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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.
Tip 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 Audio Settings section of Preferences or in Device Toolbar.
  2. To start monitoring left-click on the microphone icon or right-click in the Recording Meter and select Enable Silent Monitoring:
    Recording Toolbar in use.png
  3. While singing or playing the loudest part of what you are recording, adjust the recording level using the slider on the Recording Meter, so that the moving Meter Toolbar bars do not get too close to the right-hand edge of the meter.

    Minus 6 dB is a good level to aim for (or 0.5 if you have your meters set to linear rather than dB).

    Enlarging the Recording Meter Meter Toolbar by clicking and dragging the resizer on the right edge of the toolbar helps with this task. See Customizing Toolbar Layout for more details.

  4. Optionally, turn on Transport > Transport Options > Enable audible input monitoring (so it has a check mark) to hear what the recording will sound like.
    Advice Do not enable Enable audible input monitoring 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.
Tip If you have just made a recording it is strongly recommended that you immediately export your audio using File > Export Audio to WAV or AIFF (ideally to an external drive) as a safety copy before you start editing the project.

More help at:

Tip 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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