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Thread: How Do I......?

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    How Do I......?

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    Scenario: recording acoustic guitar ONLY over backing tracks already transferred in to Audacity. Using (probably) Focusrite 2i2 or Behringer interface and either Rode or Behringer C2 stereo pair condenser mics. Normal playback system is desktop computer soundcard out to an old Fostex powered monitor system (desktop speakers and separate sub). Question: how do I monitor the incoming signal (acoustic guitar) and the backing tracks together in the headphones without the speakers picking up in the mics? Will the backing tracks come through the headphone anyway and I can just turn off the speakers? I'm new to this and think it can be done but I'm just not sure how to do it.

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    Hi Skip,

    Generally it's good practice to stick to one main device for your audio inputs and outputs, and to use headphones when laying tracks over the top of others.

    Take the focusrite 2i2, rig your speaker system up to main outputs, set up whatever microphones you intend to use, and plug your headphones in.
    Completely ignore/disconnect the computer's built-in soundcard.

    Now if you choose the focusrite as your audio input/output device in your recording software you should hear playback through the headphones and monitors simultaneously.
    When tracking, just turn off the monitors.

    If you want the 2i2 to handle system audio too (browsers, media players etc), just select it as the windows output device.
    There's no real reason not to, if it's a permanently connected device.
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    If you go with the 2i2 you'll notice a switch marked "Direct Monitoring". When this is on, your headphones will get a mix of your live mic plus whatever is coming from your computer. Latency will be near zero because the mic signal is being grabbed in the interface before it makes a round trip via the computer. Similarly, the ASIO driver will compensate for any lag on the pre-recorded tracks.

    One thing...a main reason I DON'T personally like the 2i2 is the fact the the Direct Monitoring is a switch. A lot of others--including some costing less than the 2i2--have a knob instead so you can set your own balance of levels between live and recorded. The Alesis iO2 is one I know and can recommend but there are lots of others.
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    Turn the speakers off and keep the signal, both backing and guitar, low in your headphones. It's an acoustic guitar. It makes a noise. You're playing it. You'll hear it OK.

    You just don't want bleed from the headphones going back into the mic.
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