Multi-channel Recording in Audacity

Audacity as shipped does not support ASIO drivers. You can compile Audacity with ASIO support (strictly for your own private usage only) but it is time-consuming and possibly complex if you have never done anything like that before. See: .

If Audacity on XP saw 8 channels (without ASIO support) this may be because the Presonus driver set has changed. It is not uncommon for later drivers to remove multi-channel ability from their WDM (non-ASIO) support. Or, it’s possible you did not have ASIO drivers installed before and because Audacity as shipped does not support ASIO drivers, their presence is creating the problem. Or you might have been using an earlier Audacity before where multi-channel support happened to work up to a point with the driver set you had.

So the only sure answer (on WIndows) to get multi-channel recording is to compile Audacity with ASIO support.


Multitrack on a Budget, TASCAM US-1800:

Will multi-device recording eventually become an Audacity feature?

It is possible to record from multiple devices simultaneously with Audacity by using a “virtual” device between Audacity and the real hardware devices.
On Mac OS X this can be done by creating an “aggregate device”. On Linux it can be done in several ways including creating an aggregate device, or attaching multiple devices to Jack Audio System and routing them all through a virtual mixer. On Windows it “may” be possible to record from multiple devices using VAC though I’d not expect that to work very well due to the relatively poor performance of Windows audio drivers.

One of the Audacity developers has recently been working on supporting the new WASAPI (Windows Audio Session API). This should provide much improved efficiency for the Windows sound system, though sadly Windows still provides few tools to assist users in creating advanced signal routing so it may still not be easy to achieve on Windows.

I was advised over on another thread to come to this one and provide some input about how the Alesis iO4 works with Audacity. At least, how it works with Audacity on Ubuntu 12.10.

It works well enough. My goal is to record podcasts with my laptop and have the option of using up to 4 different microphones, and this enables that. With the XLR mike inputs and direct USB connection, one gets a reasonably clean sound. When the iO4 is plugged in, it shows up as an option in the Audacity interface, so one can select it and start recording without needing to make any changes in Ubuntu’s sound settings.

There are caveats, though.

The first is that the iO4 must be plugged in before you boot your computer. All my experience is that hotplugging simply does not work.

The second, and in my mind a significant caveat, is that the input volume is quiet. To record a person speaking at a standard voice level, neither whispering nor shouting, I have to crank the gain on the iO4 for each mike to maximum. Cranking up the input volume in Ubuntu’s sound settings or within Audacity has little or no apparent effect. If you lower any gain or input volume settings, you can reduce the recording volume. To get a decent response, though, just about every setting at every step of the way has to be maxed out.

It would be ideal if something could be adjusted or fixed so that one could get a range of volume when recording with the iO4, because people need to project into the microphones to a degree that impacts their ability to naturally speak freely.

Bottom line is that it works, and I am managing, but if the volume issue were resolved, it would be the ideal recording device for podcasters on the go like me.

MOTU Traveller firewire/USB
Reported to work for multi-channel recording on Mac OS X

Tascam 16x08 works for 16 individual tracks.

Thanks for the information. Can you be more specific for the sake of other users? Does this require compiling Audacity with ASIO support, choosing a specific host such as Windows WASAPI in Device Toolbar, or using specific drivers from Tascam?


I’m sorry, I missed that.
I just got the Win10 driver from Tascam, then selected it in the Audacity pref. section as “Tascam” and 16 channels.
The only bad thing, but not really much, is you can’t select let’s say 10 channels and have it work. It is either 2 channels or 16. Which means when I record on Sundays, I only use 9-10 tracks. Not a big deal.
WASAPI is the windows setting I use.
Also if you want to do any overdubbing (playing the previous tracks while recording a new add on track) does not work so well as it takes a lot of PC resources since you are recording another 16 tracks. But if you mute the unused ones it helps quite a bit.

I should mention that the Behringer X32 digital mixer which has a built in usb interface works with Audacity also, just get the correct windows driver from Behringer and you will see 32 tracks open up when you hit record. I had one of these at work for service and tried it out on my work pc.

Thanks for confirming, and for information on the Behringer X32. I added these to our list of Windows devices at

Yes, that is a known Audacity limitation in multi-channel recording. If you wish, we can record your “vote” on our Wiki Feature Requests page for Audacity to be able to select exactly which of multiple channels to record. It is just a vote count, you are not identified.

I see in the FAQ’s for US-16x08 that TASCAM recommend switching to Windows “High Performance” Power Plan to avoid power throttling when the computer appears to be idle.


Switching to high performance mode is important to do anyway on any PC recording audio. The sticking point with having whole 16 tracks appear when you push record or overdub is that audacity records the noise floor on all of the unused tracks which uses a processing power. You can avoid that though by muting the unused tracks which does seem to save resources. Or you could use another smaller USB interface that has only two inputs and use that as the input for your overdubs which should work pretty well.
One other point of interest, if I remember correctly on Berringer’s website they list audacity as included recording software.

If you mute the unwanted tracks that appear when recording, they still record the noise floor, don’t they? You’re just saying that when overdubbing, muting all but the tracks you want to play helps save resources?

I’m not sure why muting tracks would save resources when not overdubbing.


From what I’ve seen if you hit mute “within Audacity on the mixer screen” the unused recording tracks that appear when you hit “record”, that it does not record the noise floor. This way even though 16 tracks (in the case of the Tascam 16x08) appear you can mute them and only record the new track that you want to add to your project.
I’ve also noticed that my file size (.aup files) goes down if I mute, during recording, unwanted tracks.

Thanks for replying. I am not totally clear if you mean that you are manually muting each new track that you don’t want to record. If your Solo button preference in Tracks Preferences is set to “Multi-Track”, you might be able to save time by using Tracks > Mute All Tracks then just press Solo on the tracks that you need (Solo over-rides Mute).

With standard two channel recording devices that I’ve ever seen, muted tracks record regardless, even if append recording into two separate mono tracks and muting one of the tracks.

Perhaps some might expect muting the track being recorded to make it record silence (flat line). Is that what happens for you, or does Audacity not draw the flat line on the tracks that don’t record?


Well I guess I’m not so sure now Gale, it appeared to me that if I did not mute the unused tracks during recording (overdubbing or adding a new take) that Audacity would run very slow or not at all.
Lets go over the scenario again.
When I push record I see 16 tracks on the screen, the Tascam is a 16 channel interface. I record the band using 9-10 individual tracks and the other ones are ignored. When I work with my project file I delete the unused tracks and end up with a project file that has 9 or 10 tracks.
If the singer, guitar player, etc, are not happy with their performance I can open the project file, mute the particular track they want to do again, push record on Audacity which causes the original tracks to play.
At the same time since I have hit record, I now have 16 additional tracks displayed, all recording even though I am not using all of them. So at that point I have 16 new tracks as well as the original tracks from the project file, for a total of approx. 25 tracks. My experience doing that is it may record for a short while but usually causes Audacity to lock up or otherwise quit. If I mute the unused tracks individually it appears to work correctly without causing Audacity to lock up.
So I concluded that if I did not mute the unused tracks then it must be recording the low level noise from the hardware which is using more PC resources. I may be wrong though. And I suspect a faster PC would help too.
In the end it is easier to simply use a small 2 channel usb interface for overdubs since I am only adding 2 more tracks to the existing project file. And thanks for pointing out the “mute all tracks” feature, I had never noticed that before.

I think a few other people have said that muting redundant tracks that are being recorded might help prevent lockups, but I am not sure what the mechanism is if as I suspect the tracks are still recording.

You can try selecting content in the recorded track after you muted it then Effect > Amplify… . If “New Peak Amplitude (dB)” says -Infinity, then Audacity just padded silence and did not record. But if “New Peak Amplitude (dB)” is a number, then you actually recorded the noise floor.



I have been using Audacity for a very long time on stereo tracks and would like to see if it is possible to can make it work multi-channel with my mixer.
It is a QSC touchmix Pro-30 mixer with Windows drivers on Windows 10.

If Wasapi is chosen as driver model in Audacity, the Touchmix can be chosen in the device list and 32 numbers appear in the channels list.

First question: Is there supposed to be a way to find out which channel a track is assigned to?
I have read that we cannot assign a track to a channel, but can we tell which track the program assigns it to?

All works OK in stereo MME and DirectSound. But when Wasapi is chosen, an error gets generated on pressing record:
“Error opening sound device: try changing host, device and project sample rate”.

Second question: Is there anything to try to see if Audacity can record multichannel with this mixer, or is this the end?


Well, I guess I will answer my own question.

It was just a matter of setting the “output” driver to something else than the QSC mixer.
For some reason, Audacity didn’t like to have the same driver for input and output.
It recorded fine after that; 32 tracks simultaneously, how about that!!!

One can’t check the assignments to tracks because the tracks are non-existant before you record.
In other programs, you must create the track first before recording to it; not the case in Audacity.
I keep forgetting that because I normally don’t record in Audacity, until now, that is.
Audacity creates one track per channel when you click record and I am assuming that they are created sequentially from 1 to 32.

So you can add QSC Touchmix Pro-30 mixer to your list of interfaces that work multi-channel with Audacity.


Thanks for the feedback madoues.