How do I raise input levels or increase waveform?

iMac, 21.5 inch
OSX 10.9.4
Audacity 2.0.6

Two different, but related, questions.

  1. When recording a web site and with the input levels in Sound preferences jacked up full, the signal levels on Audacity read just a tad bit low, generally peaking around -12dB. I know I can adjust the input on the sliders to the left but is there a way I can just have the default input higher so I don’t have to do that every time I record?

  2. Failing a simple way to increase the actual input, can I adjust the scale of the waveform, that is, make it bigger, so I can work with it and see it more clearly?

Thanks for any help!

Does increasing the play level for the web site help (you may need to plug in headphones to avoid hearing the web site blaring out).

The audio on the various sites (e.g. YouTube) are always set to maximum, and it’s plenty loud when listening to it normally. Just not very in Audacity during record mode.

Exactly how are you recording the sites? Normally one would use Soundflower - see Tutorial - Recording Computer Playback on Mac - Audacity Manual.

The Soundflower input and output levels can be adjusted in /Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup. You need to adjust both levels.

Why don’t you download the videos, assuming you have the copyright holders’ permission to record in the first place? Use your favourite search engine to find out how to do that.


Hi, Steve and Gale,

Sorry for such a long delay in responding! I lost track of this site and only just now rediscovered it!

Sadly, I am still experience the same problem with low input levels.

Increasing the volume on the web site doesn’t really solve my problem. Even at full volume on the web site and full volume on my mac (I have to turn my speakers down to compensate) I am seeing peaks at only around -12 dB or around + or - 4 on the waveform in the track itself. This seems well below what I am used to seeing with most recording devices where you are at least approaching if not touching a full deflection or 100% modulation. Mostly, it’s just hard to see the waveform with any detail for editing later. By contrast, my last version of Audacity (1.3.14 beta) had much fuller levels for my older mac (and worked flawlessly in every other respect, much better than subsequent releases in my experience.)

Yes, I am using Soundflower. I tried opening AudioMIDI setup from the Applications/Utilities folder like you suggested but didn’t see anything allowing me to make volume adjustments. If, however, you mean the Audio Setup selection in the on-screen Soundflower menu, yes, I opened that and saw there were volume levels and they were both already set to full.

Incidentally, I was mistaken, I thought moving the gain slider at the left of the track window affected the input level on the meter but it does not. (Which now raises another question – why doesn’t it?)

To answer your other question about why don’t I just download the video, for these videos I only want to create an mp3 of the audio portion. More frequently I just want to record audio clips, such as voiceover demos from actors’ web sites.

Lastly, what is the url that I need to bookmark to get to this forum? Is there an added path indicator that is just for mac?

Thanks for any and all help!


If you have Ffmpeg installed (see: Audacity Manual) then Audacity is able to import the audio part from (most) video files. Audacity does not edit video, so you can’t import the pictures even if you want to.

The forum index page is:
The Mac OS X board is: macOS - Audacity Forum

Those links are also available at the top of the page where it says:
Board index < Audacity Help Forum < Mac OS X

If you want to link for an exact post, copy the link address from the “PERMALINK” button at the top left of the post.

I read the FAQ and followed all of the suggestions (that’s how I learned about increasing the buffer) including setting the recording quality to 16 bit. I even tried recording in mono but the dropouts are still there. The fmfpeg thing might circumvent the problem for video files but I am not always recording videos; I’m often recording voiceover reels or radio spots that have been posted online. Any further suggestions?


Check first if it is possible to download rather than record. Firefox web browser has lots of plugins / Add-ons available for making (many, but not all) video/audio streams downloadable. Downloading is preferable to recording because it is usually quicker, more reliable and better quality. Think of recording as a last resort when downloading is not possible.

Note also that many video/radio streams are covered by copyright, so you should check the licensing terms before assuming that it is legal to download or record on-line media. In many cases where it is difficult to download or record, it is because it has been deliberately made difficult by the website designer so as to discourage visitors from breaching their copyright.

+/-0.4 is still -8 dB. Not terribly low. Have you tried Effect > Amplify… after recording? You should not get very much added audible noise if any by amplifying if you are achieving -8 dB.

Soundflower is likely designed not to clip.

If your Mac had a stereo line-in input you could try connecting a cable between audio out and audio in, but as far as I can see you don’t have line-in. You could still add a line-in by buying a USB interface that has line-in.

Otherwise I suggest like Steve does that you download the videos and import their audio into Audacity using FFmpeg (assuming you have copyright holders’ permission). Then the audio will be as loud as it is in the original file.

Then please try Amplify.

I tried 1.3.11 Beta which I still have. Soundflower recordings in Audacity are at exactly the same level as in 2.0.6. The difference may be in the different Mac.

What are your other complaints about 2.0.6? Playback crackle unless you fiddle with Audio to buffer?

Audio MIDI Setup has the same volume controls for Soundflower input and output that System Preferences does:

It does on my Mac Mini on Mavericks. Please go back to Tutorial - Recording Computer Playback on Mac and make sure you have the latest version of Soundflower.


This is the first time you have mentioned dropouts. So you have been looking at Missing features - Audacity Support ?

How many other apps and services are running when you try to record?