Headphone issues

Hi Folks.

Using Audacity 2.3.2 on a MacBook Pro running OS 10.14.6

Trying to use my headphones, but they don’t seem to work with Audacity (but work fine with other programs). Any ideas?


P.S. Bonus unrelated issue: Trying to reduce volume on a track. Went to Effect > Amplify, put in the amount, and hit the return key, but no luck. I had to use the trackpad to line up the arrow on the OK button and click. Not a major issue, but I miss the time-saving ease of just hitting the return button.

This is a known issue that we have fixed for the upcoming 2.3.3 version of Audacity

Mac: Cannot use Enter to effect an Effect after entering numeric data in a field


I’m also running Audacity 2.3.2 on OS X 10.14.6 (on a 2019 MBP 15") and had the same problem: it plays nicely through the laptop’s speakers, but if I try to change playback device to play through headphones, as soon as I try to play audio, it won’t play, and I get the error message: “Error opening sound device. Try changing the audio host, playback device and the project sample rate.”

The solution for me is to plug in the headphones before opening Audacity. When I do that, I can toggle back and forth between headphones and laptop speaker as my playback device with no problem. However, if I were to unplug the headphones while the program was open, then plug them back in, the old problem returns: only laptop speaker works, and I get the above error message when trying to use headphones as the playback device.

I’m not sure if this is fixed in 2.3.3, but I’m not upgrading to that version as the EQ effect is so much worse than in 2.3.2 (see https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/equalization.html - the new Graphic EQ is terrible - it has no db values and you need to hover over the sliders to see the frequency that you’re adjusting… it’s amazing that someone thought that this was a step forward…)

If you change the available audio devices (by unplugging your headphones and plugging them back in, or in any other way), you need to tell Audacity that the devices have changed. You do that by telling Audacity to “Rescan Audio Devices” (near the bottom of the “Transport” menu).

steve - thanks a million. that works

I’m using a Mac that’s updated to Big Sur 11.1 and downloaded Audacity for the first time, so it’s version 3.0.2, and I keep getting an error any time I try to use my Raycon earbuds instead of the internal speakers.

We do not recommend using bluetooth earbuds with Audacity. Bluetooth earbuds are often incapable of “connecting on demand” as required by Audacity, leading to a timeout error if the earbuds don’t connect quickly enough. Also, bluetooth audio typically has a delay of more than 50 ms, making it unsuitable for audio production. Some earbuds will work with Audacity, but that’s unusual.

The error I keep seeing says “Error opening sound device. Try changing the audio host, playback device and the project sample rate.” Is that the same kind of error you were referring to with connecting on demand or timeout errors?

I’ve been using bluetooth headphones with other programs like Premiere Pro without a problem. And it’s so weird how the headphones will work with everything except Audacity. Even if there was a delay like that, I’d still be able to get stuff done. As of right now, if I don’t turn off bluetooth, the headphones remain connected and all sound comes through the headphones except Audacity which comes through the internal speakers, but the volume can’t be adjusted. It’s just so odd.

Yes, that’s it.

Audacity has a slightly peculiar way of handling connections, which is due to the original design 20 years ago when it was common for computers to support only one app playing audio unless using an expensive sound card with hardware mixing built in. Because of this, Audacity creates connections “on demand” and then disconnects when no longer required. Modern apps keep the connection open for as long as the app is running.

The design is likely to change in the future, but it’s a big, and probably risky job for the developers to change it.

Same issue with Mac OS 12.5.1 on Audacity 2.4.2 Sept 2022
Everything on my computer plays through my headphones via USB while at the same time Audacity plays through my computer speakers so everyone can hear it. Very strange.

Check the playback setting in the Device Toolbar.