An old (2014) link suggests that it is possible to do a full video recording (video+audio) on a mac with Quicktime, using only free software.

That seemed a little bit too good to be true, and when I tried it out on my recently bought MacBook Air with MacOS 10.13.6 and QuickTime 10.4 installed, I wasn't surprised to see it go wrong. The main problem is that as soon as audio is turned on in a QuickTime screen video, it starts repeating continuously an unbearable sequence of (mostly strident and high frequency) sounds in the background which all but hides any other sound. And yes, I double-checked the "Use ambient noise reduction" boxes to be checked and the volumes to be set reasonably in System Prefs > Sound.

This background theme sounds a lot like a proposital handicap, to be removed by payable additional sofware. I googled and browsed apple pages, but did not find any real explanation.

Related (but older, and perhaps a little outdated) questions : here, there

  • Your phrase "background theme" confuses me - I'm assuming you don't mean it plays a tune.. so, what do you mean? Best guess so far is you have the mic feeding back through the speakers...
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 10:19
  • @Tetsujin the for your feedback, I edited the question to hopefully make it clearer. Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 10:23
  • Still not clear. QuickTime screen movie capture does not add any background music (if this is what you mean by "theme".) BTW/ what version of macOS are you running on this Mac?
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 12:23
  • @IconDaemon I added the macOS version in the question. What's "still not clear" please ? Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 13:05
  • What is not clear is the 'theme'. Is it a musical theme? Your description of unbearable sequence of (mostly strident and high frequency) sounds does not appear to be a description of anything musical. So far as I know, QuickTime does not add any propositional handicaps requiring the purchase of additional software, licenses, etc, to remove the handicaps. Something else is going on. I've used QuickTime to do many screen recordings and have never heard anything like you're describing.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 13:21

2 Answers 2


There are three different auto levels involved with a recording. The first two can be set from System Preferences, as shown below.


The input volume is the record level from either the built-in mic or input jack. The output volume controls level for the internal speakers other device (such as headphone) you may plug into the output jack. The third auto level is set in QuickTime, as shown below.


This is the level used monitor what is being recorded. This is not the same level as the output volume shown in System Preferences.

If you are using the built-in mic or an external microphone and the internal or some other external speakers, then the System Preferences output volume and/or the Quick time level should set to zero.

Although not directly asked in our question, I might as well add the following:

If you are trying to make a recording where the sound is being produced by the computer, then you need to plug a jumper into the input and output jacks. Say for example, you want to record video either from the camera or the screen and you want to sound to be music from iTunes, then you will to feed the sound from the output jack back into the input jack.


Is the "theme" you're referring to the sound of the mic picking up the audio from the speakers? This is avoidable, and you shouldn't need to download any additional software; all that's required is QuickTime, System Preferences, and Audio MIDI Setup (Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup, for the Multi-Output + Bluetooth headset).

To screen record WITH internal audio AND microphone voice over using QuickTime on a Mac (without downloading additional software) you will need a USB microphone and a Bluetooth headset + mic'd audio cable. This works even if you only have one audio port on your computer.

  1. Plug the USB mic into the computer.
  2. Plug the audio cable into the computer.
  3. And the other end of the audio cable into the microphone.
  4. Open System Preferences, set the Sound Output to USB, and Input to the Microphone port.

To listen through the headset while you screen record, there are a few more steps.

  1. Connect the Bluetooth headset.
  2. Open Audio MIDI Setup (Applications > Utilities), and create a Multi-Output Device, adding the headset with Built-in Output.
  3. Go back to System Preferences and change the Sound Output to the new Multi-Output Device.
  4. Open QuickTime to create a "New Screen Recording" setting the microphone option to Built-in.


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