How to record audio on mac

A Mac user may meet certain cases where he might need to record audio on their Mac system. It may be to record a voice note, a Skype call, a video conference or any other cases where recording the sound is needed. However, not every Mac user is familiar with recording audio on Mac. Therefore, assuming that you are here to learn. I will explain briefly How to Record Audio on Mac, both the external and internal ones.

QuickTime: The easy option


If your Mac is running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (2009) or later, you can use the built in QuickTime 10 player for audio recording.

  1. Open QuickTime Player from your Applications folder.
  2. Open the File menu and select New Audio Recording.quicktime-new-audio-recording
  3. You will see a very simple user interface with sound recording controls.quick-time-audio-recording-interface
  4. You may click on the Down Arrow next to the record button to select your sound input (microphone) and sound Quality settings.
  5. Microphone volume is adjustable with the slider under the record button.

Older Macs will generally have two input sources: Build-in Microphone and a Line-in from the 3.5mm jack. Newer Macs have only the Microphone available as the audio source.

The High quality setting records M4A files with variable bitrate using the AAC code. This is good balance of quality, file size and file compatibility. The Maximum quality setting saves AIFC files using PCM S24 codec and produces rather large files. This is overkill in most situations, and file compatibility is limited. If in doubt, use the High setting.

Note: QuickTime 7 is also built into earlier versions of Mac OS X. However, audio recording was a paid feature of QuickTime Pro.

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Adding Audio from your Computer

This allows you to capture the audio from your computer in your QuickTime screen recording. This is what I kept finding when trying to search for a solution. Google “Screen recording with audio on Mac” and you will see. This option routes ALL audio through Soundflower and therefore you CANNOT HEAR IT to monitor it as it is being recorded.

  • Download and install Soundflower
  • Go into System Preferences – Sound – Output — choose Soundflower 2ch
  • Open QuickTime
  • Start New Screen Recording – Click drop down arrow on right side of dialog box – choose Soundflower 2ch
  • Click red Record button

The Holy Grail (Adding Audio from your Microphone and your Computer while being able to hear the audio as it records)

This is great for a screen-sharing session where you are talking to someone and walking through an application over the computer. This was the exact thing I needed to do when I figured this out, thought I would write it up to remember in the future.

NOTE: If you do not want to include your microphone audio and only include the audio from your computer in your screen recording, just take out the steps related to the “Aggregate Device” and choose SoundFlower 2ch in QuickTime for your screen recording.

  • Download and install Soundflower
  • Go to Applications – Utilities — Open Audio Midi Setup
  • Click the (+) Plus sign in bottom left corner
  • Choose “Create Aggregate Device”
  • Place a checkmark next to Soundflower 2ch and Built-in Microphone
  • Click the (+) Plus sign again
  • Choose “Create Multi-Output Device”
  • Place a checkmark next to SoundFlower 2ch and Built-in Output
  • Go into System Preferences – Sound – Output — choose Multi-Output Device
  • Now, when you open up QuickTime – Start New Screen Recording and select “Aggregate Device” from drop down arrow on the right.
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