ZoomAudioDevice and Audacity

Our school was big on Zoom Conferencing during e-learning and it seems to have created a conflict with Audacity. A “ZoomAudioDevice” now appears under the students’ microphone selections. We tried multiple options today – either their built-in MacBook Air microphone or a BlueSnowball USB – but no option would work for recording. This is while the Zoom app is closed and quit, not active. The microphones all appear as inputs on their laptops under the System Preferences menu, but they just will not record within Audacity.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? I’ve looked around on a few blogs and How-To videos, but can’t seem to find a fix.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

BlueSnowball USB

On the same computer, right?

I have a conspiracy theory about that. If I was Zoom, I would make it so the users couldn’t mess with the microphone.

Zoom’s product is not the software. It’s the ability to hold perfect, clear conferences with many multiple people. To do that, they have to hold a death grip on the sound services in each machine. Skype did the same thing. There is no creating extra sound pathways to record the show. That would drive the Zoom developers nuts trying to track down all the possible causes for feedback, noise, and distortion.

Far easier just forbid everybody access.

Skype had the ability to record a conference, both sides, on their servers. Does Zoom have such a process?

You can get the teacher to record the lesson on their phone or other recorder—not the Zoom machine.


I’m not kidding.

Make sure you know where your smartphone microphone is and what voice recording app you have and how it works. This one has Voice Memo and the microphone is on the back of the phone.

This is where everybody’s waiting for me to urge you to put soundproofing or towels or blankets on the desk. No. Not this time. This is a microphone trick where you use the bare, hopefully quiet desk to magnify the sound. The rest of the room should be dead quiet.

And yes, this does run into the conflict of needing to use headphones for the best Zoom call and not using headphones to make the recording. This, too works best with a very quiet, echo-free room.



This is a voice recording I made in a crowded restaurant just like that. Lay the phone on the table microphone up.

No Academy Awards here, but the basic recording worked. This technique arrived in a book on sound recording decades old.


Ah! A poor man’s boundary microphone!

– Bill

A poor man’s boundary microphone!

Exactly correct. As long as the desk isn’t moving or shaking and in this case, the laptop doesn’t decide to take off and starting loudly cooling itself, it will record the room without too much trouble.

Depending on the form-factor of the microphone, you might get very slight tonal shifting, but that pales in the face of advantages: it keeps the directional characteristics of the microphone and doubles the recording volume.

This is a lavalier or chest microphone jiggered into Pressure Zone form.

Here it is finished with a coat of paint. DO NOT paint the microphone. That’s flat black, high temperature grill paint. Stable and wears like rocks.

That’s layers of heavy black felt (Duvetyne) underneath for sound isolation.


Found it. Here’s one with a Shure rock band microphone.

I drilled a hole part-way through the board so the microphone will sit a little lower and not roll around. This was a job where I had to record a room and couldn’t hang anything.