no mic input level at all

I am using an imac with mountain lion OS v10.8.5 and am using Audacity v2.0.5.i have imported a pre-recorded music bed and want to record a voiceover track using an m-audio firewire solo recording interface. for what its worth, the mic is a shure sm 58. in audacity my input is set to the FW Solo and the mono input channel. i have no level whatsoever. i do get a level when it is set to the computer’s built in mic. i have already verified that i am getting a good level from the external mic in system preferences - so that is not the problem.

i have searched this forum, tutorials and the manual for some real basic trouble shooting info but nothing addresses the specific problem of not getting any input at all. it seems it must be something very simple but i can’t tell what that might be. also, everything works just fine in garage band with the m audio set up. just not audacity.

thank you.

was having that problem too! I hoped you got an answer so I could as well but since you didn’t, I’ll tell you what I figured out. My input levels in the top setting bar were turned all the way down (no idea why).
Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 7.33.24 PM.png
This is what I changed - look at the microphone image on your app to see if it looks like this.

my input level is up.
audacity screen shot.png

I assume you are putting the Shure in the Microphone input #1.

Try setting the Firewire Solo up properly in /Applications/Audio MIDI Setup. On the “Input” side, choose 1ch and the exact same sample rate that you have in “Project Rate” bottom left of Audacity.


if the attached image of my mac’s devices set up is what you are talking about, i can’t change anything but the master. the other channels are grayed out. i am using channel 1 on the firewire itself. sample rate is same in audacity as in the set up for my mac devices.
Audio MIDI screen shot.png

Firewire Solo does not support later than OS X 10.7.4 according to their site, but you should make sure you have the latest drivers available .

What you could try in Audacity is choosing “4 input channels” in Device Toolbar, then closing the three empty channels after recording.

M-Audio support resources may be found at .


if there was an incompatibility between the Mac OS and the driver i have installed for the m audio firewire solo, wouldn’t that mean that it wouldn’t work with garage band (mac audio mixing app) also? it works fine with GB, the problem seems to be exclusive to audacity. if anyone knows why one works but not the other, i would love to learn why. i am going to try your suggestion about using the 4 input channels option and see how that goes.

i didn’t think to check for an updated driver since it worked with GB however, i did look at the m-audio website and you are most definitely correct. hard to understand why m-audio didn’t update the driver for support beyond snow leopard since apple ceased to support that OS a few months ago. however i am going to check out elsewhere about any known issues between m-audio firewire solo drivers and mountain lion.

thank you!

Audacity and GarageBand are different applications. Garageband is written by Apple for OS X.

Audacity is a cross-platform application meant for Windows and Linux as well as OS X. Being free, it relies on many different cross-platform open source libraries to make it work.

It’s almost the only other suggestion I have at the moment, given it seems you can’t change the channels in Audio MIDI Setup. Audacity can’t choose a specific channel of four channels being sent, so you have to get it to record all four including the empty ones.

Also you could try opening Quality Preferences and change Default Sample Format to 24-bit to match Audio MIDI Setup.


thanks for the help. it is getting to be too much of a hassle. i’m not much of a techie when it comes to computers - audio equipment and signal flow is one thing, once the system is integrated into a computer my head explodes. as long as my m-audio works in garage band i guess i am stuck with that on my imac. i only get a single channel using the 4 channel option with audacity. i checked the m-audio community forum and learned that m-audio is under new ownership and the firewire solo is no longer being supported - they have no intention of ever updating the drivers for that model. too bad the hardware works fine. its just strange to me that even when i click on system preferences and open the m-audio control panel it says my mac doesn’t even recognize it is connnected - yet it still works in garage band.

if i want to use audacity and the m audio i still have a lap top using snow leopard - i’ll just use that
m-audio control panel screen shot.png

Does that channel have a decent recorded signal level? If so that is what I would expect - you will record the single channel you have connected (the mic) and then three empty channels.

Your device is obviously not really supported on that machine. But it probably “kind of works” in GarageBand because GarageBand is expressly written for OS X and when you update the version of OS X, the version of GarageBand gets updated (if necessary) with the operating system.

Also you can still save the GarageBand recording as AIFF (which is lossless) then edit it in Audacity. You may need to share the GarageBand recording to iTunes, then drag the AIFF from iTunes to Audacity.


yes, i did get a decent signal on the one channel. i can work with that. thanks for all your advice Gale, i really appreciate it