Multitrack Recording In Audacity

Audacity is a free DAW, a program for audio recording and mixing, and it’s popular for some very good reasons besides being free. It’s easy to use, stable and is the perfect little DAW for anyone who wants to get his feet wet in home recording. It is also perfect for recording things like voice overs or a demo for a (small) band. Record, for example, the basic tracks an mix them later on in a more professional DAW or let someone else mix them. Some even record full albums with it. So, it is popular for many reasons.

Some time ago, in 2018, I made a video about mixing and recording with Audacity and the Behringer UMC404HD. The UMC404HD allows for four inputs to be recorded at the same time (4 tracks) so you can record 4 musicians, or instruments/vocals, at the same time. The Behringer UMC404HD is amazing and it’s availble for only a fraction of the costs of several competitors. For example (at this moment) at Thomann. It is out of stock a lot, it seems to be very popular and rightfully so. I am still considering to buy a second one, as a spare, in case mine will stop working or will have mechanical problems one day.

Recording with the Behringer audio interface works perfect with Ardour or Mixbus. Especially since they don’t need any additional drivers. On Windows it also worked perfect on, for example, Mixcraft. I showed this in various videos as well as other people. Many of the viewers however seemed to be having issues with Audacity and the Behringer UMC404HD.

Audacity is a free and multi-track audio recorder which can help you record computer audio with high sound quality. This free audio recorder allows you to capture any audio on your computer and then save it in AC3, M4A/M4R (AAC), WMA or other formats based on your need. Jul 29, 2015 Track it Recording or tracking your music in Audacity is easy enough. You connect a microphone to your computer and click Record on the Audacity interface. The music records into the track, and when you’re done you simply press stop.

DRIVERS

One of the biggest issues most have is the drivers for the UMC404HD. Behringer has been changing their websites a few times recently and people were complaining they can’t find the drivers. They’re not included on a CD with the interface. Now, there is a good reason for this: production costs. Including a driver CD costs money and Behringer tries to cut the costs so you will have a product that is as cheap as possible. Besides that: most computers and laptops these days don’t even have a CD(r) station. Even if they would include a driver CD it would, in most cases, be useless. Including a CD would only lead to more trash (environmental issue!). You can download it. No environmental damage and cheaper. I’d say that’s a win-win.

However, as noted: the drivers have been hard to find. And, for some reason some complain the new drivers don’t work well. So here’s an older version that does work. Download and use on your own risk, I am not responsible for it.

DO NOT USE ASIO4ALL

Asio4All has been a pretty popular hardware driver for Windows. Do NOT use it. Remove it completely from your system (uninstall) if you wan tot use the Behringer UMC series. They have their own drivers (official site). You won’t get Audacity or any other DAW running on Windows working with the UMC404HD when using Asio4All.

AUDACITY LACKS SUPPORT?

Some noted that the version of Audacity they have doesn’t record 4 tracks. It only shows 2 tracks. There might be two reasons for this, I’m not certain what the reason is in certain situations:

  1. it is showing you 2 stereo tracks (meaning 4 mono tracks!).
  2. You don’t use the correct settings for recording 4 tracks. Set the ‘preferences’ to Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) as I do in the Video!

Some claim it isn’t available on their Audacity version. On the Audacity website, however, it is still mentioned and what’s more: it’s been a standard in Windows ever since Windows Vista. In fact it is one of the “unique selling points” in Audacity! So I do have a hard time believing it isn’t available and my best guess is you’re not using the corect settings.

I am having the Dutch version but you should be able to see where this setting can be found (under preferences). In case you cannot get it working with the current version of Audacity – and I really do advice to use that one since it has hundreds of fixed bugs! – there are still older versions available. Like over here. Please note, this versions dates back to 2015 and this link (from Google Drive, it’s my “old” Windows version, works on Windows8.1) is to be used solely at your own risk.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

So this is the video I’ve been talking about, hope it helps or is at least entertaining 🙂 As I said in the video I don’t prefer Audacity for recording. These days I use Mixbus5 (and Ardour) running on Linux Mint. I’ve never looked back at Windows recording since I started using that even though I still have Mixbus on my Windows laptop (Windows 8.1). That doesn’t mean recording using Windows is less good. I simply prefer Linux (Linux Mint).

Multi-track recording with Audacity

Posted Oct 7, 2006 0:05 UTC (Sat) by Multitrack Recording In AudacityHawke (guest, #6978)
Parent article: Multi-track recording with Audacity

The sample representation was changed to 16 bit integer mode and the audio i/o setting was changed to 2 channel (Stereo).

Cached

The inability to record mono tracks is an obvious deficiency...

So the author found the setting used to record mono tracks and then complained that it was missing? WTF? In addition, you can split stereo tracks into two mono tracks or mix two mono tracks into one ('Quick mix').

Recording Multiple Tracks In Audacity

The 'Play other tracks while recording new one' setting was enabled, this is the critical feature that allows 'sound-on-sound' recording.

Multitrack Recording - Audacity Forum

Multitrack recording in audacity onlineRecording

Audacity Multichannel Recording

Am I missing something or does this defeat the purpose of multi-track recording? Why would you do 'sound on sound' recording when you can record each sound as a separate track and then mix them together in software? Furthermore, this seems to be the cause of the later dropouts and latency problems the author complains of. In fact, I find it difficult to get audacity to not play back the other audio tracks while recording the new one, regardless of the setting in preferences. (On further testing it seems as if the software initializes to 'play other tracks while recording new one' but leaves the checkbox off; so checking and unchecking this preference will disable the feature.

Multi Channel Recording Audacity

(Log in to post comments)