How to record desktop audio on your Mac in 2023

Andrey Azimov
4 min readNov 26, 2023

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By default macOS doesn’t support recording desktop audio and it might be very frustrating to make it work. Here is a step by step guide how you can record desktop sound directly from your Mac. I’ve tested it myself on my MacBook Pro M2 with macOS Venture 13.2.1.

Step 1 — Download BlackHole Audio Driver

All the magic of recording desktop audio from your Mac will be made by BlackHole audio driver.

You can download it here: https://existential.audio/blackhole/.

After the successful installation you should see in in your audio preferences in the menu bar

What is Black Hole Audio?

BlackHole is free open source macOS audio driver that allows applications to pass audio to other applications with zero additional latency.

It was created by Existential Audio.

Is BlackHole Audio driver is safe?

It appears to be as safe (from malicious activity) as any other software. It is a kernel extension, so there is no way to tell if it will create havoc inside your system.

BlackHole vs Soundflower

Soundflower is based on a deprecated API that will at some point be removed from macOS. Not only that but BlackHole has significantly less CPU usage, less latency, and is less buggy than Soundflower.

Step 2 — Create a Multi-Output Device

  1. Open Audio Midi Setup just by typing in the spotlight search “midi”

2. Create Multi-Output Device

3. Select External Headphones and BlackHole 2ch.

Optionally you can select MacBook Speakers too.

You can renamed it to something like Desktop Audio if you want.

3. Step 3 — Select Multi-Output Device

Select Multi-Output Device in your sound settings in the menu bar

4. Step 4 — Start recording your desktop audio in QuickTime

  1. Open QuickTime Player by just typing in spotlight search bar
  1. Click Cancel if it’s asking to open a file
  2. File -> New Audio Recording (or Shift + Command + N)

3. Select BlackHole 2ch in the sources

And start playing any desktop audio. You can play via Music app or even from the Google Chrome browser.

If you did everything right you should see the sound level is moving.

4. Click Record (big red button)

5. Click stop

6. File -> Export As -> Audio Only

How to record your screen with a desktop audio on Mac

By using the same approach you can record your screen with a desktop audio.

  1. Open QuickTime player again
  2. File -> New Screen Recording
  3. Record
  4. Play any desktop audio
  5. Click stop button in the menu bar
  6. File -> Export as -> Select a quality

What to do if recorded audio quality is bad in QuickTime?

You can get into an issue that QuickTime recording very pure quality of your audio. Or it record only one channel left or right.

I had this issue myself, even before Quicktime recorded in good quality. And to fix this issue I installed free audio editor software for Mac called Audacity.

How to setup Audacity to record desktop audio?

Go to Preferences and click Audio Settings

In the Recording section select BlackHole 2ch

Click Record button (big red circle in the top)

And see that audio waveform is showing up live.

Click stop button once you will finish the recording.

File and Export Audio

  • Format: MP3 Files
  • Quality: Insane, 320 kbps
  • Export

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