Input/Output settings


Just downloaded Audacity (2.2.2) for my iMac (Snow Leopard 10.6)

I’m simply wanting to record sounds and music being played from the internet, youtube etc. I’m not recording on external mics or any ‘plugged in’ devices.

Install of Audacity went fine, but I’m perplexed by the settings…and I can’t find any instructions in the Audacity help? I googled for some and found some advice that I need to set the Mac sound preferences to Soundflower 2ch; and in Audacity prefs. set the recording device also to Soundflower 2ch.

This works, in a fashion; I can see that Audacity is recording, and when played back the sound is output through my iMac speakers.

But whilst recording, I can’t hear anything - so it’s impossible to know which clips or sections of a piece to record!

Anyone with experience know how to get live sound output WHILE recording? I’m not an expert with audio!


In the Audacity “Device Toolbar” (, set the playback device to your real output device. Then enable “Software Playthrough” in Audacity (In “Transport menu > Transport Options”).

Note that with Software Playthrough, playback lags slightly behind the input signal (because the sound has to work its way through the computer and through Audacity before coming out of the speakers - the delay is usually around half a second but may be more or less).

Hi Steve,

Thanks for reply and advice.

Settings made as per your sugegstion with Software Playthrough ‘ON’, and output device to ‘built-in output’ (i.e. the speakers)

I can certainly hear what I’m trying to record now - unfortunately Audacity isn’t doing any recording! So on playback I get zilch. You’ll see the flatline in the screenshot attached showing Audacity on playback of a 30 second clip.


Screen shot 2020-04-04 at 18.00.18.png

Is your web browser using SoundFlower for playback? I think that SoundFlower has to be set as the default playback device in the System Sound settings.

Hi Steve,

I thought you said set the playback device to your real output device…which is surely the built-in speakers? How would I know whether my web browser uses any particular sound output…?? Upto the changes I’ve mad with Audacity I’ve never meddled with the sound output in the Mac preferences, which were set to built-in.

Anyway, are you saying that Soundflower has to be set to default plaback device in Mac settings, but in Audacity I have to choose built-in output? Or do I just choose Soundflower for everything!

Darned confusing… :wink:

Audacity’s” playback devices needs to be set to the real output device.

The web browser will use the default system playback device, so in the System Sound settings, the playback device should be set to SoundFlower.

The route that the sound takes is:

Browser → (SoundFlower) → Audacity → (real sound card) → Headphones

OK, I’ve got the system sound output set to Soundflower, and the audacity playback device set to built-in (speakers/headphones). In Audacity I’ve ticked the transport option ‘Software Playthrough’.

I do see that Audacity is recording because of the blue ‘meter’ trail (although it’s rather flat, even with The Who’s ‘Wont Get fooled Again’)

During recording, NO sound is being output through either the iMac speakers or through headphones (if plugged in).

When I replay my recording it does output through the speakers/headphones, albeit rather muffled and flat.

I don’t think I can offer any more help. As far as I’m aware, both Snow Leopard and SoundFlower are obsolete and unsupported. The set-up that I’ve described is, as far as I’m aware, the correct set-up for that software.

I haven’t tried this in ages, and can’t since I’m running 10.14. But the information on this page might be helpful:

– Bill

Steve, thanks for the help, appreciated. It seems a tricky thing to get right, but have now managed it thanks to the link posted by billw58.
By the way, I recognise that Snow Leopard is outdated, but I wouldn’t say obsolete! It’s the last OSX on which I can run the best ever vector drawing programme ever (for my living!) - Freehand! :slight_smile:

billw58 - a thousand thanks for that link, Bill, it did the trick! I think the key thing in those instructions was to clcik the meter bar to ‘start monitoring’ - without doing this you don’t get the sound playing through your speakers while you record. Vital!! An excellent link which should go in the Audacity archives :wink:

cheers both.

To clarify, it has been unsupported by Apple since February 25, 2014. The last security update happened in September 2013.