Seems to record only the ambient sound

I have given up on many occasions now, trying to hook up my usb turntable to my macbook and recording from that. I downloaded the latest version, followed the directions explicitly, and saved the recording as an AIFF. But when the file plays, it is extremely faint and sounds like the sound it is playing back is what the built-in microphone in the computer recorded from the ambient speaker output, rather than recording the signal coming directly from the turntable. What am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance for your help.

Start over. Close Audacity. Plug in the turntable. Let the Mac chew on it for a minute.

Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Hardware > Sound > Input. Do you see USB Thing-a-ma-bob listed anywhere in that list? It may not say turntable. It will say Something Else – but it should have “usb” in the title. USB Sound Device. Click on it.

Close those panels. Start Audacity. Using the pulldown next to the microphone, see if you can find that same USB Thingy. Click on it.

You are now recording from the turntable.

Start a temporary recording – press record – and put a record on. The music should be there and you are not recording from the Mic (you may not hear it yet).

To hear what you’re doing, you may or may not have these set already.

Audacity > Preferences > Recording. [X]Software Playthrough - select that and neither of the other two.

Back to Audacity and make sure the Speaker drop-down says Built-In-Audio or wherever you want the sound to go.

Did I lose you in any of that? What step exactly?


Hi Koz. It WORKED, so thank you very much. This willingness to help is what makes the online world unique, and I appreciate it. When I drag these AIFF files into iTunes now, the volume is much lower than other files I purchased on iTunes or copied from my CD collection. I thought that when I burned a Cd that iTunes would equalize this (I have Sound Check checked) but the volume is still much lower than other cuts on the CD. Can I adjust volume in Audacity when I record the file from my usb turntable?

You probably cannot adjust the input volume because Macs do not permit this for most USB devices.

Read the Manual for the USB turntable to see if it has a knob to turn its output volume up. Then use Effect > Amplify in Audacity before exporting. Its default - just click OK - is to make the loudest part as loud as can be without distortion.

The real question is - do the LP’s sound as loud on the turntable as the CD’s you purchased recently? Probably not, due to the CD Loudness War .

If the Amplify effect does not make the recordings loud enough, you can do what is done in the loudness war - reduce the difference between loud and soft. Audacity does this with the Compressor Effect: .


Thanks for all your help. I was able to get the result I wanted.