iMic gives "Error while opening sound device"

Tapping on the mic moves the blue dots in Sound system prefs, so it should be set up correctly. When I press the record button, I get “Error while opening sound device. Please check the recording device settings and the project sample rate.” Recording without iMic works fine. Recording with iMic in Garageband works too, tapping the mic on the iMic records something, tapping the internal mic records nothing, so it’s all set up ok, it seems.

I am using Audacity 2.1.1. and Mavericks 10.9.5. on a 2013 macbook pro, a Sony ECM-CS3 lapel mic, and either a white or a grey (old) iMic, slider on Mic not Line, both give visible input in system prefs but cannot be recorded from in Audacity. Other posts mention a hub, I do not use a hub, the imic is connected directly. The imic is selected as input in System prefs, Audio MIDI setup (44100 Hz, 16bit 2ch), and Audacity main window/prefs. Recording Device settings in Audacity prefs are imic, stereo, sample rate is 44100 Hz. In the Recording prefs, everything is unchecked: Overdub, Hardware, Software playthrough, Sound activated recording.

Well, that’s all I know to check. Help is very much appreciated.

Two more things that may or may not be relevant:

2.1.1. did not run right away. I deleted the one line in the audacity.cfg file according to the reelase notes, except that it was not TempDir=/tmp… but TempDir=/var… I forgot if it contained 2.1, but it fixed the issue. Now the TempDir is TempDir=/var/folders/94/pkksb2t17995bnc9pkpv8qj40000gn/T/audacity-username .

Also, I had renamed the Audacity folders in /Applications to Audacity 2.1.0 and Audacity 2.1.1, during figuring out how to get 2.1.1. to start. When re-installing an extra plugin in 2.1.1. plugins folder using the new Effects>Manage, I saw that many plugins point to /Applications/Audacity 2.1.0. They seem disabled, but who knows what this renaming has done in addition. was not a good idea probably.

You seem to have covered everything in trying to get the iMic into Audacity. The only thing that stands out for me is:

Try “mono” and see if that helps.

Regarding your second post, the two versions of Audacity are sharing configuration files located in
~/Library/Application Support/audacity/
which explains why you are seeing plugins inside the Audacity 2.1.0 folder being loaded into 2.1.1.
When dealing with different version of Audacity, I like to use a “Portable Settings” folder so I have separate configuration files for each version. In your case, create a “Portable Settings” folder in each of the 2.1.0 and 2.1.1 folders. When you start each version it will be like a virgin install, and clean configuration files will be created. You can then enable the effects that a specific to each version.

– Bill

Thanks, this was good. Mono had not worked either, forgotten to post that. The Lapel mic is also explicitly stereo with L and R sides and has the two rings on the connector too.

With the Portable Settings folder everything was reset, and the iMic did not show up at all as a choice in the popup. I remember now that this happened before too, and I don’t know how it suddenly appeared there. Checking System prefs and Audio Midi setup, imic is set as audio input automatically in System prefs when I plug it in and unplug it.

Now quitting and restarting audacity made it visible in the popup, so I need to do that for it to see the imic. now recording works, too, and sound comes clearly from the imic and not the internal mic.

Just for curiosity, when I now unplug the imic, it remains selectable in the popup. When I click record, it gives this error message. When I plug the imic back in, it is automatically selected as input in System prefs and audio midi setup, and voila I get the error message too, even if I unselect and select it. But now when I quit and restart audacity, it works fine.

I honestly don’t remember if I had remembered to quit audacity when checking all these things in the beginning. I think I have, I usually do this often. Maybe I have to just make sure the imic is set before I start audacity. Or I had somehow messed with my settings, I had not used the iMic at all for a long time, and had checked out soundflower and uninstalled it again. So the Portable Settings total reset might have been the fix.

Thanks so much! Deva

Audacity cannot automatically update its device list for plugged and unplugged devices once it is open.

Restarting Audacity should always work, or instead, use Transport > Rescan Audio Devices.


makes sense. thanks for the comment