Audacity Looses USB Device

Audacity (3.1.2) on MacOS 10.15.6 seems to “loose” USB audio devices.

Audacity seems to check for the existence of Audio devices only when first launched. If a device that was present on launch is later unplugged, Audacity reports an error if an attempt is made to, for example, record sound from that device. It should instead recognize that the device has disappeared, and change the selected input to null, or provide a more intelligible message.

More concerning, if a device is plugged in while Audacity is running, that device does not appear in the input out output popups, and cannot be selected. One has to quit and restart Audacity to use the device. If a device is unplugged and then later plugged in again (for example, because I move my laptop to the other side of the room, then move the input device, and then reconnect them), Audacity reports an error when an attempt is made to use the device.

Come on, USB is not RS-232! USB is designed to be hot-swapped. At the very least, Audacity could check what devices are available when the pull-down menus are pulled down.

Transport > Rescan Audio Devices.

That will force a list of current audio connections.

Sometimes, if Audacity loses, for example, an external microphone, it might default to a laptop’s built-in. It doesn’t always just fail. On a guess, I think the two microphones have to have the same standards to get that auto switch.

The real magic happens if you have a tiny erratic data connection through a bad cable or other mechanical defect. Audacity will drop your microphone as a hot rock for no apparent reason, and as you point out, it doesn’t come back automatically. But yet, everything is perfect when you switch to it again.

You can make it through the back half of a valuable interview on the laptop built-in microphone and not realize it.

I’m pretty sure i know why they did that. It would be a complete nightmare to design all the decision trees. What happens to the timeline during the dead periods? How dead does it have to be?

Similar to the current problem of deciding whether the drive you picked is OK. Currently only the internal drive in good condition is unconditionally acceptable, but external drives will try anyway giving you quite a number of forum posts.