Audio input into mac

I’m back to Audacity after a few years. How can I input RCA jack audio into my Mac 27" (2013). The sound preferences don’t seem to recognize it when I input into the headphone jack.

That Mac does not have an analog audio input. The headphone jack is not an input (other than for the iPhone headset microphone) .

You need a USB audio input device. Folks here have had good luck with the Behringer UCA-202, UCA-222, and UFO-202. There are lots of others.

– Bill

Any recommendation among these three (Behfingers)?


The UFO-202 is switchable to phono and line, if you need that capability. The UCA-222 has an optical digital output that you probably don’t need. As far as I know all three units have identical performance converting a line level analog input to a digital USB output. So it comes down to price and availability.

I was afraid that this wasn’t going to be a “plug and play” system. Everything is connected, the sound input on the mac is selected (USB Audio CODEC) and the input device (reel-to-reel) player is operating, but when I try to record on Audacity, I get an error message: 9997 Invalid sample rate. What else do I need to do to input audio?


Open Audio MIDI Setup (it’s in your Utilities folder inside the Applications folder). Find the Behringer input device and set the sample rate to 44.1 kHz. Do the same for the Behringer output device. The in Audacity, set the Project Rate to 44100 Hz. Then go to Audacity > Preferences > Quality and set the Default Sample Rate to 44100.

Also, don’t forget to give Audacity permission to use the “microphone” in Apple (menu) > Settings > Privacy & Security > Microphone. (By “microphone”, Apple means any audio input device.)

Wow, I think it’s working. Thanks!


Getting closer - I’m getting input, but am unable to move the recording level slider. the playback level slider moves, but not the recording one.

You can’t move the recording level slider on Mac when your audio is coming through USB. Does the reel-to-reel have an output level control?

I’ll give that a try later. Thanks again.


The only output volume control I have is on the equalizer. I’ll have to figure out how to tap into that.


:frowning: That’s the one issue with the little Behringer interfaces… Higher-end interfaces have a recording level knob to adjust the analog level before it goes into the analog-to-digital converter.

What levels are you getting?

If the signal is too hot and you’re clipping (“trying” to go over 0dB) that’s no-good!

But if the signal is low it’s not a problem unless it’s super-low and that’s usually an indication of some other problem. You can Amplify after recording. (But attenuating won’t remove any existing clipping.)

If you have a headphone output, that’s compatible with a line-input and headphone outputs always have a volume control. (Of course you’ll need the right adapter-cable.)

You can also find Inline Attenuators.

Is there a setting that will allow me to hear what is being recorded into Audacity?

Transport > Transport Options > Software Playthrough

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