Recording multiple inputs simultaneously

I’ve only done the typical ‘one input’ at a time recording, but I’m looking to record multiple inputs simultaneously, and it doesn’t need to be on separate tracks. My sound card has only one input, are there any in-between type devices that allow multiple inputs?

Thanks in advance.

So long as it doesnt matter that your multiple tracks are recorded to one track in audacity you can buy a small mixing desk with say 4 inputs and record through that and have the out put going into your single sound card input (ie through the headphone jack on the desk to the line in on your soundcard.) These small desks are relatively cheap and will allow you to alter eq’s and gains etc so you can make each instrument or whatever you are doing sound just as you want it before it goes into audacity. this means less effort later. ive seen such mixing desks for a couple of hundred bucks in australia (dont know where you live).

I have a yamaha mini disk 4 track and while im writing songs and the’re in rough draft i use the 4 track as a mixing desk and run it into audacity through the headphone output on the 4 track into the line in on the computer. this way i dont waste my mini disks making mistakes. I can record multiple tracks simultaneously to one audacity track doing it this way.

there are probably other ways for you to do what you want to do and no doubt others will have more options for you.

Good information, thanks. I have an old 4-track that I’ll use in the very manner you just described.

I am unable to record from more than 2 microphones (using a mixer). When I define preferences Audio I/O to 4 channels and try to record, I receive the error message “Error while opening sound device. Please check the input device settings and the project sample rate”. I would appreciate help and advice!

simgold, you’ll have to tell us what your hardware setup is like.

Many USB mixers send only the final stereo mix to the computer. However, many FireWire mixers can send all their inputs.

I wish the companies that make USB mixers were more upfront about the limitations of the USB standard.

I am throwing a hypothetical question to get a feed back: Is there any method to record multiple tracks to multiple tracks in Audacity and does it require a special kind of sound card :ugeek: ?


As far as i am aware audacity does not have this cabability.
Anyone who knows otherwise feel free to tell me i’m wrong :laughing:



The only way this works for me is because the output from the mixer is from the headphone jack so it is only one channel that is going into audacity, i.e whatever you hear in the headphone (ie 2 channels) is being transfered to audacity through one channel (headphone to line in). you shouldnt have to do anything special except select Audio I/O as line in. this should send your 2 microphones into audacity but i again emphasise that audacity will record it as one track not two.

Then in Audacity Preferences/Recording, there is choice for up to 16 channels; What does channels signify here?


goony, it’s unclear what you mean by “multiple tracks to multiple tracks”.

Do you mean multiple sources to multiple tracks? Where “multiple” means more than 2?

If so, yes. It’s up to your hardware to provide all these input channels. I have an M-audio Delta 1010LT card. With it, I can record up to 8 analog inputs at the same time. Each input gets it’s own separate track with no overlapping or cross-talking between them.

For hardware that can give you this kind of thing, poke around in the the ‘Recording Equipment’ forum. There are a handful of posts about this exact subject up there already.

Thank you Andy :mrgreen: !

To alatham: I have a PhonicFirefly808 mixer. The problem seems to be that under Windows(XP), the Audio / Soundrecording definition only recognizes two microphones lines at any one time. I can record on Lines1/2 or Lines 3/4, etc. Thank you.

To Alatham: I don’t understand your question. What am I to look for and where will I find it?

simgold, it doesn’t sound like that mixer’s drivers will let you access more than 2 channels at once.

If that doesn’t answer your question then I don’t understand what you’re asking me about.

Can I record simultaneously from two different devices?
For example, I have UCA202 2-channel USB input device,
and I also have a built-in sound card.
Can I record from both at once, for a total of three channels?

Audacity can only record from one device at a time.

It’s not unusual for seemingly complicated, multiple channel, super-duper audio devices to present their data in groups of two stereo channels. You may have 16 tracks indside the device, but Audacity will only see “Device One” which is channels 1 and 2, “Device Two,” which is channels 3 and 4, etc. You have to really get down there in the fine print to make sure that the device delivers a multi-channel bitstream, not just multi-channel production inside the device.

This also kills you when try to plug two USB microphone devices in at the same time. You can record one device.

Now, if you’re on a Windows machine, you can mess up the Sound Control Panel to the point where you record everything in the computer all smashed together. That’s not most people’s idea of multi-channel.


Windows users call this “Stereo Mix” or “What U Hear”. Linux users call it “Capture”. It is only available if both your sound card and its drivers support it (though you can get the same effect if your sound card has both “line in” and “line out” sockets by linking the two sockets with a suitable cable).