Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for the simplest way to record voice -- a two people conversation -- with a Macbook Air. The goal is then later to listen to it on the Mac and transcribe it.

share|improve this question
This used to be built in to the MAC OS in the nineties(MAC OS 7). :) – Dean Sep 12 '11 at 19:49
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Scenario 1: You're both in the same room

Open up QuickTime Player. Select File -> New Audio Recording.... Make sure the source is set to Built-in Microphone (see screen shot below). Hit the big red Record button. Talk away.

Setting the input source in QuickTime Player when recording audio

Scenario 2: You're using Skype or something like it to converse

This is a little trickier but not impossible. You'll need the SoundFlower app from Cycling '74. If you're using Skype you'll set it's audio output to be the SoundFlower input. Then in QuickTime you'll set the audio input to be SoundFlower's 2-channel output. This routes the audio from Skype in to QuickTime. Record as above.

share|improve this answer
The SoundFlower app is now hosted at Google Code – Bill Nace Sep 12 '11 at 18:57
The SoundFlower app is now hosted at GitHub. – cubuspl42 Jun 20 '15 at 10:25

The simplest way is to use either Quicktime (simply choose File>New Audio Recording) or a free and open-source app like Audacity. Your MBA has a built in microphone, so all you need to do is click record and then start your conversation.

If you do this regularly, it way be worth investing in a USB mic that has better sound quality than the built-in mic on your Macbook. Something like the Samson Go Mic is fairly well regarded for field recordings, dictation, and interview recordings.

Lastly, transcription can be a huge pain without software that supports easy pause/resume/rewind capabilities. There are a couple free ones out there, like Transcriptions or more expensive commercial solutions. (Hint: Get a foot pedal!)

Sound-to-text technology is getting increasingly more accurate (though not foolproof as anyone who uses Google voicemail transcription knows), so depending on the quality of your source material and the time you spend training, you can also eliminate a large chunk of the manual transcription with something like MacSpeech Scribe

share|improve this answer

Open QuickTime Player and select File -> New Audio Recording from the menu. This is a new feature (not sure whether it was in Lion, Snow Leopard, or an independent QuickTime update). Previously your options were:

share|improve this answer
Downloaded Voice Candy; very cool, thanks! – MikeSchinkel Nov 7 '11 at 4:28

The simplest manner is to open Photo Booth and record a movie.

I count 4 clicks:

  1. Keyboard command for Launchpad
  2. Click Photo Booth
  3. Click the movie control (lower left)
  4. Clock record

As long as you have space for the video, you can review the recording quite easily and delete it.

share|improve this answer

protected by Community Oct 22 '15 at 5:33

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.