How to Record Audio on a Mac

Recording audio through OS X on a Mac is quite easy. Most Macs come with GarageBand, and every version of OS X since Snow Leopard has audio recording software baked right in to QuickTime. To add to the ease of recording, Apple has gone out of its way to make the process relatively simple. All you need to do is know where to go and what options to select.

For me, there are a number of open source applications that can also be used to make audio recording easier. Despite the plentiful options available from included software, it’s important to remember the added features some additional third-party software can provide for you.

Here are some ways you can record audio on a Mac.

QuickTime

How to Record Audio on a MacQuickTime X comes complete with screen, video, and audio recording capabilities. Just fire up QuickTime and select File, then New Audio Recording to get started. This feature is available on every version of QuickTime since 10.0.1 and you don’t have to upgrade to QuickTime Pro to use it.

Audio is recorded in one of two quality settings, and you can select an input device (built-in microphone, external, or software-based internal) to use for best results. Just start recording and hit the stop button when you’re done. By exiting the window (little red dot on the upper-left corner of the window) you are presented with options for saving the file. QuickTime saves files in AAC format, which is a lossless codec. The audio is still quite good and can be used in a variety of situations.

GarageBand

iLife is a great set of applications that comes free with each new Mac. GarageBand is more than just a collection of loops or a tool for musicians; it’s actually a pretty powerful piece of audio recording software. By starting a new project and using the voice presets, you can easily add effects that make your voice sound even better than it does in person.

Audacity

Audacity is an incredibly useful cross-platform open source application that enables you to record, edit, and master audio at a more advanced level. Where GarageBand makes composition easier, Audacity makes it easier to refine your masterpiece.

Audacity is a lot like Adobe Audition in many ways. It provides a number of audio enhancement tools including compressors, limiters, advanced noise reduction, and even a few special effects. GarageBand has a handful of these, but it’s not nearly as robust.

No matter what you choose for audio recording, make sure that it works for you. Do you have a preferred audio recording program for the Mac? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Hammid

    ‘Audio Hijack Pro’ and ‘WireTap Studio’ (when it works) are GREAT tools for recording audio off of your applications, say Spotify or any audio sources and then quickly edit, trim and export to iTunes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Michael.A.PerezHypnosis Michael Perez
  • Sprocket

    AAC = lossy = yep. Also, Audacity provides many multiple tracks, i belive more than Garage Band?

  • http://twitter.com/siabost9deas Kenny MacLeod

    Ardour, a fully fledged Digital Audio Workstation, is an open-source project available for Linux & Mac http://ardour.org/

  • http://www.techlume.com/ Ben

    That’s just what I was looking for, thank you very much for this!