Problem recording mono - maybe linked to zoomaudiodevice

Mac mini with apple silicon & Big Sur
Audacity 3.03
Focusrite 2i2 + Shure sm58

I am trying to record a mono track, but just getting a flat line. If I switch to stereo, I get a recording on just one of the two tracks. The problem started when I was on Audacity 2.42. I upgraded, but no improvement.
I have checked in system preferences that the 2i2 is permitted for sound input, and audacity is permitted access to the use the mic.

Coincidentally(?) audacity defaults to showing ‘Zoomaudiodevice’ as the input. There is no problem changing this to the Focusrite, but I’ve never seen it before and wonder if it matters?

I know I can mix stereo down to mono, but I want to solve this issue, so can anyone help?

I know I can mix stereo down to mono

But you may not want to. Is your valuable work on the “right” (bottom) side of the stereo track? That’s why it’s vanishing. In General, the Left side of a track is considered “Mono.”

When you mix down, the system automatically reduces the volume by half (-6dB) to “make room” in case the same work appears on both sides and adds up. Far better to Split Stereo To Mono using the drop-down menu on the left and delete the dead track.

The problem started when I was on Audacity 2.42.

That’s a problem because there was no Audacity 2.42. There was a 2.4.2. That’s important because Third Party Developers can issue their own versions of Audacity and they tend to have oddball version numbers.

So you may be on the forum for a program you don’t have.

There is no problem changing this [zoomaudiodevice] to the Focusrite, but I’ve never seen it before and wonder if it matters?

Probably. Zoom takes over your audio services when it runs. It’s not “your” computer any more. You can have it after Zoom gets done.

If you are recording a podcast or interview over Zoom, it is Strongly Recommended that you let Zoom do it. Zoom will produce sound files of your performance on its servers including split files for the participants if you want.

It’s also strongly recommended that you all wear headphones, earphones, or earbuds during the show. Most if not all of the Zoom sound distortion comes from trying to split the receive and transmit room sound at each location. If the room never hears the far side, Zoom doesn’t have to do that and all that honky distortion goes away (for the user wearing headphones).


Yes, indeed it is. I don’t understand why this should be, though. I used to be able to record in mono (on my old macbook pro running High Sierra). Is it a Big Sur thing?

Thank you! I didn’t know that. Very much still learning!

Sorry, it was 2.4.2. So I think I’m in the right place. Apologies

At least I now know how to successfully split stereo, so I have a workaround. Thank you!

It could be a Focusrite thing. Is your SM58 plugged into the left channel or the right channel of your 2i2?

Until we solve the problem, the quick fix is to select “Split stereo to mono” from the track dropdown menu, then delete the empty track.

I just want to apologise - since posting this I’ve had not one but two bereavements, and been swamped with looking after elderly relatives, making arrangements etc. Please don’t think I didn’t value your advice.

So: I had the mic plugged into the left input on the Focusrite. Changing it to the right input made no difference. I got by using your tip on splitting rather than mixing stereo (big thanks). Since then, a semi-breakthrough - I found a newer version of Audacity (3.0.3) and I will try with that, and report back.