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Recording your voice & microphone

Audacity can record various types of microphones and other audio devices.

1. Connect your Microphone

You can connect your mic by plugging it into the appropriate port. In general, this means:
  • If you have a USB mic, plug it into a USB port.
  • If you have a mic with a 3.5mm jack, plug it into a mic-in port.
  • If you have an XLR mic, plug it into an XLR-USB audio interface and the interface into the USB port.
The exact details depend on both your exact computer model and your microphone model. Please see their respective manuals or support pages for further information. You may need adapters if your computer is missing appropriate ports.
Note: Many Laptops and Notebooks feature built-in microphones. While they may be good enough to record your voice to an intelligible standard, the recordings they produce tend to be somewhat unpleasant to listen to.

2. Select your Microphone

Select the microphone to record from the list of available recording devices in the Audio Setup toolbar
Use the Audio Setup toolbar to select the microphone you want to record
You may see some unexpected devices here (for example, webcams), as well as virtual devices (software pretending to be a microphone). Choose the entry that matches the microphone you actually want to use.
You can also use the Audio Setup toolbar to select whether you'll be recording in Mono or Stereo.
The Audio Setup toolbar also displays the number of recording channels available from your microphone
Note: Most microphones are in Mono, and Mono is generally the best choice for recordings. Only use Stereo if you do need directionality.

3. Test your Settings

Turn on the monitoring (shown below) and tap onto your mic. If you see the green bar move when tapping the mic, you have selected the correct device in the previous step.
Click on the microphone to start monitoring
Audacity will display the microphone level in the recording meter
Then try to speak in a normal volume. In general, the volume should remain in the green zone throughout (in general, between -18 and -12 dB is best).
Caution: If your input volume is too low (below -42 dB) or too high (frequently in the red area), your audio quality will likely suffer. See this page for how to fix this:Setting recording and playback levels
Next, make a test recording. To start recording your voice in Audacity, simply press the red record button.
Transport toolbar: the record button is the second from the right
When you have made the recording, listen back to it. If everything went well, you should now hear your voice clearly and you should now be able to continue with the next steps.

Common problems

If you run into trouble with any of these steps, you may find the solution here:

Next Steps

  • Once you've made your recording, make sure to save your work. This applies regardless of whether you intend on editing it later or not. Saving and exporting projects​
  • If you want to edit your recording afterwards: Editing audio​