Audio out of sync? How to fix “Zencastr Drift”

You've likely experienced this before: You pull your Zencastr recordings into your software and a few minutes into the project the conversation is out of sync.

UGH! How do you fix it?

I've heard of people contacting Zencastr for help, but why wait for a response when you can fix most of the problem in a matter of moments?

How to FIX Zencastr Drift using Audacity

Watch this video for two solutions to fix Zencastr Drift yourself:

Let me know how much time this has saved you. Tweet me @SteveStewartMe

How to PREVENT Zencastr Drift

Okay, so you won't be able to prevent sync issues 100%, but there are a number of “podcasting best practices” we all should follow
A recent update to the Chrome browser (v64) has improved their reliability, as you'll see in this recent support release: https://zencastr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002734234-My-tracks-are-out-of-sync-audio-drift
To ensure you get the best audio recording with very little effort, I am providing you with this very short checklist for you and your guest(s):
  1. Currently, Zencastr recommends use of the Chrome browser. No less than 30 minutes before recording, open up your Chrome browser, then click “About Chrome” in the menu bar. Relaunch the browser after any updates. This is also a good time to clear the browser cache.
  2. Turn off any services that sync with the internet or use valuable CPU cycles (DropBox, Google Drive, Carbonite, NetFlix, any virus scans, etc). Set a reminder to turn them back on after recording.
  3. Once each participant is connected via their Chrome browser, tap on the mic to make sure it's the device Zencastr has selected. If not, check the browser settings, then the computer's settings until resolved. Make sure anyone using the mic on a pair of earbuds DOES NOT ALLOW IT TO RUB AGAINST THEIR CLOTHING or jewelry. PERIOD!
  4. Also, use earbuds/headphones to avoid feedback/echo.
  5. Silence your phone, throw the kids out, and turn off the HVAC while recording.
Zencastr will still experience some “drift” issues from time-to-time, but we can greatly reduce these issues by following the above recommendations and following podcasting best practices.
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4 Comments

  • jjeff

    February 22, 2018

    I’ve found that this is usually a result of one person’s recording being at 44.1KHz while the other is 48KHz. Then both tracks are normalized to 44.1K making the 48K recording shorter, ever-so-slightly higher in pitch, and ever-so-slightly faster. Running the Change Speed effect with a speed multiplier of .919 should get you close to where you want to be. I might have my numbers reversed here. But you want to change the speed (and pitch) of one track so that it matches the other.

    Looks like Zencastr may be able to control this better with Chrome now: https://zencastr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002734234-My-tracks-are-out-of-sync-audio-drift

    • Steve Stewart

      February 22, 2018

      Thanks for the tip Jeff with two fs.

      How can I get my client to change his recording to 44.1KHz? I know it will save a TON of problems for me (and I don’t think it will mess up anything else he is doing).

  • techlh

    March 1, 2018

    Thanks Steve, I know you and I talked about this at a recent podcaster meetup. I’ll be using zencastr a lot in the upcoming weeks so hopefully this annoying issue can be kept to a minimum!