, working methods of creating a multiple sound track overdubbing session in Audacity. That is, you record one track and then play it and add a second track against it -- drums, guitar, voice; repeat as needed. You will be able to hear a mix of your live recording and the previous tracks simultaneously in your headphones (essential for overdubbing).
Generally, purpose-built hardware is needed to hear your live recording without unacceptable playthrough latency - without that hardware you will hear what you are recording too late. Failing that, a method for overdubbing using your computer's on-board soundcard is given too.
This tutorial is a generalized tutorial on multi-track overdubbing.
For specific cases of working with different hardware setups please see below.
Overdubbing with specialist hardware
The following tutorials are all to be found in the Audacity Wiki. They explain the creation of multi-track overdubs using three different specialist hardware configurations.
- A USB microphone pre-amp with one XLR microphone input and a mini-jack headphone socket.
- A stereo, line level, USB external soundcard (2-channel USB/Audio Interface).
- A USB microphone.
All three have been hands-on tested. They can be made to work on Linux®, Mac®, and Windows®.
The one "magic" feature of all three devices is the ability to mix your live voice with the computer's rhythm track so you can hear the mixed musical performance and that can only happen if the rhythm track is available.
Overdubbing using your computer's on-board soundcard
This is designed to help if your equipment does not have hardware playthrough and software playthrough is not an option. You may not be able to hear yourself during the recording.
If, no matter what you do, the show sounds terrible or does not work at all, drop in to the Forum where we can try to help you further. Registration is required to post and you may need to wait before your posting appears.
At minimum, you will need to tell us: exactly which version of Audacity you are using (that means the full three-part number, for example 2.0.0), what kind of computer you have and which operating system it uses. Don't head straight to the details of the problem without telling us what you're producing and why. Be prepared to tell us how the straight recording session went - the one you did before you tried overdubbing.
may give us useful diagnostic information, but if you post it, please post it between [code] [/code] tags.