Sound Devices and Interfaces
|This article summarises known information about using Audacity with selected soundcards, recording/playback devices or audio interfaces that are believed to work well with Audacity.
- There may be more recent information about other soundcards at Soundcard Reviews on our Forum. Information there will eventually be moved here when a consensus view can be drawn.
- Devices capable of recording more than two simultaneous channels using Audacity are discussed in the Multichannel Recording page.
The main purpose here is to list devices that have been reported to work well with Audacity. Information may also be added in the final section about devices that are known not to work with Audacity, or to do so only with major restrictions.
The following codes are used in operating system information:
- For Windows:
- (MCX) XP Media Centre Edition not supported, or untested
- (V) Known to work well with Vista
- (VU) Vista support unknown
- (VQ) Vista support problematical (see text)
- (VX) Vista not supported
- For Mac:
- (PPC) Power PCs only
- (U) Supported on Intel Macs and Power PCs
Compatibility: Windows 98 SE and later (MCX, VU), Mac OS 9.2.2 and later, OS X 10.2.6 and later.
- 24 bit/96000 Hz, 2 x 2 Analog I/O and 2 channel S/PDIF digital I/O.
- User report: Works well with Audacity. When used with a slow CPU computer (approx. 500 MHz), there is a lag if you're trying to record in Audacity in sync with a wave file being played back by Audacity. However, with a CPU running at around 2 GHz, no latency was noticed. The audio card handles feeding of audio output from one application into another and simultaneously playing while recording.
Compatibility: Windows 2000 Pro/Server, XP Pro/Home, 2003 Server, Vista, 2008 Server, "Windows 7". Drivers for 64-bit Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, and "7" are available (MCX,V)
Compatibility Opinion: Probably works with XP MCE. See Discussion Page
- 8-Channel (7.1) Surround Sound (Analog)
- 2x (2-channel) Line Out/Speakers (Analog)
- S/PDIF (Digital) with both coaxial and optical jacks
- 2x Analog Line In
- User report: No problems at all so far, except that as with all external devices, it is currently necessary to connect it before launching Audacity, otherwise Audacity cannot detect it.
OS: Windows 2008 Server, SP2, 32-bit, with "Desktop Experience" package loaded (adds Full Vista Desktop (+Aero) and WMP 11)
Motherboard/RAM/CPU: Asus P5N-D, 4 GB RAM, Intel C2D E6850 (3.51 GHz)
Misc: 4 monitors off of 2 PCIe16 cards (Almost 6000 px across!), 3 500GB SATA2 drives (95% full)
Primary used for: Software development Secondary use: Multimedia
Compatibility: Designed to work with the USB audio device drivers in PC Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 USB audio device drivers, Mac OS 9.1 or greater (with native USB support) or any OS-X based system, the USB PhonoPlusPS requires no additional drivers. It is fully compliant with the USB 2.0 specification and uses USB adaptive mode for playback and USB asynchronous mode for record.
Primarily targeted for transferring vinyl LPs/45s to your computer or laptop using an existing conventional turntable. Also can be used as a high performance audio interface between analog and digital sources.
Integrated pre-amp, onboard soundcard and USB interface with: one stereo input switchable between Phono and Line-in, input gain control, line-out preamp and headphone-out connections.
- (stereo) RCA input, switchable between phono and Line-in, with input gain control.
- TOSLINK Digital Audio input or RCA S/PDIF input for sending audio to a digital computer soundcard (only one input can be used at a time).
- Preamp Line Out (stereo RCA), only connected to the analog input preamp signal for source monitoring or to allow use as a stand-alone phono preamp.
- 1/8-inch Headphone Monitor Output for listening to pre-amp and/or computer playback. The Monitor Source switch sends a choice of preamp only, computer playback only or 50/50 mix of both to this input.
- TOSLINK Digital Audio output for playback from a digital computer soundcard.
- USB Input/Output
- 16-bit 44.1kHz or 48kHz, USB 2.0 compliant
- Input gain control
- Can be powered by either external power supply or directly via USB port
- Link to the manual: http://artproaudio.com/downloads/owners_manuals/om_usbphonoplusps.pdf
- User Reports
- Excellent build quality, anodised aluminium case. Low noise (-50dB when bus-powered, -70dB when mains-powered). Input gain control and headphone output volume control. Worked "out of the box" on Windows. Significantly more expensive in Europe than in US.
Compatibility: Designed to work with the USB audio device drivers in PC Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 USB audio device drivers, Mac OS 9.1 or greater (with native USB support) or any OS-X based system, the USB PhonoPlusPS requires no additional drivers. It is fully compliant with the USB 1.1 specification and uses USB adaptive mode for playback and USB asynchronous mode for record.
Designed to work over a wide variety of applications from remote field recording to desktop/studio tracking.
Integrated pre-amp, onboard soundcard and USB interface with: one stereo input switchable between Phono and Line-in, input gain control, line-out and headphone-out connections.
- Inputs: Low Noise Fully Balanced XLR and 1/4-inch TRS Combi Inputs
- 1/4 inch TRS Balanced Monitor for power amplifier, powered monitors, recording system or a mixer’s balanced line or insert inputs.
- 1/8" headphone Monitor outputs
- Monitor Mix control for adjusting the mix proportion of audio from the input and from computer playback.
- USB Connectivity to Desktop and Laptop Computers
- 16-bit 44.1kHz or 48kHz
- Independent Channel Gain Controls
- Flexible 3-way Power from USB, External Supply, or 9 Volt Battery
- Link to the manual: http://artproaudio.com/downloads/owners_manuals/om_usbdualpreps.pdf
- User Reports
- Works fine in Audacity for both recording and playback in Linux, Mac OS X and Windows (tested in all of the 3 operating systems). Highly recommended!
Compatibility: Windows XP SP2/3, Vista and 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. No official Linux support but reported to work on Ubuntu 9.04 and 10.10. Works just by "plug 'n' play". Optional Windows driver with WDM and ASIO support can be downloaded (Audacity as shipped doesn't support ASIO).
- No-frills but clean-sounding 16-bit stereo, line level only USB soundcard.
- Pros: Works well with Audacity. Inexpensive upgrade for laptop computer.
- Cons: Plastic case. Label peels off eventually.
- Inputs: 2x line level RCA.
- Outputs: 2x line level RCA, 1x headphone output, 1x TOSLINK optical output carrying a digital S/PDIF signal.
- Monitoring: Monitor switch toggles between USB playback from computer only or playback mixed with hardware monitoring of the input (you cannot adjust the proportion of playback and input in the monitoring).
- Link to the Manual: http://www.behringer.com/assets/UCA202_M_EN.pdf
- Manuals in other languages: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx#softwareContent
- User Reports:
- No ability to adjust input level on Windows or Mac with the "plug 'n' play" driver it comes with (not tested with any optional drivers). On Ubuntu 10.10 the input level can be changed using the system slider, but this does not change the "gain" in the UCA itself, just scale the signal it sends. So whatever the operating system, always check the level of the input being sent to UCA 202.
Griffin iMic: - Discontinued but still obtainable from some online retailers.
Compatibility: Windows 7, XP 32-bit or 64-bit (MCX) and Vista (VQ), Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.8 or later (U)
1/8" (3.5mm) stereo line/mic-level input (toggle levels with switch provided), 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo line-level output, plus 1/8" (3.5mm) to stereo RCA adaptor cable with ground connector. Needs to be kept clear of power supplies or sources of vibration. Includes Audacity for Windows and FinalVinyl for Mac, for recording and editing. Windows Vista : Griffin denies iMic will work in Vista, but some users find iMic2 can be made to work. Key points (thanks to User:RGB):
- Go to the Recording tab on the Vista Control Panel, right-click over the iMic > Properties, and on the "Advanced" tab, set the "Default Format" to "2 channel, 16-bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality)", or to "1 channel, 16- bit, 44100 Hz".
- In Audacity, set the project rate bottom left of the screen to 44100 Hz, and at , set the "Recording Channels" to match stereo or mono as chosen in the Vista Control Panel.
- If errors are received when recording, or the device is not seen in the Recording or Playback device dropdowns in Audacity preferences, follow these reboot steps (that article applies to USB turntables but the principle is identical).
Roland Duo Capture UA-11 - Supersedes the Cakewalk UA-1G and the Edirol UA-1EX
- Inputs: Line level 1/8" mini-jack / 1/4" jack with Hi-Z option for recording electric guitar or microphone
- Outputs: Line level /8" mini-jack / 1/8" headphone jack with independent volume control
- Bit rate: 24-bit
- Sampling rate switchable: 44.1/48 kHz
- Large Input Level slider for easy control while recording
- The device is self-powered from the USB connection.
Compatibility: Windows XP 32 bit SP2 or later (MCX) and Vista 32 bit, Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Left and right XLR microphone inputs with phantom power and left and right analog line inputs (right hand is switchable to high impedance for use with guitars etc.). Line input does not provide phono pre-amplification, so is unsuitable for direct connection to a turntable. Installation of the latest Tascam drivers from their website is essential, then update to their latest firmware - you can do both . An operating manual is available .
Compatibility: Windows 2000 or later (V)
RCA inputs primarily intended for recording LPs and cassettes. It connects to phono amplifiers, cassette decks or other line-level sources but does not provide phono pre-amplification, so is unsuitable for direct connection to a turntable. Can also be used with its own recording software. An independent review of the device can be found here.
Compatibility: Windows XP (VQ), Mac OS X (U)
USB mono condenser microphone with unusual circular design and choice of cardioid, cardioid with -10dB reduction and omnidirectional patterns. Product Manual is . Many (not all) users report problems under Windows Vista on the .
Devices not working well with Audacity
Digidesign : USB or Firewire interfaces. Widely reported not to work with Audacity under Mac OS X due to very different interface and non-standard Core Audio drivers compared to usual OS X audio devices.