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To record:
  • Set the Recording Device,
  • monitor and then adjust the recording level,
  • then press the Record Record button button.

    Correct adjustment of level before recording is essential to avoid noise or distortion.

If you are having problems recording, have a look at the FAQ on recording which answers some frequently asked questions.
Bulb icon When making recordings, particular critical recordings, you should consider shutting down all other applications giving Audacity sole use of the computer. This can help to avoid skips, small dropouts, and ticks in your recordings.
And on Mac that means fully Quitting them not just closing them, as otherwise Mac will leave them open consuming computer resources.

  1. Set the Recording Device either in the Devices section of Preferences or in Device Toolbar.
  2. Click in the Recording Meter to start monitoring as in the following image:
    Recording Toolbar in use.png
  3. Singing or playing the loudest part of what you are recording, adjust the recording level using the right-hand slider on Mixer Toolbar:
    so that the moving Meter Toolbar bars do not get too close to the right-hand edge of the meter.
  4. Optionally, turn on Transport > Transport Options > Software Playthrough (on/off) (so it has a check mark) to hear what the recording will sound like.
    Warning icon Do not enable Software Playthrough when recording computer playback because it creates echoes and feedback. To hear what a recording of computer playback will sound like, make a test recording to check the level before recording for real.
  5. Press the Record Record button button to record for real.
  6. Audacity will record until you stop the recording using the Stop Stop button button.
Bulb icon If you have just made a recording it is strongly recommended that you immediately export your audio using File > Export > Export Audio... to WAV or AIFF (ideally to an external drive) as a safety copy before you start editing the project.

More help at:

Bulb icon Recording a guitar:

This requires a usually-USB analog-to-digital converter box. These typically accept a variety of different inputs including 1/4" and XLR. Some offer phantom power for mics and have various controllable parameters. Another option is direct 1/4"-USB adapter cables. These just plug into a USB port and you plug your guitar into the other end. However, you get nowhere near the capability of using a general USB converter box.

  • These devices usually have USB connections to the computer, and are often known generally as "USB boxes". There are similar devices that connect to the FireWire ports commonly found on Macintosh computers.
  • These devices are available from many merchants such as GuitarCenter (also Other sources on the web include Amazon and

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