General Use of Audacity

First, thank you so much for this wonderful Help section. I used to grit my teeth while using Audacity because of all the special features that had no explanation using names that made no sense to me (like chain, ducks, more).
I have questions that are NOT of the form HOW DO I DO THIS.
Often I will inadvertently click on something on the left side of a track where it says -1 - 0 - +1 and the track goes wild. I usually have no way to get back to a normal view. I don’t know what this all is called or where to look it up.
I cannot figure out how it happens that I can record a monaural signal and yet it shows two tracks with DIFFERENT profiles (sometimes very different). How in the world can two different tracks arise from a single signal. What does it mean to have two tracks in that case anyway?
Why can’t Audacity figure out how to simply capture sound from the sound card on a Windows 10 machine? Audacity used to have extensive instructions on how to massage all the audio buttons on the computer and it still never worked. On the other hand, the program Soundtap does it with no problem. I have to use Soundtap, save the file, and then pull up audacity. I think I realize that Windows has f…ed up the whole audio experience starting with 7 or XP and it is tough to do, but if Soundtap can figure it out, why can’t you?
Like every login, Audacity has a checkmark for REMEMBER ME. I have no idea what this means and no other program ever explains it either. Why do developers assume we can just learn by osmosis? Technical knowledge doesn’t work that way.
Thank you for the new HELP and MANUAL. I will be exploring them from now on.
Paul Palmer

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If so, it is because of two things:

  1. You are using an old version of Audacity (the current Audacity 2.3.1 does not do this so easily)
  2. You accidentally clicked on the vertical ruler.

The current version of Audacity is available via the Audacity website: Audacity ® | Download for Windows

The behaviour of clicking on the vertical ruler in Audacity 2.3.1 is described in the manual: Audio Tracks - Audacity Manual


Maybe it does, but Soundtap cannot record from the computer’s microphone. or a USB microphone, or an external sound card, or a firewire mixing console, or anything else other than what is playing on the computer. Also, Soundtap does not work on macOS or Linux.

Audacity records from the computer’s sound system, so it can record anything that the sound system can handle. The downside is that Audacity requires the sound system to work correctly, and to some extent on the user being able to use their computer’s sound system. Soundtap does not need to be able to do this - it bypasses the sound system and intercepts the audio stream directly (much easier to do if you only need to consider one operating system).

In short, you are comparing apples with orangutans.