Sound in all other programs, but suddenly none in Audacity!

I think it’s time to involve The Developers.

I launched Audacity 2 on my OS-X 10.6.8 Mac and turned the Audacity “Speaker Icon” slider down to zero. I got a very similar symptom to SenorN. I had bouncing meters and blue waves and no speaker sound at all.

I closed Audacity like that and killed the speaker sound on my Mac.

All of it.

FireFox, Safari, QuickTime, iTunes, Audio-Midi Setup, System Preferences and toolbar speaker slider were all adjusted normally and silent. I didn’t try restarting, but I did start Audacity and pushed the speaker slider back to normal. All the Mac Application speaker sound came back to life including Audacity.


Nobody seems to have asked the obvious question: is the output volume turned up in the Mixer Toolbar or is it down at zero?

His, yes. That was checked in this message…

Although SenorN didn’t directly respond that it was turned up. That would be good. Also, Get SenorN to post the screenshot of a normal show.

Mine was turned down when I closed Audacity.


My apologies. That one didn’t register when I read through the dialogue.

None needed. I’ve read through this at least three times trying to keep all the circumstances and conditions in my head. I’ve spoken to SenorN in PM and said how pleased we were that he wanted to continue to troubleshoot this with us. He said he’s willing.

I tried the Speaker Volume Controls on two different Macs and they’re both broken slightly different ways. I think the Output Module makes some unfortunate assumptions and now that we have repeatable hardware failures, we should be able to nail it down.

Are you on Windows? Launch anything that makes noise and then launch Audacity 2. Run the Speaker slider all the way down and minimize Audacity. Do Not touch any volume controls. Try to play the other program. Is it silent?


Hi Koz,
Yes, I’m on Windows (7 Home Premium 64-bit). I followed those instructions precisely and no, it wasn’t silent. The music played fine (via Windows Media Player). I then went a couple of steps further. I opened an Audacity project, soloed one track, took the speaker slider back up to full and pressed “Play”. I now had both lots of sound coming through the speakers at the same time: that from WMP and that from Audacity. The soundcard is Realtek HD Audio.

Cool. So this may be a Mac thing. I’ll have many more machines to mess with at work.
But back to the thread. Why would one Windows install of Audacity be silent – and right after a Windows Update?

If the machine has both motherboard audio and a separate audio card, is it possible that the Windows update has switched the “default” audio from one to the other - and this other is muted or disabled? I’m clutching at straws here. I’ve never come across anything like this before?

Neither have we. That’s what’s so strange about this. Apparently, everything is set correctly and all the other services on the machine work perfectly…but Audacity is silent. Reinstalling – correctly – doesn’t help.

By the way, this problem exists over multiple time zones, so nobody is jumping in the car to resolve this and the actual user with the problem is not technically savvy.

That’s why it got my attention when I started having speaker problems and I asked you about how Windows handles speaker sound. Under Windows, it’s perfectly natural have Audacity silent and the other services work perfectly. This lead directly to getting a screen capture of the errant computer desktop.

Odd that we haven’t heard back from SenorN.


Patience is a virtue. Let’s wait for the man!

I think that is probably expected (and I can replicate it too on Mac). It’s intended (by the developers) that Audacity directly controls the output level of the sound device, and it usually will for an inbuilt device.

If you want the Audacity output slider to be a software control like in Windows Media Player or iTunes, that’s a Feature Request.


As above, Audacity will usually directly control the machine’s output volume, though not always (it does control it on my Win 7 netbook, but not on the laptop). All my sound drivers are appropriate (made by computer or motherboard manufacturer).

Windows Vista/7 are more complex because they have per-application sliders in the system mixer, but the Audacity output slider does not directly control its own application slider, only the master system slider.

If the Audacity output slider does not control the master system slider, it just scales up to whatever volume the master system slider is at (so if the master slider is off, there is no Audacity volume at all).


I think that is probably expected (and I can replicate it too on Mac). It’s intended (by the developers) that Audacity directly controls the output level of the sound device, and it usually will for an inbuilt device.

Does your Mac sound come back after you close Audacity? On one machine it does and on one (the one I’m typing on) it doesn’t. The instant you touch a control or slider after Audacity closes on the laptop, the sound comes back and the machine carries on as if nothing had happened. On the Mac Mini, the sound remains defeated no matter which controls you adjust or what is selected. All the icons and graphics indicate I ought to be listening to music and I’m not. I can’t believe that’s normal. I’m searching for another instance of this behavior.

What could cause that service or control to linger after Audacity closes?


A Mac Mini is what I have and like on yours, the sound cannot be got back without restarting Audacity and turning its output volume up.


Wouldn’t that qualify as a bug? Unintentional undesirable behavior easily repeatable on more than one machine? Koz

I apologize to Gale and Koz and any others who are working on this problem for having appeared to take so long to answer your last questions.
This is the third reply I’ve submitted in the past week providing the information below, but I see that for some reason neither of the others has appeared on the Audacity Forum. I don’t know why. In any case, thanks for your continued attention to our problem.

— the System Restore point we used was from a time before her successful AM recording and, therefore, from a time before the problem arose.

— we investigated the possibility that an automatic update from Microsoft or someone else might have changed the sound card driver; however, Device Manager says everything is working perfectly and that the card has the best available driver (it searched the Net, as well.) Also, the opportunity to roll back the driver is grayed out, indicating the card has its original driver.

… we checked the WinXP 64-bit drivers. We already have the correct ones installed. As I’ve said, the program worked without a hitch for a couple of weeks before it stopped producing sound.

… My friend didn’t close the program between the time she successfully recorded and played back three tracks (acoustic guitar and vocal melody/harmony) and the time, about three hours later, when she wanted to export the files for me in MP3 format. I don’t think she attempted to export them. I believe she just tried to listen to her morning’s work again before exporting the three tracks and couldn’t get any sound from the program, even though the output meters showed it being produced. Since that time we’ve done everything I can think of to get sound from Audacity with no luck.

—We know where the audacity.cfg file s and had already deleted and replaced it several times when Audacity was closed. We did it by editing the existing cfg file in Notepad and leaving only the first line. We also did it by deleting the original audacity.cfg and creating one from scratch. We also did it by manually removing all remaining Audacity-related fiies including .cfg after uninstalling the program, We then let Audacity create its own new config file by re-installing.

…She totally quit Skype (not running in the background), but the problem persisted. fa conflict with Skype were the problem, there would have had to have been an automatic update to Skype or Audacity that day, because she and I had used the two programs simultaneously for many hours over the preceding two weeks as I coached her on audio editing. (I see from my first message that such an update would have happened on Sunday, June 3.)

We’re wondering if we should try installing the previous version of Audacity. Will be grateful for any more ideas!

I hope I’m not being naive and failing to realize that those working on Audacity are really in it for the money, but my understanding is you are not.

If that understanding is correct, I’ll interrupt the technical discussions just to say “Thank You” to those who benefit all of us by making such a fantastic resource available FOR FREE!

Thank You.

That’s correct. We do this in our “spare time” for “fun” (we must be mad :smiley:)

Does the recent flurry of responses answer your original question or do you still have outstanding issues that you need help with?

Hello All.
I’ve actually come here looking for a solution to an identical problem!! The only difference being my O.S. is Windows Vista.
I’ve tried everything that SenorN has tried to get the sound back. Tried all the suggestions here and still nothing.
I’ve removed 2.0.0 and all it’s components and installed 1.2.3 but still no sound.
Sound output from everything else is fine.
As I said, the problem seems to be identical.
Oh and i’ve also saved and exported the recordings I couldn’t hear in Audacity as WAV files and been able to play them back in i-tunes
What I keep coming back to, the thing I find truly baffling about this, is that everything worked fine for two or three weeks then the sound went mid session.
I’m afraid here’s nothing I can contribute by way of a solution although I take a measure of comfort knowing i’m not the only person experiencing this problem.
I await any developments here with baited breath!!

Does the recent flurry of responses answer your original question or do you still have outstanding issues that you need help with?

I understand the computer is still silent when playing Audacity. We didn’t solve a thing.
I would love to figure out a way to split the system somehow. To change the system so it plays Audacity music not using the standard pathways. Even playing broken with defective sound would be welcome as we could use that to build on.

Yes, quite mad, but being from Southern California, I fit in nicely.