From recording a song to sending an audio clip to someone, your Mac can be used as a pretty decent audio recording device.
They are designed to be powerful computing devices and come pre-loaded with stock recording applications that do not require any additional software or download to work. I’ve been using my Mac for two years now to record my tunes and have never felt more satisfied with how easy it is to record audio from your Mac.
But how to record audio from Mac?
Well the answer is simple, Mac allows you to record audio files via QuickTime and Voice Memos. These software that come pre-installed allow you to create a recording with the help of your microphone and share it with your friends. Some Macs also come with an additional pre-loaded application called GarageBand that is an advanced audio recording tool designed for recording music.
In this step by step guide, I’m going to take you through how to record audio from Mac, the basic requirements and different audio recording tools available for your Mac.
How to Record Audio from Mac
Recording audio on your Mac can be one of the most painless tasks out there, it’s easy to execute and the overall quality of the audio recordings are far better than the likes of your iPhone or iPad.
If you’re looking to become serious about producing music or you’re looking to have better audio clarity in your YouTube videos, then the Mac is the best device to take advantage of.
To create any audio recording on your Mac the most basic requirement is a microphone. Luckily, Macs come with a microphone embedded in the display but you can always opt for an external microphone or headset of your choice depending on your level of comfort.
How to Record Audio from Mac using Voice Memos
Recording audio on your Mac using Voice memos is the most straight-forward way to go as we’ve all used Voice Memo in the past on our iPhone’s or iPad’s so it’s a familiar application to use.
To access and record using Voice memos on your Mac you’d have to follow these steps:
- Start by opening Voice Memos, you can find this by either looking through the application list for it or by typing our Voice Memos in the Finder. The icon will resemble the one depicted below, click on it to launch the application.
- Once you launch the application, you’ll be provided with a simple user interface that features a record/pause button, play button, fast-forward and rewind buttons and a Save/Done button.
- Tap on the Red Record button to begin recording your audio clip, it’s good to note that when you click on the record button there is no confirmation screen and the application begins recording immediately.
- When you’re done recording your file press “Done” located at the bottom right hand corner of the tool-bar. This will automatically save the audio recording within the application.
- The file will be saved as “New Recording”, simply clicking on the file name will allow you to change the name to whatever you prefer.
Voice Memos Features
The Voice Memos app for your Mac comes with a basic editing interface allowing you to take out unwanted parts of the memo, replace sections in the memo, delete a segment or even completely recover deleted audio recordings.
- Replacing your segments on Voice Memos can be done by first clicking on “Edit” located in the upper right hand corner. You will be taken to the editing interface where you will have to drag the blue marker over the section you want to re-record. Click on “Replace” to begin recording over the selection and to finish the change, tap on “Done”
- Trimming an audio recording on Voice Memos is a relatively simple procedure. Once the file is open on the editing interface, tap on the “Trim” button located on the top right hand corner of the screen. This brings up the file trimming interface with a yellow bar over the mini-waveform. Select the section on the waveform you wish to trim and tap on “Trim” in the bottom left corner of the tool-bar.Once done you can click on “Save” to overwrite the original file.
- You can delete a segment from the existing recording on Voice Memos by following the same procedure as trimming an audio recording. At the end, instead of clicking “Trim”, go ahead and tap on “Delete”. Once done, click on Save to overwrite the original audio file.
- If you’ve deleted your recordings and are looking to recover the deleted audio files on Voice Memos, you can recover whatever was deleted on Voice Memos within a time-period of 30 days. The files will be located in the “Recently Deleted” folder. If you have found the recording you need restored, tap on the audio file and click on “Erase” located in the upper right-hand corner of the window. When you tap on Erase, you will receive a pop-up stating that the file will be moved back to the library. You can then tap on “Recover Recording” or “Cancel” to either restore the file or abort the restoration.
Shortcuts for Voice Memos
There are a few keyboard shortcuts that can help you navigate your Memo list, these are:
- Start a new memo: Command (⌘) + N
- Play/pause the selected memo: Space bar
- Fast-forward 15 seconds: Rightwards Arrow (→)
- Rewind 15 seconds: Leftwards Arrow (←)
- Delete a memo: Backspace
- Rename a memo: Double-click a memo in the list
- Undo: Command (⌘) + Z
- Enter full screen: Control (⌃) + Command (⌘) + F
- Select the previous memo: Upwards Arrow (↑)
- Enter full screen: Control (⌃) + Command (⌘) + F
- Preferences: Command (⌘) + ,
How to Record Audio from Mac using QuickTime
QuickTime permits audio-only recordings and lets you choose the audio quality for your recordings.Unfortunately, since QuickTime does not offer advanced editing features for their audio recordings, you can only save or delete the file at a later point in time. To edit the audio recording you’d have to use third-party software.
In order to record using QuickTime, you can follow these steps:
- Begin by locating the QuickTime application from your list of apps or you can use the Finder App and type “QuickTime” in the search bar. The icon will resemble the one depicted below, click on it to launch the application.
- You have two options once you locate the application, you can either tap on the icon to open the application or you can right click on the icon and then click on “New Audio Recording”.
- Now that you have QuickTime audio recorder launched, tap on the “Options Menu” located next to the record button to choose any of the following options:
- Microphone: Lets you choose between the in-built microphone or if any external microphones are connected.
- Quality: You can choose the recording quality and decide if you’re looking to create a high-quality file or an uncompressed audio file that takes up more space.
|High Quality||44100Hz AAC Audio File|
|Maximum Quality||44100Hz, Uncompressed Linear PCM 24-bit AIFF-C audio|
- Once your settings have been modified, adjust the volume control to hear the audio you’re about to record. Once all these parameters are checked, tap on the Record button to start recording your file.
- You are able to pause the recording by tapping on the record button, to resume the audio recording from the same point in time simply tap on the record button once again.
- When you’re done recording your complete audio file, click the Stop button or use the touch bar. When this has been done, choose “File” and click on “Save to” in order to name the recording and select the location where to save it. The file will be saved as a .m4a extension.
Shortcuts for QuickTime
Since QuickTime is a basic audio recording tool with not too many functions there would be just two shortcuts you can use via your keyboard, these are:
- Open a New Audio Recording: Command (⌘) + N
- Save Audio Recording: Command (⌘) + S
Bonus: How to Record Audio from Mac using GarageBand
GarageBand is Apple’s fully equipped music studio designed for Macs, it features a broad sound library that includes a range of instruments, presets for voice and guitars, and a vast selection of drums and percussion instruments.
With GarageBand you’re able to record audio files and create realistic music without actual instruments being used. For simple voice recording with GarageBand you can follow these steps to get started.
- Open GarageBand on your Mac by searching for the application in the apps list or by using the search bar. (note: this software is only available on Mac computers)
- If you’ve already configured GarageBand earlier you can proceed, if this is your first time then there are a few things you’d have to take care of first.
- You’d have to begin by picking the audio input, you can either use the computer’s microphone or any external microphone of your choice. Then tap on “Create” when you’re done selecting your input method.
- Before you can start recording, make sure to check the input levels and speak into the microphone to watch the input level meter rise and fall. You can adjust the levels by dragging the toggle up or down.
- Lastly, select the effect to be added in the recording, choose “Narration Vocal” or “Natural Vocal” and save the preset.
- Now that you’re ready to record audio using GarageBand on your Mac, tap on the red record button to start recording and the red square button to stop the recording.
- You can press on the triangle button anytime to listen to your recording or to play it from a specific point.
Considering GarageBand is not a basic audio recording tool and is as professional as they come, you can expect to edit and export the edited files in GarageBand. Some of the notable features are:
- GarageBand allows you to edit your recordings, you’re able to remove unwanted pauses or any mistakes in the narration by using the slider located at the top right-hand corner of the application to zoom into the waveform and select areas of the recording that have disturbances and have them removed.
- You can Delete sections of the track that are not deemed worthy to be in the final cut of your recording. This can be done by selecting the segment that has to be deleted and then going to “Edit” and tapping on “Split Regions”, this will create segments in your recording that can be erased or deleted at any point. You can also reconnect the segmented track to form a single file by going to “Edit” and clicking on “Join Regions”.
- Another great feature with GarageBand is the library of royalty-free loops that can be used as background music for your audio recordings. All you will need to do is click on the “Loop” icon at the top right-hand corner of the application and select a category and click on any of the loops listed to have it added in your recording.
- GarageBand also allows you to save your audio recordings in .MP3 file format apart from .band, this lets you play the recorded file on almost any device and player that supports .MP3 playback.
Shortcuts for GarageBand
These are a few of the shortcuts you can use in GarageBand during your audio recording session:
Start Recording: R
Start Playback: Enter on numeric Keypad / Space-bar
Stop Playback: 0 on numeric Keypad / Space-bar
Go to the Beginning: Return
Select All: Command (⌘) + A
Save the current project: Command (⌘) + S
Third-Party Recording Apps for Mac
Apart from the instructions listed above, there are a couple of audio recording software that you can install on your Mac and convert it into a high-performance recording machine. These are a couple of applications you can try:
- Audacity – Audacity has been around for ages and is one of the best free and open source recording software available for Mac. It comes with numerous capabilities and allows you to set your recording source, channel type, audio type and much much more. It is equipped with a whole range of editing tools that you can use on your recordings to make them sound better. Click here to check it out!
- Simple Recorder – This is an extremely simple solution to all your recording woes. It’s considered to be one of the best applications to use if you want to take down notes. The application, once installed will sit in the menu bar on your Mac and will begin recording within 2 clicks of your mouse. You get to pick the formats, sample rate and channels in the free version and there are some autonomous capabilities in the premium version. Click here to check it out!
- Piezo – Piezo is an app that’s best suited for those creating podcasts on a Mac. It’s one of the best applications to record voice from other software like Chrome, FaceTime, Skype and so on. The files are stored in native MP3 and the only option you get to work around with is the quality of the file. But all in all it’s great for podcasts and turns your Mac into a nifty little recording booth. Click here to check it out!
- Pro Tools First – Pro Tools First lets you record multiple tracks simultaneously and is quite an impressive software providing you with the ability to add layers, instruments and effects in your tracks. Though the application is paid for, there’s a free version of Pro Tools that lets you explore and learn their software before proceeding with their premium version that has a lot more capabilities. You’re able to choose your audio input, automate the volume, pan tracks and use any of the 23 plugins that are available on the main screen. Click here to check it out!
Whoever says that recording audio on a Mac is difficult does not know what they’re talking about. It hardly takes a few minutes to set-up and configure each application to your desired requirements before you can begin recording audio files.
In my opinion, the advanced application to record audio files is GarageBand while the easiest are QuickTime and Voice Memos.
Recording on your Mac produces some of the highest quality audio files known to man and this is why people prefer to use a Mac to record their sounds. Apart from the in-built microphone which is not all that great, you can always hook up your headset or any external microphone and off you go.
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Greetings! My name is Michael and this is my website.
I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.
Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.