Cannot get Audacity Monitoring to work

I’m using Mac OS Big Sur 11.4.
I’m using Audacity 3.0.2.

This is my first time trying to use Audacity. I recently bought a USB cassette capture device (MIUONO brand) from Amazon and am trying to digitize some of my old cassette tapes. I have followed all the directions in the Audacity guides “Recording with USB turntables or USB cassette decks” and “Mac and USB input devices.” In my Mac Settings > Sound, I have selected “USB PnP Audio Device,” and while I’m playing a cassette tape from the USB capture device, the Input level meter there does work; it goes up to about three-quarters of the way up the meter. In my Audio MIDI setup, it shows the Format as 48,000 Hz, so (following directions) in Audacity > Prefs > Quality, I set the Default Sample Rate to match that (48,000 Hz), and the Default Sample Format is 16-bit.

BUT when I have a tape playing (and I can hear it through the earphones that are plugged into the capture device), when I click to start Monitoring in Audacity, there is no bar, green or otherwise, that shows up. Whether I left-click on the Monitor bar (“Click to start monitoring”) or turn on Monitoring by using the pull-down menu from the microphone icon (“Start monitoring”), nothing happens.

I haven’t yet even tried to record, but I wanted to check the Monitoring level to make sure it looks OK before I start recording. So why can’t I get the Monitoring bar to show anything?

Thanks in advance if anyone out there can help this novice.

Is it one of these dreaded devices?

If so, keep hold of your receipts. They are notorious for not working well (or at all) on Mac.

Look in “Sound > Preferences” to see if the Mac is receiving audio from the device.

I have just started using Audacity 2.4.2 on Big Sur 11.4 with a USB pre-amp that I have used on my old Intel Catalina Mac.
The Sound preferences window shows that the computer is receiving input, but nothing is showing in audacity on selecting ‘Record’

One more thing you need to do on Mac OS Big Sur:
In System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Privacy tab, select Microphone in the left column and tick next to
After you restart Audacity you can play/record any input, not just the Microphone.

Thanks for posting your solution. :smiley:

Yes, MANY THANKS to Colin for his answer – that did the trick for me!
NOTE TO AUDACITY FOLKS: Please add this information (see Colin Sutton’s posting) to your guides (“Recording with USB turntables or USB cassette decks” and/or “Basic Recording, Editing and Exporting”)!!!
I would never have figured this solution out in a million years so I sure am glad that Colin knew the solution.

It’s already in:
and here:

To Steve: Thanks for your reply. But the page you linked to (in the section “Windows 10 April 2018 Update resulting microphone problems”) only refers to folks using Windows, and, per my original message, I’m on a Mac. Since that Security & Privacy setting seems to be an issue for Audacity on both PCs & Macs, shouldn’t that info be posted for both types of users? I still feel that it would make sense to include the info provided by Colin in the two Audacity guides I mentioned.

You’re correct that the first link is Windows centric, but it’s basically the same issue if you know how to find the macOS Preferences.

Very bottom of the page for the second link:

Recent > [u]Windows[/u] > / > [u]Mac[/u] > update requiring that user gives permission for Audacity to access the microphone.

and the Mac link goes to:
Why do I get a flat line and no sound when I record on Mac?

Hi again Steve –
Again, thanks for your responsiveness in replying to me, and so quickly. But I’m going to persist here a bit:
That “Mac” link at the “Very bottom of the page for the second link” you referenced is in a section called “Numeric error codes” and is talking about an “-9999 Unanticipated host error.” I never encountered any such Numeric error code, so how on earth could I have known to look there to find the answer to the problem I was having?
On that “Error opening sound device” web page, since there is a prominent “Windows 10 April 2018 Update resulting microphone problems” sections, why not do the same for Mac users?
As a new Audacity user, it would sure help me out to find easily accessible explanations for problems I encounter that I can’t figure out.

There are many ways that problems with audio devices can happen. You could write a book on just this one topic, or even three books; one for Windows, one for macOS and one for Linux. The Audacity manual dedicates several pages to these issues, and several more on the Audacity wiki.

The Audacity manual runs to several hundred pages and attempts to cover every feature that is in Audacity. It also covers some aspects of the Windows / macOS / Linux operating systems that are not part of Audacity but may affect Audacity users. "Microphone privacy settings is one such feature - it’s a feature of the operating system that may affect users of Audacity, and that can be a problem for Audacity users that are not aware of this feature in their chosen operating system.

Where is Apple’s documentation that explains how and why they block access to the sound system for apps that have not been purchased through the Apple Store?

Sure it would be nice if we could cover every issue that affects everyone on every platform. That wouldn’t be a book, it would be a library :wink:
The manual attempts to cover many of the most common issues, but there has to be a balance and the manual “should” be (and is) primarily about the Audacity app, rather than about how to use Windows 10 / Big Sur / Linux.

We also have this forum where members of the Audacity community can help each other and provide tips / advice about issues that fall outside of the scope of the manual (though the vast majority of the questions on the forum are actually answered in the manual, but given that the manual has hundreds of pages it is not always easy for users to find the information they require).

Fixed that for you:

This will only show in the Manual for the upcoming 3.0.3 release (I cannot edit previously released Manuals).



And thank you for the “nudge” - I think this was a useful change :sunglasses:


Thanks Peter.