General Output issues

I’m almost positive these have been discussed before but upon searching I could not find any dedicated threads so I’m starting this (mods feel free to move it if this is the wrong forum). Anyhow here we go.

First I love Audacity for it’s simplicity, and it’s a free sound editor. I do however have one slight issue. Limited output control. I’m a Mac user, but I assume this problem is universal. For some reason whenever the program uses the Built In Output I need to jack the volume almost all the way to hear anything (I use audacity to rip old drum n bass records). This is pretty annoying if one is multi-tasking on a computer and you forget your volume is jacked and you have a heart attack when listening to something in itunes later. I don’t know why the volume is so low? I’ve got everything possible jacked up to it’s highest.

So I tried to work around this by selecting my monitors for output instead. Being that my turntable is USB (USB Audio Codec) and I have a pair of Alesis M1 Active monitors (also USB Audio Codec), Audacity simply can’t recognize (I assume) and therefore no sound comes out when I select the monitors as my output source. I don’t really see a point of having a a device drop down menu when anything that might come up as USB Audio Codec (as tons of devices do- and you can’t change the name) in both input and output will cancel out output sound.

The only other issue I have is the wav files Audacity creates seem to be so weak and low in volume. My work around for that is after saving them to my desktop I just import them to an old Peak program I have and normalize them. I guess I could do that in Audacity but all the effects are constantly grayed out.

Most of the commands are greyed out while Audacity is in Play, Record or Pause mode.
Click the Stop button to ensure that playback is stopped.

Thanks Steve I think I read that somewhere before. Will Audacity ever fix the output device issue?

Please give the Audacity version and Mac OS X version. See the pink panel at the top of this page.

I’ve never heard of that.

You can’t use a USB turntable as an output device for a computer.

What is the exact model number of the Alesis Speakers - this ?

Try Transport > Rescan Audio Devices after connecting the Alesis speakers. Audacity doesn’t automatically recognise external devices plugged in after launching Audacity.

Macs do not usually allow the input level of USB audio devices to be controlled. If you open the Mac Sound Preferences you will probably see “The selected device has no input controls”.

Look on the turntable for a control to turn the output volume up, or if your Mac has an audio input, connect from the red/white cables of the turntable to audio in of the Mac (you’ll need an RCA stereo to 1/8 inch TRS adaptor). If you then select the built-in input as recording device in Audacity’s Device Toolbar you can use the Audacity input slider to regulate the input volume.


Are your shows the right level? Do they look like this?

You can make the Audacity sound meters bigger by clicking the right edge and dragging.


Yeah I never suggested I was using the USB turntable as an output device. Obviously a turntable doesn’t have a speaker on it so you would not get sound. My problem is low output sound levels when using Audacity with my built in output on my computer. Translation I can barely hear anything without turning the volume all the way up on my iMac’s built in output (even after I jack it all the way up in Audacity). So what I want to do is yes use my Alesis Monitors (the exact ones in the link you posted) to hear output sound coming out of Audacity.

What’s happening is when I go to the output device drop down menu and select the Alesis Monitors no sound comes out. What I think the issue is (and yes I’m selecting the right device for output even though the turntable and monitors both come up as USB Codec Audio) that Audacity can’t figure out whats going on since they both come up as USB Codec Audio, again even with both input and output selected to the right devices (input- turntable, output- monitors).

Again, please read the pink panel at the top of the page. We still have no idea what version of Mac OS X, what Mac model or what Audacity version you have. If you don’t already have the current Audacity 2.0.5 downloaded from us, please download it here: .

There is no known problem of low output levels when playing to the built-in audio in 2.0.5 supplied by us. Obviously if you are only recording at a low level (because Mac can’t control the input level of the turntable) then the output level of what you have recorded will be low. You can solve the low input level as I suggested, by using any output gain control supplied with the turntable, or by connecting it to the Mac audio in (if it has such). Alternatively (at the cost of bringing up the surface noise) you can simply Effect > Amplify… in Audacity after the recording is made. This will make the audio and the noise as loud as it can be without distortion.

To test if Audacity is getting confused between two different USB Audio CODEC outputs, I suggest that after recording, disconnect the USB turntable from the computer. Restart Audacity and choose the USB Audio Codec output. Make sure the Alesis speakers are working with other audio programs and are unmuted. It may help to open Finder, choose Go > Utilities then open Audio MIDI Ensure that the Alesis speakers are set as the default output and the format is set to 44100 Hz.