This tutorial describes a known working method of creating a multiple sound track overdubbing session from scratch in Audacity; that is, you record one track and then play it back and add a second track against it - drums, guitar, voice - repeat as needed.
This process uses your computer's built-in microphone and a pair of headphones. You must be happy with not hearing yourself - your live performance - in real-time in your headphones. You will hear all the previous tracks mixed as you wish, but your live voice or performance will not be in the mix until you finish recording and play the whole thing back. Including your live voice in the electronic mix on a home computer can be very difficult.
You can leave one earphone off and cup your hand so it forms a tunnel between your lips and your ear. Some professional recording artists feel this is a more natural method.
Almost any Windows®, Mac® or Linux® machine with a built-in microphone can be used.
Our example here uses Mac earbuds for listening, but nearly any good headphones or earbuds are OK.
First we will make a simple recording with no overdubbing or other fancy tricks. The system has to work correctly for simple recording and playback before we go further.
This is not a tutorial on making a recording and playing it back, but you need to be able to do that before you do anything else. There are multiple tutorials on Recording.
Connect the headphones.
Set the computer control panels, Audacity Preferences and Audacity dropdowns to recognize the computer's built-in headphones for playback and to use the built-in microphone for recording.
Set Audacity Preferences:
Click on (on a Mac this is )in the Quality tab: set Default Sample Rate to set Default Sample Format to in the Devices tab: Under Playback set Device to the on-board soundcard Under Recording set Device to the on-board soundcard and set Channels to in the Recording tab: check Overdub: Play other tracks while recording new one uncheck Hardware Playthrough: Listen while recording or monitoring new track (Mac only) uncheck Software Playthrough: Listen while recording or monitoring new track
You may want to make the Audacity project window larger than its default and expand the Meter Toolbar.