It's pretty easy to record audio on Mac from an external source, and your computer microphone comes in handy in this case. Apps like Audacity, QuickTime, AudioNote, GarageBand, and Simple Recorder are audio recorders on Mac. What about when you want to record computer audio on Mac? Say, during a live stream or a video call session, are there options available on a computer Mac to get this done? Yes, there are quite a few available options for you to get this done. The prospect that comes to mind most readily is the Mac built-in tool for screen recording. However, this option has limitations, one of which is the fact that it lacks advanced video-editing functions. This article will discuss other possible free options on how to record audio on the Mac system other than your inbuilt tool. These options include Movavi Screen Recorder, Voice Memos, QuickTime, Soundflower, GarageBand.
How to Record Audio on Mac with Movavi Screen Recorder
Best for: capturing sound from streaming videos, webinars, and online calls
Movavi Screen Recorder is a great free application for screen recording on your MacBook. It is capable of recording audios and videos either as a combination or independent of each other. You can also use it to make basic and advanced edits to these recordings. As a voice recorder for Mac, Movavi Screen Recorder can record either system sound or sound from the external environment through the system's microphone, independent of the screen recording. While the free version of Movavi Screen Recorder can help you record high-quality audio, you will need to purchase the paid version if you want access to additional features.
Movavi Screen Recorder is best for its ease of use and advanced editing properties.
How to record sound on Mac using Movavi Screen Recorder:
Step 1. Install and Run the Program
Download and install Movavi Screen Recorder. The app is compatible with Mac OS Х 10.10 and higher.
Step 2. Start Recording
Run the program and click the Screen recording button on the control panel on the right. During the screen capture, you can record sound as well: voice memos, system audio, music from websites, or microphone input.
Step 3. Adjust the Audio Capture Settings
You will be prompted to choose a screen area to capture. You won't actually need it to do audio recording, so just select a random area.
Make sure the System Audio button is highlighted if you want to record audio from your computer in Mac OS. If you’re going to capture audio from a Mac microphone, enable the Microphone option. You can do both voice recording and record from system audio.
Step 4. Record Audio
Get ready to start playing the audio you want to capture and click REC. You can manage the process by clicking the appropriate buttons on the recording panel. You can also use hotkeys: ⌥ ⌘ 1 to pause and ⌥ ⌘ 2 to stop.
After you finish recording, a preview window will appear. Here, you can replay your audio and cut out any unnecessary parts. To remove a section from the middle of your recording, click Cut, set the markers at the beginning and at the end of the section you want to delete, and then click the Delete button. Repeat if needed.
Step 5. Save the Result
Your audio track is recorded as well as screen activity, but you can save it as just an audio file. To do this, click Export, select MP3 from the format list, and click Save.
Pros of using Movavi Screen Recorder
- It is a highly simplified and convenient recording tool
- It has automatic scheduled recording and shutdown options
- It has advanced editing features
Cons of using Movavi Screen Recorder
- You cannot directly access previously recorded videos from the application
How to Use Voice Memos as a Voice Recorder for Mac
Best for: quick sound recording
Voice Memos is a sound capturing application exclusive to OS X devices – MacBook (Air, Pro), iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. It can record external audio via Bluetooth headset, compatible external microphone, or inbuilt microphone, and it can also record the system's audio. It is also able to edit recordings, share and synchronize your recordings across all your devices. Its added advantage is the ability to play your recording on any device you log into iCloud with the same Apple ID.
The Voice Memos app is best for its synchronicity across all Apple devices.
How to record audio on Mac with Voice Memos:
- Locate the Voice Memos app: Voice Memos app is preinstalled in all MacBooks with Mac OS Mojave 10.14 and higher. To locate the app, search for it using Siri or locate it in your application folder. If you will be using this app quite frequently, it is advisable to dock it by dragging its icon to the dock and selecting the keep in dock option.
- Start recording: To initiate a new recording, click on the red button in the app’s lower central part. The click will lead to the interface’s transformation to a waveform that indicates the recording’s pace. During recording sessions, it is possible to pause the recording by clicking on the pause icon on the lower left border. Click on the same button to resume your recording.
- Finish recording: To complete the recording, click on the done button on the lower right corner of your system window.
- Save your recording: Your recording will be automatically saved and accessible from the folder destination.
It is possible to access recorded files directly by opening the Voice Memos app. You can also add to or edit the recording by clicking on the file menu, then selecting the Edit function at the top-right corner. You can also clip a recording or re-record undesired segments of the clip from within the Voice Memos app.
To share your recording with others, click the Share icon (a box with an arrow pointing up out of it) in the top-right corner and select how to want to send it to your friends and colleagues.
Pros of using Voice Memos
- You can use it across multiple devices
- It's pretty simple to use
- It can utilize multiple sources of connectivity
Cons of using Voice Memos
- It has limited editing capability
How to Record Sound on Mac with QuickTime Player and Soundflower
Best for: everyday multimedia playback
QuickTime Player is the inbuilt multimedia application for your MacBook; added to its plethora of functions is its ability to capture your device’s screen via a screenshot or a recording. Since it is an inbuilt application, it does not require a download to work on your device. Beyond its screen recording function, QuickTime Player is also used to record audio and play videos. However, to guard against copyright infringement, QuickTime Player cannot register your device’s internal audio by itself, and it usually requires another application: it usually requires another application: Soundflower, which functions as an add-on. One other drawback of QuickTime is its limited capabilities – it reduces recording's qualities and the lack of any editing feature in the application.
QuickTime is best for its ease of use as an everyday multimedia player on MacBook.
How to record system sound on Mac using QuickTime Player:
- Download and install Soundflower: Soundflower is free software that allows you to redirect sound from one device to another easily. Once installed, you must restart the computer. Then, in the system preferences of Mac OS, in the sound settings, two new peripherals appeared, in input as in output (Soundflower (2ch) and Soundflower (64ch)). By choosing the Soundflower (2ch) output device instead of the speakers, it is possible to redirect the computer’s sound to an input device. So all you have to do is record the sound of this input device. Once the installation package is downloaded, run it to install the extension.
- Change your preferences: Open your device's preferences, click on sound, then output. You notice there are four options: internal speakers, headphones, Soundflower (2ch), and Soundflower (64ch). A little explanation is needed here; before the installation of the Soundflower extension. These options were just limited to the first two, and the installation brought them to four. You need to select Soundflower (2ch). The downside of choosing sunflower is that your device’s speaker won’t as long as the option remains selected. Ensure that the preference is changed back to internal speakers after you have recorded your audio.
- Record the audio: Open your QuickTime Player app, click on File, then New Audio Recording. Then click on the Record button to record the audio from your device and click on the dark grey square and select a location to save it once you are done.
PS: Remember to change your device's preference back to internal speakers to listen to your audio.
However, recording your voice or any audio from an external source involves a pretty straightforward process without the need for an extension. The process is as follows:
- Confirm your System Settings: To record from an external source, your system output needs to be set to either internal speakers or headphones. It should be confirmed by opening your device's preferences, click on Sound, then Output.
- Record your audio: To record your audio, open QuickTime and select a new audio recording from the file menu. Then press the red button to start recording.
- Save your recording: Once the recording is complete, stop the recording and save the audio to your computer or upload it to the cloud.
Pros of QuickTime Player
- It is readily accessible for MacBook users
- Its compatibility with iPad and iPhone makes it possible to initiate the recording process on any of these devices
- It comes at no additional cost to the user
Cons of QuickTime Player
- Since recordings cannot be tested while recording, it is impossible to confirm if the correct audio is being recorded or if the recording is of adequate quality
How to Record Voice on Mac Using GarageBand
Best for: music production
GarageBand is an app that enables you to record, play and share your music wherever you are. Developed by Apple, the application allows for its users to create music or podcasts. It has sophisticated audio recording functions, which makes it ideal for use by podcasters and music creators. Some of these features include auto-filter functions, the ability to record at 16-bit or 24 bit, the ability to simulate auto-tune effects at their highest volume, preset effects to enhance the quality of recording produced.
GarageBand's capabilities range from recording multiple audio tracks with filters that realistically simulate sampled instruments to simple voice recordings. GarageBand files can be exported in various formats and shared in a podcast; with an iPod, iPhone, or iPad, sent via email; or streamed over the Internet.
Its advantage over others is its advanced recording features, making it more suitable for podcasting and music production.
How to record voice on Mac using GarageBand:
- Download and install GarageBand: Usually, MacBook is preinstalled with GarageBand. However, if it is missing, you can download it. Install the app by running the installation package.
- Start GarageBand: Once fully installed, locate the app on your device using Siri or from your application folder. Once the application is started, you will be required to select from a list of templates, select anyone that suits your purpose. You should also create an empty project and add a new track. Ensure you select the Record option in your track.
- Change your preferences: To use a GarageBand to record your system's audio, you have to select the right preferences. You can do this while creating a project or adding a new track. However, this can also be done by clicking on GarageBand, then Preferences, then Audio/Midi. A box is displayed which contains the input device and output device, among other things. Irrespective of the method used, ensure that you change the input device option to built-in input and the output device to built-in output.
- Record: To start recording, ensure what you will like to register is playing already. You can increase the input signal using the recording level slider to a reasonable level where it can pick up the sound of adequate quality. Then click on the red circle to start recording.
- Save your recording: To stop recording, click on the red square. You can save your recording using the file menu. There are also options to export your recording to iTunes, SoundCloud, AirDrop, and MP3.
Pros of using GarageBand
- Easy to learn and use
- It is completely free
- It possesses sophisticated audio recording options
Cons of using GarageBand
- It lacks advanced editing features compared to other software
Conclusion: How to Choose the Best Audio Recorder on Mac
The four application options discussed above for capturing system sounds can be summarized thus:
Voice Memos can record external audio via Bluetooth headset, compatible external microphone, or inbuilt microphone, and it can also record the system's audio. It is also able to edit recordings, share and synchronize your recordings across all your devices. Its added advantage is the ability to play your recording on any device you are logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID.
QuickTime can capture the screen of your device via a screenshot or a recording. Since it is an inbuilt application, it does not require a download to work on your device. Beyond its screen recording function, quick time is also used to record audio and play videos. However, to guard against copyright infringement, QuickTime cannot record your device’s internal audio by itself, and it usually requires another application: Soundflower, which functions as an extension. This makes it a pretty cumbersome application to use.
GarageBand enables its users to create music or podcasts. It has sophisticated audio recording functions, which makes it ideal for use by podcasters and music creators. However, it lacks significant editing functions.
Movavi Screen Recorder records audios and videos either as a combination or independent of each other. It can also be used to make basic and advanced edits to these recordings. For its audio recording purposes, Movavi Screen Recorder is capable of recording either system sound or sound from the external environment through the system's microphone, independent of the screen recording. However, one drawback is that its full functionality is only in a paid version? However, the real question to be answered is it worth its cost? Considering its performance relative to other apps, it's worth its full price, and for the purpose of this review, it will be voted the best among these options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best recorder for a Mac?
The best recorder is one that can record both internal and external audio without any stress. Voice Memos is capable of recording external audio via Bluetooth headset, compatible external microphone, or inbuilt microphone, and it can also record the system's audio with the added advantage of the ability to play your recording on any device in which you are logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID. QuickTime Player can capture the screen of your device via a screenshot or a recording; however, it usually requires another application: Soundflower, which functions as an extension. GarageBand has sophisticated audio recording functions, which makes it ideal for use by podcasters and music creators. Movavi Screen Recorder records audios and videos either as a combination or independent of each other; it is capable of recording either system sound or sound from the external environment through the system's microphone, independent of the screen recording.
How do I record internal audio on my Mac?
Recording audio from an external source is quite different from trying to record the device's internal audio; while most audio applications can do the former, relatively fewer applications have the capacity to do the latter. The best ways to record internal audio from your system include Movavi Screen Recorder, QuickTime, or OBS. You can read more about recording internal audio on your Mac below.
How do I record audio from Safari on a Mac?
One question on the mind of those who use the Safari web browser regularly on a Mac device is it possible to record audio from the internet through Safari to my Mac device while streaming? The answer is yes. To get started, you will need to download Soundflower. Once installed, restart the computer. Then, select Soundflower (2ch) output device instead of the speakers in the system preferences of Mac OS in the sound settings. Once you have Soundflower set up on your system, open your Safari, hold down the ALT button of your keyboard and simultaneously click the Volume icon on your menu bar. This should be done until a menu is displayed. In the menu, select Soundflower (2ch) as the input and output device of your browsers. Once this is done, you can use your QuickTime or any other audio recording application available on your device to record the audio playing from your Safari.
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