Aggregate device as input not working in Audacity

I am running the most recent version of Audacity. I want to record Skype calls.

I installed Soundflower and Audacity records Skype fine when Soundflower is selected as the input. However, I want to record Skype plus my microphone through my Focusrite Forte (Audacity records just fine with Forte selected as the input).

So I created an aggregate input device in OS 10.9 consisting of the Forte and Soundflower inputs. When I test out the aggregate audio input in the Mac audio settings, I get soundbars from both devices. However, when I choose the aggregate device as the input in Audacity, only the Forte device is recorded (not Skype).

Any ideas as to why only one of the two devices in aggregate input is being recorded?

Many thanks!

I want to record Skype calls.

Or a podcast with Skype in it. A far more challenging endeavor.

Audacity records Skype fine when Soundflower is selected as the input.

Both sides? I’m guessing no. I’m guessing it records the far side. What are you using as the Skype microphone?

Skype takes over the normal sound channels in the computer running it. Skype is getting to be a generic name like “Refrigerator” and “Kleenex,” both formerly copyrighted names. “Skype me later – on iChat.”

It got that way by being super reliable and by viciously taking over the sound channels and it doesn’t matter what else you’re doing. You now have a Skype Computer® until you close it. That’s one reason it’s dangerous to do audio production and leave Skype running in the background.

So it’s against that idea you throw SoundFlower and Audacity.

You’re concentrating on recording, but where is Audacity’s output going? It can’t use the speakers or headphones because that’s where Skype playback is. I would really doubt Skype will let you share the connection. It can’t be SoundFlower because that’s a feedback loop.

If Skype thinks your receive audio is arriving at its transmit point, it will try to cancel it to avoid echoes. That kills a lot of Skype recordings.

If you do think you got it licked, make sure it still works at the far end. You can kill a Skype call by starting up sound programs and services after it starts

We recommend Pamela software for Windows users because it, too, is pretty reliable and it can be configured to record both sides on their own individual tracks for filtering and processing. Pamela recommends ecamm for the Mac. I’ve never used it.


You are right. I just recorded the Skype test call and it recorded the far side. That’s why I wanted to create an agregate to record my microphone as well (my Focusrite Forte device)

We recommend Pamela software for Windows users because it, too, is pretty reliable and it can be configured to record both sides on their own individual tracks for filtering and processing. Pamela recommends ecamm for the Mac. I’ve never used it.

I installed Vodburner and it seems to work ok. But I can’t choose my Forte device as an input. It’ll only record the system mic or the usb mic that is hooked up to the webcam

You know the Forte box claims four channel output, right?

2-in/4-out USB Audio Interface with 24-bit/192kHz Resolution, 2 Microphone Preamplifiers, Full-color OLED Display, Configurable Touchpads - Mac and PC

That’s pretty unusual. How are you managing that?

I am not sure what you mean by it being unusual. But the mic records just fine.

For one thing, which set of two did you aggregate?

Maybe this is where my lack of understanding of Mac aggregates comes in. I created the aggregate in Audio Settings and then selected Forte and Soundflower for the aggregate. Is there something more I should have done?

Afer that, when selecting the aggregate as the input in Audacity, the mic records just fine but when making the test call on Skype, nothing is recorded. However, in the Mac system audio settings for the aggregate, I get sound bars when talking into my mic AND when making the test Skype call.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for the help!

Every single time someone says they get Audacity to record both sides of Skype and we ask them how, they magically disappear for eternity.

I have never tried it, but this setup using LineIn ( with
Soundflower looks plausible.

If the aggregate solution does not work, be our hero and try the following steps and report back ( pictures are at ).

Audio output: Built in Audio
Audio Input: Soundflower (2ch)

Audio output: Soundflower (2ch)
Audio input: Soundflower (2ch)

System Preferences/Sound:
Output: Built-in Audio
Input: Built-in Mic or your chosen mic

LineIn Application:
Input from: Built-in Mic or your chosen mic
Output to SoundFlower (2ch)
‘Pass Thru’ Button on

When you install Soundflower, a new folder will be installed in your Applications folder called
“Soundflower”. Inside the folder is a program called “Soundflowerbed”. Launch
Soundflowerbed: it will install a “flower” menu at right of your menu bar.

In Soundflower (2 ch) in Soundflowerbed, ensure Built-in Output is checked. Leave the 16ch off.

To see if the aggregate device problem is with Audacity, you could record from the aggregate device in GarageBand.


Aggregate didn’t work in Garage Band either.

This solution worked, however, for the most part. Calls recorded with both my mic device and Skype.

The only trouble is that when I speak into my mic, I can hear myself with a delay. I assume it’s something to do with the audio being looped back.

Any idea how to eliminate that?

Also, this whole setup is confusing. Is there an easy way to explain how this all works? ie. where the audio is being sent to/from through all these programs?

Many thanks for the help!

Thanks for testing the steps.

You could see what would happen if you set Soundflower 2ch to NONE (off) in Soundflowerbed. I think that would mean you would not hear your own feedback but also not hear the other person, but you could try. Use headphones if you are not already doing so.

Otherwise, hover over Soundflower 2 ch and set the lowest buffer setting you can. It might reduce the delay a little.

The best solution of course is to purchase a recording application that is meant for Skype (I don’t think there is anything recommendable for free on Mac).


Pamela is the go-to application for recording Skype in Windows. It’s a money-based product and they recommend ecamm for Macs.

I’ve never used it.

Because the black magic in all this is Skype Management of sound and they’re not talking, we’re reduced to stabbing at it until it starts to work. I did try this once with a full-on suite of computers, mixers, microphones, headphones, etc, etc, (I have a picture here somewhere). I did a tiny version of a broadcast setup. I still had pieces missing.

I did a “Fake” interview from LA to a friend in New Jersey. It worked remarkably well, but she asked me why I stopped talking for long stretches during the show.

“That’s where the music bed and theme song were.”
“I didn’t hear any music…”


The deal is you have to make several different mixes during the show. There’s a mix for your headphones, a mix that goes to the far side and a mix that gets recorded and they’re all different. For example, you would not want to send the far side voice back to the far side. You think your own local voice is annoying. Try across four time zones.

And just when you think it’s completely hopeless, comes this guy.

He’s doing all this with one simple computer. He just plugged it all in and it worked. He thinks we’re all crazy.


Thanks for all the help.

It was mentioned that Skype has a nasty habit of taking over audio channels. Would it work better if I just used Google Hangouts + Soundflower to record and not bother with Skype?

Many thanks!

nasty habit of taking over audio channels.

It’s only nasty if you want to muck with it. If all you want is reliable, easy communications between two computers, it’s the world-class champ because of that habit.

And because it’s the world-class champ, it’s the one most people are used to using if they want to interview somebody for their podcast.

Google what, now?


Well, I don’t do any podcasting. I am just doing some voice coaching lessons and my coach could use Google Hangouts (Google’s chat service through Google+).

But maybe I’ll take a look at some of the other Skype recording software available.


If you have a restricted recording environment (unlike a lot of our posters), then you can do whatever works. Can you get good bi-directional recordings using Google? If somebody asked me cold, I would say you would run into the same problems. There are some communications basics, they all take up two sound channels, etc. etc.


Just for the record, did either of those suggestions make any difference?


Changing Soundflowerbed setting to None didn’t work. I didn’t hear the delay, but didn’t hear Skype in headphones either.

Setting the buffer to lowest reduced the delay, but not enough to make it viable for me.

I guess I’ll have a look at some of the paid software solutions. VodBurner works, but won’t allow me to use my Forte device as a microphone. That’s something I want for voice coaching.

Thanks for the help!

Just tried ecamm. Wow! Simple! Works perfectly! It works right in Skype; kind of like a plug-in, I suppose. Start your Skype call, press record. It records it to MP4 video and you can convert that to MP3 audio.

I think it’s $30 or so. Totally worth it!