Making a Live Recording with Audacity

You will need a microphone to make a live recording. Some computers come with a built in microphone which allows you to record without an external mic. If your computer does not come with an external mic, plug the microphone into the correct port. Most computers have an input jack where you can plug in a microphone. The jack looks like the headphone and it is usually labeled with the word “Mic” or a small microphone symbol. It is often color-coded pink. Some computers come with a built in microphone, eliminating the need for the plug-in mic.

If you have a built in mic, you should see the picture below. It has already detected you input device and you will not need to complete the next step below:

Built in Mic

If you do not have a built in mic you will need to tell Audacity that you are using a Microphone. On Audacity's Mixer Toolbar shown below, select Microphone from the drop down menu:

Select Microphone

Choose the input source called Microphone. (If your computer has both a built-in microphone and an external port, you may need to choose between Internal Mic and External Mic.) Once your microphone is set up, press the red Record button Record Button. A new track will appear, displaying the waveform of the recorded sound similar to the one below:

Wave Form

When you are finished recording, press the yellow Stop button Stop Button.

Press Play Play Button to listen to the finished recording. If you want to try again, use the Undo command to start over from the beginning.


After you finish recording, you can save your recording in a file on your hard drive, which you can later play back, edit, or burn to CD. In the File menu, choose the Export as WAV command (for Windows) or the Export as AIFF command (for Mac).

Export as Wav

Enter a name and location for the new file, and press Save.

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