Playing sound while recording in Spark

This is a question that I seen in the Spark FB group about once a week, so I’d like to document the solutions and limitations here.

Let’s say you want to make a karaoke effect where a song plays in the background and the user sings along. You’ll set up your project and throw a sound clip into it and test it out on your device. Immediately, you’ll notice that the sound is muted while recording, but it actually gets recorded in the output. It’s not ideal because then the user can’t hear the song while they record, which ruins the whole effect.

You can’t record with the microphone and play sounds at the same time. If you could, it would result in horrible sound from the speakers. There are a few solutions but they come with a cost.

  1. Disable the microphone. This will unmute the audio while recording, but obviously the downside is that you won’t hear the user any more.

  1. Tell the user to wear headphones (there are custom instructions available for this). Since the speakers won’t be playing the sounds, they won’t be muted! I’ve heard that bluetooth headphones don’t work for this, and many phones require adapters for corded headphones. This is the only way to have audio and the mic active at the same time during recording, but it comes with some serious UX implications.

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Bluetooth option sounds like a real prob as more and more people have it. Even tho, I just feel like people don’t do stories with headphones most of the times. Maybe a solution in targeted noise canceling where the target is actually the audio input incoming from the effect.

Looks like something doable in the theory if both songs are the exact same, which could be the case with the audio input and ouput thanks to DVDdoug: https://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?t=88733

This doesn’t take into account the possible deformation of the sound caused by a low quality speaker unfortunately.

Ofc this is a technical long shot that also has to be asked for a beta feature :smiley:

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It is unfortunate that we have those limitations but on the other hand this just means that there is still a gigantic ocean to discover! Since the world is becoming louder and louder, I can imagine loads of new, cool earphones like mini headphones that are more inside your ear than around it. In this case, the headphones will not be in the way when taking selfies :smiley:

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thanks , sir , yeah ,thanks oh yeah huahuhahaha

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