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How to Record Desktop Audio with Audacity

When it comes to capturing audio on your computer, many default options like Sound Recorder or Voice Memos come to mind, but let us tell you that they are limited in their capabilities, often restricting users to basic microphone recordings. If you want the best that too without much effort, Audacity is the one to go for. Being open-source and free to use, it's a preferred solution for many.

Don’t know much about Audacity? Don’t worry, in this guide, we'll simplify the process of Audacity Record Computer Audio. Whether you're capturing video audio, online calls, or game soundtracks, Audacity offers the flexibility to record both microphone and internal computer audio. Additionally, we'll explore alternative recording software options for Windows 10 users, providing a comprehensive overview of recording tools for various needs.

Audacity: Brief Introduction

Audacity is one of the most versatile audio recording and editing softwares available in the market at the moment and it is widely used by both beginners and professionals. Its popularity stems from its open-source nature and the fact that it is completely free to use. With Audacity, users can record audio from various sources, including microphones and computer systems.

Additionally, it offers a range of editing tools to enhance and manipulate audio recordings, making it a valuable tool for creating podcasts, music tracks, and more. Despite its powerful features, Audacity maintains a user-friendly interface, although beginners may find it slightly challenging at first. However, with practice and guidance, it becomes an indispensable tool for audio production.

How to Record Computer Audio in Windows Using Audacity

Step 1: Get Audacity

From the official Audacity website, download the latest version of Audacity compatible with your operating systems and once the download is complete, locate the downloaded file and open it to start the installation process. Follow the on-screen instructions provided by the installer to complete the installation. Within a few minutes, Audacity will be installed on your computer and ready to use.

Step 2: Set Up Recording Options

Launch Audacity on your PC. From the main interface, navigate to the Audio Setup option, from the drop-down menu, select the 'Host' option and then select 'Windows WASAPI'. This setting allows you to record not only microphone input but also audio played by your computer, enabling you to capture sound from videos or other applications.

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Next, click on the dropdown menu next to the microphone icon and choose your computer's speakers as the audio source for recording.

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Note- If you do not find the “Host” option on the main screen, go to the “Edit” menu, from the drop-down list, click on the “Preferences” option and now select “Windows WASAPI” from the host option.

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Step 3: Record Your Computer Audio

Now that you have the recording options configured, you can now start recording your computer audio. Click on the red recording button in Audacity to begin capturing audio from your system. You'll see the recording progress displayed on your screen in real time.

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Step 4: Stop Recording

Keep the recording running for as long as needed. When you're finished, click the stop button in the top menu bar of Audacity to stop the recording. This action will halt the recording process but won't save the recorded file yet.

Step 5: Export Your Recording

To save your Audacity Record Computer Audio, navigate to the 'File' menu and select 'Export'. Choose your desired file format, such as WAV for high-quality audio or MP3 for sharing purposes. Name your file and select a save location before clicking 'Save' to finalize the process.

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Audacity Record Computer Audio On Mac

Let us tell you beforehand that Audacity Record Computer Audio on Mac is a bit more complicated than Audacity Record Computer Audio on a Windows device because recording requires an extra help called the SoundFlower plugin which allows you to route sound to other apps rather than the default speakers. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to record audio on Mac using Audacity and Soundflower:

Step 1: Download Audacity

Visit the official Audacity website using your browser and navigate to the download section. Select the Mac version you own and download Audacity for free. Once the download is complete, follow the onscreen instructions to drag the Audacity app icon to the Applications file.

Step 2: Install Soundflower

Download and install the Soundflower application from its official website. Follow the provided instructions to complete the installation process.

Step 3: Configure Soundflower

After installing Soundflower, open your Mac's System Preferences and go to the "Sounds" section from there go to the Output tab, and set the output device to "Soundflower (2ch)".

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Step 4: Configure Audacity

Open Audacity, and then click on the Apple icon and from the drop-down menu, go to the preferences options. Under the "Device" section, choose "Soundflower (2ch)" as the recording device and click "OK" to save the settings.

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Step 5: Start Recording

Open the application or source from which you want to record audio. In Audacity, click the "Record" button to start capturing the audio.

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Step 6: Stop and Export

When you're done recording, click the stop button in Audacity to halt the recording process. To save your recording, go to the "File" menu and select "Export". Choose your desired file format, name your file, select a save location, and click "Save" to finalize the process.

Also Read: Pro Tools Vs Ableton

Tips for a Successful Recording Session

Close Unused Programs

The first and foremost tip from us would be to ensure that before recording you close any unnecessary programs or applications running on your computer to minimize distractions and prevent unwanted sounds or notifications from being captured in your recording. This includes email clients, web browsers, and messaging apps that could disrupt your recording session.

Monitor Your Levels

Keep an eye on your recording levels while recording to ensure that they remain within an optimal range. Avoid recording audio that is too quiet or too loud, as this can result in poor-quality recordings.

Use Noise Reduction Techniques

If you encounter background noise or unwanted artefacts in your recordings, consider using Audacity's noise reduction tools to clean up the audio. This can help improve the overall quality of your recordings.

Reduce Background Noise

Find a quiet environment to record in, away from sources of noise like traffic, appliances, or chatter. Consider using soundproofing materials or recording in a room with carpets, curtains, or soft furnishings to absorb sound reflections and minimize background noise further.

Use Headphones

Invest in a good pair of headphones to monitor the audio quality during recording. Closed-back headphones are ideal for blocking out external noise and preventing audio leakage, ensuring a clean recording. Adjust the volume to a comfortable level to hear your audio clearly without causing ear fatigue.

Adjust Mic Input

In Audacity, use the microphone input slider to adjust the input level in real time if the audio levels are too high or too low. Experiment with different input levels to find the optimal balance between capturing clear audio and avoiding distortion or background noise.

Choose the Right Format

Consider your intended use for the recording when selecting the export format in Audacity. For high-quality audio preservation, formats like WAV or FLAC are ideal. For web distribution or sharing, consider compressed formats like MP3 or OGG, which offer a balance of quality and file size optimization.

Experiment with Different Settings

Last but not least, from our personal experience, we would say that never be afraid to experiment with different settings and configurations in Audacity to find the best setup for your recording needs. This may include adjusting sample rates, bit depths, or other parameters to achieve the desired results.


We do not doubt in saying that Audacity stands out as the premier solution for recording computer audio, offering versatility and advanced features unmatched by default options. Many users might feel that it has a complex interface, but Audacity's open-source nature and cost-free accessibility help it become a top choice.

We hope that this guide has simplified the Audacity Record Computer Audio process. Whether capturing video audio, online calls, or game soundtracks, Audacity enables recording from both microphone and internal computer sources. With Audacity one can also explore editing capabilities and tips for optimal results in audio creation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Soundflower and Why is it Needed for Recording System Audio on Mac?

Soundflower is a virtual audio driver that allows routing of audio between applications on Mac. It is needed to capture system audio on Mac using Audacity as it enables the redirection of audio output to Audacity for recording.

Can I Record Both the Microphone and System Audio Simultaneously?

Yes, Audacity allows you to record both microphone and system audio simultaneously. You can configure the settings within Audacity to capture both sources.

Can I Edit the Recorded Audio in Audacity?

Yes, Audacity offers a range of editing tools to enhance and manipulate recorded audio. You can trim, splice, apply effects, and more to achieve the desired result.

Does Audacity Support Multi-Track Recording?

Yes, Audacity supports multi-track recording, allowing you to record multiple audio sources simultaneously on separate tracks. This feature is useful for creating complex audio projects or recording multiple instruments or vocals separately.

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