October 1, 2021

How to Record Internal Audio on a Mac

14 min

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Knowing how to record internal audio on Mac can be important in many situations, but Macs don't have any built-in system sound recorder of their own. Here we'll show how to record system audio on a Mac, listing 7 reliable methods you can use.

Software

Pros

Cons

Movavi Screen RecorderEasy to use; built-in editing; can isolate audioPremium version needed to access all features
QuickTimeBuilt-in with every MacNeeds add-ons for internal audio; no editing; can't record video and audio together
OBS StudioFree to use; multi-track featuresNo editing; records screen and audio together; no option to isolate audio
AudacityGreat for audio-only recording; lots of editing tools; works in many languagesExtra software required; the interface can be overwhelming; doesn't work with video
RecorditFree to use; lightweight program; useful for GIFs and short clipsNo option to isolate audio; five-minute time limit; have to pay extra for full access
Easy Audio Recorder LiteFree to use; beginner-friendly; lightweight download, MacQuite basic; lacks features
ScreenflickBeginner-friendly; lots of features; high-quality recordingsNo option to isolate audio; not free to use

Special pick: Movavi Screen Recorder

Our special pick from the table above is Movavi Screen Recorder. The program allows its users to grab their microphone, webcam and system sounds, choose the date and time for the screen capture to start, and make simple edits. Movavi Screen Recorder is easy to use, even for beginners, and the trial version is free.

To see what customers think of Movavi Screen Recorder, follow the link below to see a review:

Read the review by G2

How to record system audio on a Mac with Movavi Screen Recorder

Movavi Screen Recorder is a simple, free, and easy-to-use application you can download and use on Mac for recording both video and audio from your Mac's screen. It offers fast capture, with various parameters that let you customize the capture area and grab system audio with ease, as well as built-in editing features for making adjustments to your recordings, too.

Best for: Users who want to record and edit audio easily

Pros

  • Easy-to-use
  • Comes with useful editing features
  • Ability to isolate audio

Cons

  • Have to pay for premium to unlock all features

Step 1. Download and install Movavi Screen Recorder

The first step is to simply download Movavi Screen Recorder and install it on your computer. The simple instructions will guide you through the installation process, which only requires a few clicks.

Step 2. Make adjustments to recording parameters

Next, open Movavi Screen Recorder and select the recording option in the program's sidebar. To record internal audio, deactivate the icons for Webcam and Microphone. Leave the System Audio button on, which should be green. While the program will record the screen along with your audio track, you will be able to save the audio track on its own when finalizing the recording.

To begin recording, click on REC and switch on your computer's audio.

Step 3. Make edits to your completed recording

After the recording has been completed, you can trim your audio to include only the sections you want to keep. All you need to do is use the Scissors and Trash Can icons to cut and remove any excess audio. With only the audio you want to save included in the final track, you're ready to save it to your computer.

Step 4. Convert and save the file to your device

To save your completed audio file, click on the Export icon and choose MP3 in the next window to save solely the audio track. Before initiating the save process, you can check to make sure you have enough space for the file by viewing File size. Then simply click on Save and wait for the file to save onto your computer.

The key advantage of Movavi Screen Recorder audio is that the original quality is maintained without unnecessary compression. It also saves files at the appropriate size to prevent users from needing to free up hard drive space to accommodate the final MP3 file. However, Movavi Screen Recorder doesn't allow you to record copy-protected video or audio streams.

How to record computer audio on a Mac with QuickTime

Another option you can consider when searching for how to record computer audio on a Mac is QuickTime. This is a built-in internal audio recorder for Mac that comes by default on every device, so you won't have to download or install it like other apps. However, if you want to use QuickTime for recording with internal audio and not just output audio coming from Mac, you'll have to download an add-on called Soundflower. This app also doesn't have many extra features like editing or the ability to record desktop audio and video together, but it's a simple and free program.

Best for: Users who want a built-in solution for recording audio on Mac

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Built-in with the Mac
  • Beginner-friendly

Cons

  • Extra software is required for internal audio capture
  • Lacks editing features
  • Can't record audio and video together

Step 1. Download and install the Soundflower app

First, you should download and install Soundflower on your device. You can download the macOS version in a zip file that you will be required to extract before installation. If you're running a newer version of macOS, you will need to change the permissions on your computer via System Preferences before you can install the program. After the program installation initially fails, in your System Preferences, go to the Security and Privacy section, and you should see a message saying that your computer blocked software by unrecognized developer Matt Ingalls. To change this, click on Allow and you will be able to try installing the program again. At this point, Soundflower should complete the installation.

Step 2. Change the audio output device

Soundflower can reroute your computer's audio, which means you can use it to change your computer's output device to record internal audio while recording with QuickTime. To change the audio output, open System Preferences on your computer and click on the Sound icon. Next, select the Output tab to pull up a list of available output devices. Soundflower should appear on that list with two different entries: Soundflower (64 ch) and Soundflower (2 ch). For your purposes, select the 2-channel version, as the 64-channel version is for more advanced applications.

Step 3. Adjust audio settings before recording

You can now open the QuickTime app and change audio settings in the File menu. In the menu, select New Screen Recording. In the next window that appears, don't press the Record button just yet. Instead, click Options on the right and set your Microphone to Soundflower (2 ch). This is so that Quicktime thinks that the internal audio is the microphone input.

Step 4. Record the video and audio

Finally, you can click Record to begin recording your video and internal audio. If a dialog box pops up and asks you for permission to access the microphone, allow it. Once your video has been recorded, change your audio output back in System Preferences to the default setting.

If you want to record audio on its own, you don't need Soundflower at all. Simply take these steps to record an isolated audio track using QuickTime:

Step 1. Check your computer's settings

To begin, open System Preferences and click on the Sound icon and select the appropriate output device, which can be either Headphones or Internal Speakers.

Step 2. Begin recording

Now, open QuickTime and choose New Audio Recording from the dropdown File menu. You'll then see a capturing panel appear on the screen. Here, beside the Start button, you'll see another dropdown menu that allows you to change the audio output device again. You can then press the red button to record audio.

Step 3. Save your recorded audio

Once complete, you can stop recording and save the completed file to your computer. You also have the option to upload the file to the cloud immediately, which we recommend if you want to save more space on your computer.

How to use the OBS internal audio recorder for Mac

OBS is a free and open-source piece of software for Mac and Windows devices that is popular with bloggers, streamers, and filmmakers. It can be used for recording audio and video from almost any source, both internal and external, so it can be used for capturing internal audio and system sounds. The downside with this program is that you can't use it for only recording audio; it only works to record audio and video together and you can't simply switch off the screen recording part of the process.

To see the detailed review of OBS Studio, follow the link below:

Read the review by PCWorld

Best for: Users who want to record audio and video together

Pros

  • Free and easy to use
  • Works with almost any audio source
  • Well-suited for bloggers and streamers

Cons

  • No editing
  • Forced to record audio and video together

Step 1. Install OBS Studio

You can start by downloading and installing OBS Studio on your device. The simple installation guidelines should help you get the program up and running in no time.

Download OBS Studio

Step 2. Set up a new scene and choose sources

To begin a new recording, create a new scene and give it a title of your choice. Every scene can use a combination of sources, including different audio and video. You can also create different scenes with specific templates and configurations to make future setup easier based on your personal preferences. For instance, you could have a scene setup for close-up shots using your webcam, while another is ready to record your screen with a picture-in-picture shot of your face via webcam.

When you're ready to set up your scene, you can choose the media sources to include. One of these sources will be internal audio if you want to record computer audio. To record internal audio, click on Add a New Source at the bottom of the window and choose Audio Output Capture. You can then select the default device or another output device you wish to use. If it appears to be recording sound and the meters are moving, but no sound is actually heard, you may need to download other software such as Soundflower to reroute audio on your Mac.

Before recording, you may want to check Settings to see if there are any additional customizations you want to make to your recording. For example, you can change the recording format for both audio and video, with the ability to modify file compression, streaming, resolution, and file type options.

Step 3. Record your video and audio

With everything set up in your scene and sources included, you can begin recording the video. Simply click on Start Recording toward the bottom right corner and click Stop when you're ready to complete the recording.

If your recording includes multiple sources and you have everything set up, it may be worth it to do a test recording before you begin the actual recording. This can help you avoid a lot of potential frustration if you believe everything is ready to go, only for your video or audio to go unrecorded once complete. Simply record a small amount of footage and play it back to make sure your video and audio are captured and of the right quality.

Step 4. Save the completed file

After you're finished recording, OBS Studio will automatically save your video in a new folder in your documents. You can view your recordings by clicking the File menu and then Show Recordings in the dropdown. You can also choose to save files in another custom folder. All you need to do is click Settings and choose the Output tab. Next, click Recording. You can then type or paste the folder destination in Recording Path, or you can select Browse to choose an existing folder. You should then be able to find the recording on your computer in the designated folder.

How to record computer audio on a Mac with Audacity

Audacity is a free and lightweight audio recorder and editor tool you can use on Mac, Windows, and Linux, too. It's available in many languages and is entirely audio-focused, used for recording live audio, external audio through a microphone, and system audio, too. It's also an impressive editor tool for editing your audio recordings and works with many different sound file formats, but you will have to download some extra software to get it working with your system audio.

To see the detailed review of Audacity, follow the link below:

Read the review by PCWorld

Best for: Users who want to make and edit high-quality system sound recordings

Pros

  • Ideal for audio-only recordings
  • Extensive editing tools
  • Many user languages are available

Cons

  • The interface takes a little getting used to
  • No video recording capabilities
  • Extra software required

Step 1. Download and install Audacity and Soundflower

Head to the official Audacity website to download Audacity to your Mac. You'll also need to download the Soundflower add-on for your Mac, which is used to re-route your system audio and allow Audacity to detect it.

Go to Audacity official website

Step 2. Adjust sound settings

Go to the System Preferences menu and click on Sound. Then, change the output device to Soundflower.

Step 3. Open Audacity and start recording

Next, you can open up the Audacity program and start recording with the help of Soundflower by choosing Soundflower as the recording device in the menu provided. After you've selected Soundflower, create a new project via the File menu and then press the red Record button on the toolbar. You can use the Pause button to pause the recording if needed while in progress and press the Stop button when you're finished.

Step 4. Edit and save

Once you've finished recording your system sound file, you can use Audacity's built-in editing tools and features to edit it as needed or simply save it in a file format of your choosing to your device.

How to record internal audio on a Mac with Recordit

Recordit is a simple screen video and audio recorder tool that works on both Mac and Windows devices. It's free to use and perfect for recording screencasts of presentations, videos, lectures, and so on. It also offers GIF support and is helpful for recording short clips of a Mac screen that can be uploaded to the internet as GIFs, commonly for tutorial purposes. However, you can only use Recordit for free for a maximum of five minutes at a time, and it only offers screen and audio recording together, so you can't use it only for audio recording.

Best for: Users who want to make GIFs and short screen recordings

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Very lightweight and simple program
  • Ideal for making GIFs and short recordings

Cons

  • Five-minute time limit when using the Free version
  • You have to pay for longer recordings
  • Only works with audio and video together

Step 1. Download the program

The first step of using Recordit to record your system audio on Mac is to head to the official site and download Recordit for Mac.

Go to the Recordit official website

Step 2. Open the program

Next, you'll need to open up the program and get ready to record your screen. Recordit only works with full video and audio screen recording, so you'll have to press the camera icon, choose the recording area of your screen, and then press the Record button to start the process. There aren't any extra settings to configure as the program is very simple and lightweight.

Step 3. Stop and save

Once you've finished recording, you can press the Stop button. The program will then automatically process the video and upload it automatically to the Recordit servers, which you can access via a link that will be provided once the file is ready. You can then download and save the video to your device and use other software to extract the audio if needed.

How to record system audio on a Mac with Easy Audio Recorder Lite

As the name implies, Easy Audio Recorder Lite is an audio recorder that is designed to be as easy and lightweight as possible. It's a really small and simple app you can start using on your Mac today to record audio with ease, but you'll have to set up Soundflower to get it working with your system audio, like many other recorder apps.

Best for: Users who want a very simple program for recording audio on Mac

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Really simple and beginner-friendly
  • Lightweight download and installation

Cons

  • Quite basic
  • Lacking in features and functions

Step 1. Download and install

The first step to using Easy Audio Recorder Lite is to download and install the program to your device. You'll also need to download and set up Soundflower via the Sound menu in your System Preferences.

Go to the Easy Audio Recorder Lite official website

Step 2. Open and record

Next, once the app has been installed, you can open it up. Press on the Input Device button and select Soundflower as the main recording device. Next, you'll be able to press the red Record button to start the recording. You can then pause and stop the recording, as needed, by pressing the buttons on the screen.

Step 3. Stop and save

Once you have finished recording, press the Stop button to end the recording process and save the audio file to your Mac automatically.

How to record internal audio on a Mac with Screenflick

Screenflick is another app you can use for recording audio and video on your Mac. It supports the ability to record internal audio by default, so you won't have to worry about any extra downloads like Soundflower, and it's very easy to use and beginner-friendly overall, with many options and settings to appeal to advanced users. On the downside, it isn't free and you'll have to pay a premium to use it.

To see what customers think of Screenflick, follow the link below:

Read the review by MacUpdate

Best for: Users who want to make high-quality screen recordings

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly and easy to set up
  • Records in high quality
  • Lots of options and features

Cons

  • Only works with audio and video together
  • Not free to use

Step 1. Download and install

Before using Screenflick, you'll need to download it. Head to the official Screenflick page and download the app to your device.

Go to the official Screenflick website

Step 2. Adjust the settings

Open the Screenflick app and head into the Recording Settings menu. Make sure that the Record System Audio box is ticked to record system sounds and adjust any other settings as needed, such as camera recording or microphone recording, if desired.

Step 3. Select screen area

Since this is a screen recorder, you'll then need to choose the part of the screen you want to record, either by clicking on a window or dragging a rectangle around the area you want to record, or using a preset like Full Screen.

Step 4. Record and save

The program will automatically record your screen and system audio. You can pause and stop the recording via the menu or keyboard shortcuts provided. Once your recording is over, press the Stop button and then make any necessary edits before saving and exporting in a format of your choice like MOV and MP4.

Conclusion: what to look for in an audio recorder

Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the perfect audio recorder tool for recording internal audio on your Mac. If you're not sure which app is right for you, consider the following factors to help you choose the best audio recorder for Mac to meet your needs.

  • Ease of use – The best audio recorders for Mac are easy to use, without any unnecessary complications or complexities. This is particularly important to keep in mind if you're a beginner or don't want to use too much time learning how to use the software itself.
  • Features – Check out the list of features offered by each recorder tool. Some recorders can be quite simple, but others are more advanced, with many more features that make them more versatile, like the ability to isolate audio, editing features, multi-track capabilities, and so on.
  • User reviews – Read through some user reviews and check the average ratings of each app. Users often provide honest, unbiased views on the quality of software and apps, letting you get a clear view of which software you can really trust.

Frequently asked questions

How do I record internal audio on Mac with QuickTime?

QuickTime makes it easy to record internal audio as Mac's default video player. To record your computer's internal audio using QuickTime, you can do so by taking these steps:

  1. Open the QuickTime application.
  2. Choose the Sound settings within System Preferences on your computer and select either Internal Speakers or Headphones, depending on which you would like to record.
  3. Begin recording your audio track by selecting File and clicking on New Audio Recording.
  4. A grey panel will appear on your screen, which you can use for recording. Click Start to begin the recording process and select the output device from the dropdown. Next, click the red record button to initiate the actual recording.
  5. Save the recording to your computer in any folder, and upload it to the cloud to save more space.

How do I record internal and external audio on Mac?

If you want to record either internal or external audio on your Mac, you can easily do so using Movavi Screen Recorder. This software allows you to record audio alone or with screen capture. Regardless, simply follow these steps to record any type of audio:

  1. Download and install Movavi Screen Recorder for free from the Movavi website.
  2. Open the app and adjust capture parameters by clicking on the recording option via the sidebar. To record internal audio, deactivate the buttons for Webcam and Microphone to isolate System Audio. For external audio, leave Microphone active and disable System Audio.
  3. Begin recording your video or isolated audio track by pressing REC.
  4. Edit the recording once completed by using the Scissors and Trash Can features, which allow you to quickly trim audio and video clips.
  5. Finally, convert the file to the format of your choice and save it to your computer. You can do so by hitting Export, and you can choose MP3 to isolate audio. You can also modify the file size to ensure you have enough space to save the completed file. Click Save once you're ready. Enjoy your completed recording and share it on any platform.

How do I record internal audio with Audacity on Mac?

Another program you can use to record your computer's audio is Audacity, which is free to download and install. You can use additional software that's importable into Audacity, or you can use programs like Soundflower to create another audio device that allows Audacity to record internal audio. When using other software to record internal audio through Audacity, take these steps:

  1. Install both Audacity and the software to change the audio output device.
  2. Go to System Preferences and click the Sound icon, where you can change the output device to the software you have installed, whether it's Soundflower or another multi-output device such as iShowU Audio Capture.
  3. With the audio rerouted, you can open Audacity and select the other multi-output device as the recording device.
  4. Record your audio track and save it to your computer.

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Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record from your screen

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams. Learn more