reduce bass pulse from spotify recordings

Goal: record tracks playing in Spotify, directly from computer, to edit in Audacity to create short clips

Setup: Macbook Pro (OS X 10.7), Audacity 2.0.2, Spotify Premium (yes, the paid version), Logitech G330 Headset (, Sennheiser HD555 headphones, male-to-male AUX cable of unknown brand

Currently, an aux cable is plugged into both the headphone and microphone jacks, and all sound input and output is mapped to go through those jacks (in both Audacity and System Preferences). I hit Record in Audacity, play the song in Spotify, and everything is successfully recorded.

However, playing the recording back in Audacity yields an obnoxious bass distortion. It tends to pulse every other (which, while somewhat cool, is ruining the recording). I’ve messed with the Equalization tool, but I can’t seem to remove just the pulse/thumps…unless I mute EVERY bass frequency, the pulse remains. (And if I do mute everything, then I only have the high ends to work with, which also sounds terrible.) It may be worth mentioning that the Sennheisers are plugged into the Logitech adaptor’s headphone jack whenever playback is initiated (in unrelated circumstances, the Macbook’s headphone jack was ruined).

Playing back in Audacity WITHOUT headphones in, however, sounds normal. Exporting the file to a WAV does not eliminate the pulses/thumping. The pulses are too long for the repair tool to take care of…I believe.

Any ideas? Or better “record directly from computer” software recommendations? I love that Audacity’s free, but if it’s not gonna get the job done, I’ll do what needs to be done.

The traditional way to record What’s Playing on your Mac is SoundFlower.

SoundFlower is a “fake” device that looks like a speaker to internet music, but looks like a microphone to Audacity. Everybody’s happy, although you do have to be careful with volume controls and settings because you are using recursive sound pathways and can get unpredictable settings. You don’t want to get the “poit, poit, poit” sound in your show. You may find that external speakers with independent volume controls are very handy.


It may be proper for us to mention the Spotify Terms and Conditions of use:

  1. Restrictions of use

For the avoidance of doubt, you agree that you may not (without limitation):

copy, reproduce, “rip”, record, make available to the public or otherwise use any part of the Spotify Software Application or the Spotify Service or its content (including but not limited to tracks, images and text) in a manner not expressly permitted under this Agreement;

(recording Spotify may also be illegal in some countries).

If the bass is clipping then you need to reduce the input level.

If the bass is not clipped but too loud in places you could try a multiband compressor, e.g. which can attenuate the bass only when it gets above a volume threshold.

Thanks Koz! Soundflower did the trick.