How to Record Sound Card Output On a Mac

Written by j.m. chanel
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How to Record Sound Card Output On a Mac
A stereo audio cable is needed to record audio from a Mac sound card output. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

To record the audio playing from your Mac computer's sound card, you will need to connect the sound output into the "line in" jack with a stereo audio cable. While some third-party sound cards will allow you to record the sound card output through advanced settings, the default Mac sound cards do not allow this option. The cable can be obtained very cheaply, however, and the process is not very difficult.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1/8" male to 1/8" male stereo audio cable
  • Recording software

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  1. 1

    Open the audio you want to record on your Mac computer.

  2. 2

    Open a sound recording program for Mac. Popular choices include Apple GarageBand, Audacity and Adobe Soundbooth.

  3. 3

    Create a new audio file in your sound recorder.

  4. 4

    Unplug your speakers from the "audio out" port on your Mac and plug one end of the stereo audio cable into the port. If your speakers have a headphone jack, you can also plug in to this.

  5. 5

    Plug the other end of the stereo cable into your Mac's "line in" input.

  6. 6

    Click the Apple icon in the left hand corner of your screen and select "System Preferences."

  7. 7

    Click on the "Sound" icon, then click the "Input" tab.

  8. 8

    Select "Line In" from the source list.

  9. 9

    Press the "Record" button in your sound recorder program and then begin playing the audio you want to record.

  10. 10

    Press the "Stop" button when the audio finishes recording. You won't be able to hear the audio while it's recording, so you might want to watch the progress bar to know when it is finished.

Tips and warnings

  • You may need to turn down your Master Volume to avoid distortion. This can be done by clicking the speaker icon on the top bar of your Mac screen.

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