Keeps recording via the in-built microphone [SOLVED]

I fear this is an extremely naive question, but here goes. First my basic set-up:

Mac OS X 10.6.8
Audacity 2.0.0
An old Onkyo receiver (circa 1992)
Rega RP1 turntable

My set-up with my laptop vis-a-vis my old receiver is that I have an RCA Y-adapter cable from my laptop that I plug into the Tape 1/Video Play jack on the back of this 1992-era Onkyo receiver. When I’m playing music at home, I switch the receiver to Phono for playing vinyl and Tape to play from my laptop (or cassette player, back when it still worked and was hooked up).

So… when recording just now from vinyl, I had the stereo set to Phono. I tried plugging in my adapter cable from my laptop to BOTH the Tape 1 Play jack as well as the Tape 1 Record jack and am getting the same result. Audacity recorded (and I think I saved it correctly), but then the playback is so low and hollowed out that I know the connection isn’t correct. In fact, I hear background noise, so I know it’s the microphone simply recording “live.” One instruction I saw said I needed a cable from my laptop input directly into the headphone jack on the receiver. Don’t have that. Those instructions also say to choose the “Line In” input source option, but I’m only ever seeing options for “Built-In” outputs/inputs.

What do you think I’ve done wrong in terms of how the connection from the record player/Phono is communicating with my Laptop? Should the Y-adapter cable be plugged into a different jack on my Receiver? Do I need some audio adapter to get the signal to my laptop, because the in-built microphone on my Mac is overriding everything? I had a friend come here and record from my stereo with his laptop several times, but he was using a different software and also not a Mac. I have to figure it’s either my laptop or the software or both. HELP!

We recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of Audacity, version 2.0.6 available here:

You’ve told us everything except which laptop you have. This is important as some have a line-in connection (which may be called “built-in input”) and others do not.

I don’t understand what you’re doing with the Y-adapter.

If your laptop has a line-level built-in connection, then you just need to connect a cable between that and the “tape out” jacks on the back of the receiver. That means the jacks you would connect your cassette deck to if you wanted to record something.

Then, in Audacity, you need to select the Mac’s “built-in input” in the device toolbar.

These sections from the manual might help:

If your Mac does not have a line-level built-in connection you’ll need an external device.

– Bill

I have a MacBook Pro 5,5 with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (2.26 GHz).

The Y-adapter cable is what I use to play my laptop on my stereo. I connect it to the Tape 1 Play jack, and it comes out of my stereo speakers.

If I’m hearing you correctly, I should have the Y-adapter cable hooked up to the Tape 1 Record jack when recording from Phono. Well I tried that but it still came out sounding as if the in-build microphone was doing the recording. I’ll look further in the instructions you linked to and see if I’m missing something basic. I feel it’s got to be a basic thing I’m overlooking here. I’ll also d/l the latest version in a sec. But again, with the version I currently have, I ONLY see an option for “built-in” inputs. There are no other options showing up.

I’m not sure my reply made it through, so I apologize if this doubles up, but I thought I’d follow up and say that I have a MacBook Pro 5,5 with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor. I bought this in 2009, I believe.

I’ve since read that some MacBook Pro’s 13" might not have line-in audio functions. Could that be my problem?

You are looking for the connection on the left. That’s the Build-In Input. And yes, 13" MBPs don’t have that.


You have two options. You can root around in the Mac System Preferences. Some of the earlier machines can switch one connection from Headphone Out to Stereo Line-In. It will suggest that in Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Sound. One of the people on the sixth floor has a 13" which works that way.

The machine is the right age to have this option. Look carefully. Of course it kills the headphones when you do that.

If that’s just not going to happen, I like the Behringer UCA-202 or its cousins. It provides a very good quality stereo in and stereo out for the cost of a USB connection.


I still don’t understand why you need the Y-adapter. Perhaps it is a stereo-mini to dual-RCA adapter?

Don’t forget the next step which is to set Audacity to record from the built-in input.
– Bill

thanks for everyone’s advice. It ended up being the case that my laptop had the ability to switch to “Sound Input” from Output, and that allowed me to record. I’d share what I recorded with everyone if it was somehow possible (a 45 from Africa in the mid-seventies), but for now just know that I’m happy I figured it out. Thank you again.