Recording System Audio on Mac OSX

I’ll probably get some flak for posting this, but whatever. If there’s audio playing through your Mac (Spotify, etc), and you want to record it, this is how you’d do that.

It’s your own computer, and if you want to have the thing you’re hearing as a WAV file so you can perform analysis, do some sampling, or do some VST debugging - then go for it. If you’re violating copyright in some way, that’s your problem not mine :)

It’s worth noting there is paid software that does this too. Never used it since SoundFlower is so convienent though.

Screenshots for reference

Creating a new Audio Multi-Output device

Audio MIDI Setup

Recording in Audacity


How To

  1. Download the following free software:
  2. Open “Audio MIDI Setup” (can just type this into spotlight)
    • If you don’t see the “Audio Devices” window, you may need to hit “CMD+1” or select it from the “Windows” drop-down
  3. Hit the [+] button
  4. Create Multi-Output device
    • Call it whatever you like
    • I called mine “JackTheRipper”…
  5. Check the boxes for whatever devices you like
    • Make sure one of them is SoundFlower (2ch)
    • Select anything else you’d like to playback output while recording to SoundFlower
    • Mac OSX should automatically select “Drift Correction”
    • I chose the SoundFlower to be the Master Device here because I cared more about the fidelity of my recording than of the playback, but that’s your call
  6. To record audio, Opt+Click the sound icon on your Desktop’s top bar
    • Select output device as the device you just created
    • Open Audacity
    • Select Input as “SoundFlower (2ch)”
    • Select Output as your multi-output “JackTheRipper”
    • Press play on your machine, on Spotify, or whereever
    • Press the record red button on Audacity - you should see the waveform as it records. If not you’ve done something wrong. * File > Export > Wav
  7. You’re done!